The Lifecycle of Transactional Services

The Lifecycle of Transactional Services

C. Vassilakis
Copyright: © 2007 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-789-8.ch177
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Electronic government can be defined as the use of information and communication technologies in government for at least three purposes: providing public services, improving managerial effectiveness, and promoting democracy (Gil-Garcia, 2004). This definition recognizes transactional services (i.e., services that involve filling-in, submission, and processing of electronic forms) as a vital component of e-government, since public service provision and interaction between citizens and government is mainly modeled through such services (eEurope, 2000). It is worth noting that among the 20 public services included in (eEurope, 2000) as “first steps towards ‘Electronic Government,’” 18 of them (90%) are transactional services, with the remaining two being informational services (information search and retrieval). Similar ratios hold for electronic services worldwide: for instance, the government of Dubai analyzed all services it offers and has concluded that 1,200 of these services are transactional, out of a total of 1,500 services (AmeInfo, 2004) (80%; again, the remaining services are informational). Historically, governments have first implemented informational services (provision of information related to the procedures and regulations related to governmental services), then proceeded with downloadable forms which can be filled-in and submitted manually (one-way interaction), subsequently moved to providing the ability to online submit forms whose data were processed later with human intervention (two-way interaction) and finally reached full electronic case handling (Cap Gemini, 2004). In the past few years, governments are systematically working on realizing e-government policies and frameworks, which include the delivery of transactional services for enterprises and citizens. Citizens and enterprises expect that provision of rich spectrum of transactional services will to result to a number of benefits, as reported in (Top of the Web, 2003) and illustrated in Figure 1. The progress of these works have been quantified and evaluated in reports; notably, the reports (Cap Gemini, 2003; Cap Gemini, 2004) have targeted the e-government development status in the European Union and have produced results showing the developments and trends in the EU countries. Some interesting findings from these reports are shown in Table 1. Note that services available online includes services a portion of which has been made available online, and some other portion is still carried out manually; services fully available online are fully processed in an online fashion and have no manual portion. A similar quantification approach is taken by the UN Global E-government Survey (UN, 2003), which identifies five stages of service delivery, namely, emerging presence, enhanced presence, interactive presence, transactional presence and networked presence, with interactive presence and transactional presence being the counterparts of online availability and full online availability (networked presence refers to a government-to-citizen framework based on an integrated network of public agencies for the provision of information, knowledge, and services). In this report, the average service online availability indicator for the top 15 countries is computed to be 63.8%, whereas the average service full online availability indicator is 20.2%1. The results of the studies presented above clearly indicate that despite the users’ high expectations from transactional services and the governments’ will and support for their development, the progress achieved insofar lags behind the desired levels. First, in the time frame of approximately one decade (governmental services have appeared on the Web in the mid-nineties), even the basic online services are not fully covered; moreover, the growth speed towards the full coverage is dropping (15% for the period 10/2001 to 10/2002 against a mere 7% for the period 10/2002 to 10/2003). Second, for services that do have a point of presence on the Web, full electronic case handling is provided only for the two thirds of them, while the remaining one third includes (at least one) stage that is performed manually. From the users’ point of view, some pessimism can be identified in the issue of better help.

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