Benchmarking e-government, opening standards

Comparing approaches across government is a great way to learn. However, in the article
Benchmarking eGovernment: tools, theory, and practice in the European Journal of ePractice no. 4, August 2008 by Cristiano Codagnone and myself , we document there are several open issues and gaps that need to be addressed in the future, including better data, review of EU’s list of 20 basic services and analyzing outcomes.

Standardizing government processes is one way to put your country on top of the rankings. Governments that skillfully put in place e-government policies that embrace open standards AND follow them through, will already have done the most important future-proofing there is. The risk of failure goes down, too. But there needs to be checks and balances. This might be particularly important in order to avoid lock-in to particular technologies or vendors. In our view, IT should enable flexibility, not limit it (see our page 11). In the article, we define efficiency as the relationship between the input and impact, or spending well. We define effectiveness as the relationship between the sought and achieved results for the constituencies, or spending wisely. While both investing in benchmarking and following through on open standards can be spending well and wisely, leadership cannot be guaranteed by spending alone. They are means to an end.

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Trond Undheim, Ph.D, Director of Standards Strategy and Policy at the Oracle Corporation, speaker, entrepreneur, blogger, and author, is one of the world’s leading experts on technology and society. LinkedIn profile

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