Critical gaps in IT skills in the rollout of e-government initiatives will result in managed services becoming a central feature of these projects, creating a market worth €27m in 2006, a new report by iReach claims.
The deployment of mission-critical e-government to e-citizen projects over the past number of years will present a number of key issues for government IT decision makers to consider over the next 12-18 months, according to the report.
Chief amongst these concerns will be project portfolio management, addressing the gap in terms of IT ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’, future-proofing planned rollouts and applying performance management metrics to ensure value for money and on-time results.
In terms of project portfolio management, iReach said that a co-ordinated approach to management will become increasingly critical. Effective project rollouts, as well as refreshes of existing systems, will present a key challenge to e-government leaders and a balance will need to be struck in terms of time and budgetary commitments.
iReach said that critical gaps will need to be addressed internally in government relating to skills and externally relating to marginalised e-citizens. It said government leaders must clearly identify the skills needed to implement and support e-government projects and react by deploying personnel with the necessary skills prior to project rollout.
The role of managed services will become central to central government e-government initiatives, creating a market worth approximately €27m in 2006, as decision makers look to overcome issues such as technical skills gaps, glean cost benefits and relocate staff into higher value-adding roles such as citizen and business support services.
Developing a long-term vision and a planning and review process to ensure e-government project future-proofing will be critical as e-government projects become more wide-ranging across a greater number of government departments and public service bodies.
The key objective will be to ensure that projects have in-built flexibility and extensibility to meet changing market and user requirements. iReach believes that decision makers will need to engage in collaborative planning processes between technology and functional teams, which prioritise projects appropriately along with the departmental initiatives.
iReach said that attaching key performance measurements to e-government projects will become increasingly important for departments and public bodies as more and more processes are transferred to an electronic medium.
This will extend to financial as well as process-quality measurements. For example, government services such as Motor Tax and PAYE offices have transferred large sections of the business processes away from face-to-face services, which therefore require greater reliability and service quality from online and phone-based services.
By John Kennedy
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