For the second consecutive year, Canada has emerged as the top-rated country in Accenture’s e-government study.
Rounding out the top five countries behind Canada were Singapore, U.S., Australia, Denmark and the United Kingdom. The study found that the gap between Canada and Singapore is rapidly closing, with an overall score differential of less than one per cent between the two nations.
Canada’s e-government initiatives focus on the importance of grouping online services around citizens’ and business’s needs and priorities, read the study. For example, the Canadian government launched a portal – www.gc.ca – in 2001 that provides a single point of access to 450 federal Web sites.
Overall, Ottawa-based Accenture said governments, while moving slowly, are making positive strides in e-government. Countries such as France, Germany, Ireland and Hong Kong all made significant strides.
Meanwhile, Canada retained its leadership position by focusing on several key areas. “Canada maintained its lead primarily due to (its) focus on being citizen-centred, as well as our collaborative approach across (all) levels of government and different departments,” said Graeme Gordon, partner in Accenture’s e-government practice in Ottawa.
But as he explained, as many countries do progress, so does the gap between the front-running and also-ran countries in adopting e-government practices.
But where Canada is losing ground and where Singapore is gaining momentum is in the complexity of services being offered. While the initial rush by governments was to publish content online, the transition now must be towards more than just the content itself, said Gordon.
Canada did move in the right direction last year with its Netfile offering that provided residents the option of filing their taxes online.
In a surprising development, governments are now looking to adopt customer relationship management (CRM) software – once considered a dirty word in government circle – to improve its online offerings, Gordon said.
“Governments are starting to understand that the principals of CRM have applicability, and they know that and are recognizing that. [Canada has] created a single entry point for all of its services, which is a good CRM principal,” he said.