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IDC maps route to MEA Smart Governments

New maturity model allows effective delivery of e-government

IDC maps route to MEA Smart Governments
The model softens bureaucracy within a government, using technology to lubricate information flow.

IDC Government Insights says MEA administrations have some way to go in order to communicate effectively with their citizens.

Drawing on its Smart Government Maturity Model, IDC assessed regional governments' readiness to encourage citizen participation in the business of government and deliver transparency. It also assessed the level and effectiveness of communication between different government branches.

IDC Government Insights' Smart Government Maturity Model describes four key steps to Smart Government: Information Availability, Meaningful Information, Purposeful Action and Smart Government.

The model softens bureaucracy within a government, using technology to lubricate information flow between public servants and the citizenry and allowing for transparency and accountability at every level.

When applied to the MEA region the model identifies a lack of unification of IT strategy and project implementation, with many ventures taking place in isolation.

"Within the MEA region, the efficacy of government electronic service delivery initiatives is uneven," says Mukesh Chulani, research manager for the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey at IDC Government Insights.

"National IT strategies are non-existent in some countries, or where they do exist they only loosely link organisations with somewhat related mandates. With the absence of a clear roadmap that straddles all government agencies individual departments tend to move at their own pace, driven by the initiative and vision of their respective leaders. While this results in some one-off successes, it does not help chart a course towards delivering optimal citizen service."

The region is well represented when it comes to such one-off successes. In terms of citizen participation, Qatar's General Retirement and Social Insurance Authority uses both Twitter and Facebook to engage with its people, while Abu Dhabi and the Greater Municipality of Istanbul utilise mobile applications to drive greater dialogue with their end users.

In relation to information transparency, the Saudi Food and Drug Authority's online database puts device-recall information at the public's fingertips. But while these individual agencies may be taking the initiative to push towards Smart Government, there is a distinct need within the region for a larger, more overarching vision that unites such agencies under one common goal.

"Governments within the MEA region are generally still playing catch-up in terms of their overall levels of automation compared to more developed economies, so they have the opportunity to leapfrog more mature nations in terms of architecting citizen-centered services," says Chulani.

"Savvy IT decision makers across the region should step up now to evangelize the need to introduce smarter services to citizens, encourage the harnessing of shared resources, interact with citizens to evaluate their requirements, and create the strategic frameworks required to integrate these solutions across areas that meet specific public policy goals and department mandates."

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