Adaptation of electronic forms (e-forms) seems to be a step forward to reduce the burden for people who fill in forms. Municipalities more and more offer e-forms online that can be used by citizens to request a municipal product or service or by municipal employees to place a request on behalf of a citizen. The impression exists that not all users of municipal e-forms are entirely satisfied about the current e-forms. To improve the customer satisfaction a shift must be made from a supply-led to a demand-led approach, including possibilities for tailored information and services. A municipal e-form can automatically adjust to the background, knowledge, interest, goals and restrictions of the user. The user can also adjust the form to his/her needs. Adaptive municipal e-forms can be used for different purposes, that is to make an appointment, to announce a change of address, or to request a passport or building permit. This chapter describes how municipal e-forms can be improved by the use of adaptation.
To adapt or to be adapted: that is the question. This chapter describes how municipal electronic forms (e-forms) can be improved by the use of adaptation. The impression exists that not all users of municipal e-forms are entirely satisfied about the current e-forms. To improve the customer satisfaction a shift must be made from a supply-led to a demand-led approach, including possibilities for tailored information and services. (Advies Overheid.nl, 2006)
Adaptation of e-forms seems to be a step forward to reduce the burden for people who fill in forms. (Dijk, 2005). Municipalities more and more offer e-forms Online (through a website or portal) that can be used by citizens to request a municipal product or service or by municipal employees to place a request on behalf of a citizen. The form can automatically adjust to the background, knowledge, interest, goals and restrictions of the user. The user can also adjust the form to his/her own needs. Adaptive municipal e-forms can be used for different purposes, e.g. to make an appointment, to announce a change of address, or to request a passport or building permit.
The Dutch program Overheid heeft Antwoord, assigned by the Dutch Department of Internal Affairs and Kingdom relations (Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties - BZK), describes that municipalities must offer at least 65% of their services through the Internet in 2007. For the total government this required percentage is 67%. Overheid heeft Antwoord gives out a yearly report called the Overheid.nl Monitor. The Overheid.nl Monitor 2007 describes the most important progressions and bottlenecks in the design of the electronic government and it stimulates governments to perform better. The Overheid.nl Monitor is based on a elaborate checklist and consists of both a yearly and continue monitor. The results of the Overheid.nl Monitor 2007 are inspiring and confirm that we are heading in the right direction. 67% of the public services are offered electronically in 2007. This means that the goal of 65% in 2007 is widely accomplished. The results also indicate that personalized services to citizens and companies, have increased rapidly in 2007 from 19% to 36%. This has been made possible by doubling the implementation of DigiD (see (DigiD, 2008) for more information), personalized front offices and the Internet pay desks. The priority in 2008 will be on projects regarding personal services. The Overheid.nl Monitor will also focus on the accessibility and the quality of the government services. The goal is that government services are rewarded with a 7 (out of 10) by citizens. A better and more efficient service will safe the citizens but also the government time and money. (Garnier, Flos & Romeijn, 2007).
One of the most prominent cases in the area of e-government is the implementation of a digital front office, e.g. a digital service counter. Due to this, services can optimally be adapted to users/citizens, the interaction between citizens and the government can be improved, and various internal front offices can be supported. A digital request of a municipal product and/or service can for example lead to a higher efficiency because of a higher quality of the request and the possibility for semi-automatized testing. A disadvantage is that if the municipality can not digitally process the request in their back office systems there is a big change that the digital request will only lead to a shift of the administrative burdens and to an increase of the costs. (Hoogwout & Vries, 2005) In this case the request will be send through email to an municipal employee. The employee has to process the request in the back office system manually. With, e.g., the implementation of a Mid Office, the municipalities can process the requests digitally in the back office systems. In this case intervention of an municipal employee is not necessary anymore. For more information about a Mid Office, see (Expertisegroep Usability, 2006).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Back Office: The back office forms the heart of the organisation were, invisible for the outer world, the primary (data distributing) processes are performed.
Back Office System: A back office system/application offers data distributing functionality and is used in this way by a mid office.
E-Form: An e-forms is a given procedure designed to register, read, edit, transport, reproduces, save and search data in an uniform, systematic and complete way (fill in and fill up).
Personalisation: Content is offered in a personalized way by a website to individuals or groups of persons, based on profiles, demographic data and/or previous transactions.
Electronic (digital) Service Counter: An electronic service counter is a (government) service counter where the government and the citizens/companies communicate through electronic channels with the goal to optimally adjust their services to the demand of the citizens/companies.
E-Government: E-government is the use of ICT in government services in combination with organizational changes and new abilities of the employees.
Mid Office: The mid office is a collection of functionalities that connects the processes and corresponding applications and data in the front office and the back office.
Front Office: The front office forms the presentation layer of the organisation to the outer world; all interaction with the outer world is being performed by the front office.
Portal: A portal offers functionality to offer relevant information and applications to (groups of) end users in a personalized way.
Customisation: Customisation is the adaptation of a website to his/her personal preference s of a user.