Study: Canadian e-gov maturity ranks first

Canada has placed first out of 22 countries in e-government maturity for the fourth consecutive year, according to a recently released study by global management consulting firm Accenture Ltd.

The study, e-government Leadership: High Performance, Maximum Value, found Canadian e-government practices ranked first in all categories, including service breadth, service depth and customer relationship management, earning 80 per cent out of a possible score of 100 — 13 per cent better than its closest challengers, Singapore and the U.S.

The Canadian government has continued to make large investments in IT due to e-government initiatives and solid fiscal positions, according to a recent Forrester Research Inc. report.

According to Graeme Gordon, an Ottawa-based partner with Accenture’s government practice in Canada, the nation has earned its top spot based on the fact that its e-government vision is predicated on a customer focus and a “whole of government” approach, which incorporates the different levels of government to deliver the best possible service.

“Canada’s action plan is built on a solid foundation of fact based on the known information from the customer base,” Gordon said. “It regularly surveys citizens and businesses for indication of attitudes and needs, and the processes (Canada) has appear to be most extensive compared to other countries in the survey in terms of gathering and understanding the needs of the citizens.”

However, despite Canada’s leading role in e-governance, the study found that advances in maturity on the whole are slowing down around the globe and have a long way to go to achieve dramatic results.

“If you look at the study this year…many countries have definitely hit a plateau. The ones that are in the highest level of maturity at this point…their challenge now is going from looking at services as Internet-type activities to a complete service transformation.”

Gordon said leading countries like Canada have to make decisions in terms of how they are going to accelerate this service transformation, which involves both horizontal and vertical integration of services that better serve citizen and business transactions with government agencies.

Gordon recommended that in order to reach that level of service integration, Canada will have to lay out a revised plan in which it rethinks and fine-tunes governance models and decision making practices. “The time is right to make the transition,” he said.

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