Building Capacity for Electronic Governance in Developing Countries: Critical Success Factors

Building Capacity for Electronic Governance in Developing Countries: Critical Success Factors

Rogers W’O Okot-Uma (Studies Forum International, UK) and J.K. Ssewanyana (Makerere University, Uganda)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-820-8.ch011
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Abstract

This chapter presents the essence of critical success factors with focus on building capacity for electronic governance (eGovernance) in a developing country jurisdiction. The results are borne of the authors’ years of experience with regard to national eGovernance implementations in developing member countries of the Commonwealth. Critical success factors (CSFs) denote those aspects of, or associated with, the new information and communication technologies (ICTs), which may be perceived as comprising core, key or critical factors against which the level of capability of National Capacity for ICT or eGovernance may be assessed, measured and/or interpreted. CSFs, perceived to be critical for the success of any eGovernance initiative is best modelled as a three-tier minimalist framework, comprising CSFs at levels described as macro-, meso-, and micro- levels. The nature of any given ICT initiative which is appropriate nationally in central government, locally in local government, or in the public service, in the civil service, or in some selected sector or jurisdiction of the national economy, whether existing or planned, and whether implicit or explicit, must take cognisance of the need for the identification of CSFs at the inception stage of the initiative.
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Introduction

The rapid development, deployment and proliferation of the new and emerging information and communication technologies (ICTs) herald new opportunities for growth and development in countries around the world. Governments worldwide are seeking to harness the potential offered by these new technologies to create new dimensions of economic and social progress. Immediate challenges relate to the need for requisite efforts by governments to transcend the digital divide by narrowing the digital gap through, incrementally or otherwise, the following factors:

  • Putting in place the necessary national information infrastructure;

  • Developing and nurturing the necessary human resource and other ‘soft-wired’ structures and systems required to operate the national information infrastructure; and

  • Providing adequate financial resources to implement both the infrastructural and human resource requirements.

The three factors outlined above may be considered to comprise part of a broader scope of factors – critical success factors. For developing countries deemed to be at the initial stage of making the entry into, or at an early stage on, the roadmap to the information society, or the information economy, a ‘checklist’ or ‘quasi-template’ of critical success factors becomes a useful practical ‘toolkit’, that need to be put into consideration as a necessary preamble. Critical success factors (CSFs) are used to denote those aspects of, or associated with, the new information and communication technologies (ICTs), which may be perceived as comprising core, key or critical factors against which a measure of level of capability of National Capacity for ICT, in general, or eGovernance, in particular, may be assessed, measured and/or interpreted.

This chapter presents, from an empirical standpoint, an articulation of critical success factors (CSFs), as they pertain to building capacity for information and communication technologies in general, and electronic governance (eGovernance), in particular. Over the years, during the mid 1990s, one of the authors above implemented over 50 ICT initiatives, the majority being specialist training programmes, in which the participants were routinely required to identify, state, indicate and/or discuss with other participants the issues or factors that, in their respective individual or collective opinion, they regarded as constituting critical success factors with regard to national initiatives aimed at building capacity for the new ICTs in their respective national jurisdictions. The result was a long list of issues or factors which, on analysis, was reduced to a 17-entity listing of ‘critical success factors’. CSFs, perceived or deemed to be critical for the success of any eGovernance initiative (or any other national ICT initiative), is best modelled as a three-tier minimalist framework, comprising CSFs at levels described as macro-, meso-, and micro- levels. Individual jurisdictions can broadly ‘scope’ the individual CSFs or the three levels, to take account of their unique circumstances. During the early 2000s, it became apparent that it would be useful to investigate the CSFs further, particularly with respect to each other in perceived relative terms. It was therefore arranged to carry out a survey exercise amongst alumni of the various previous ICT initiatives. The purpose was to obtain a general relative ranking of the critical success factors, with the objective of articulating a broad overview of priority levels, temporal or administrative, with regard to the critical success factors. The objective of this chapter is simply to establish, at least from an empirical standpoint, how the critical success factors rank across the macro-, meso-, and micro- levels.

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