Study: E-commerce environments best in U.S., U.K., Canada

The United States, United Kingdom and Canada have combined strong political leadership with up-to-date communications infrastructures to create the best environments for e-commerce in the world, according to a study released Nov. 19 by management and technology consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.

Booz Allen, of McLean, Va., examined statistical indicators and government policies that affect e-commerce, identifying the most advanced e-economies and the reasons for their success.

The study was commissioned in March by the British government's Office of the e-Envoy and the Information Age Partnership, a think tank of 30 chief executive officers and top ranking managers from Europe's leading information and communications technology companies.

Booz Allen was asked to develop a framework for measuring the e-commerce progress of the G7 countries - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and United States - plus Australia and Sweden, and to assess the United Kingdom's progress towards its goal of becoming the best environment in the world for e-commerce.

The study found:

  • Sweden, the United States, Canada and Australia have the strongest e-government development, driven by their early initiatives and a sustained commitment.

  • The citizens of Canada, Sweden and the United States are the most involved in the e-economy because of training initiatives and efforts to increase use of personal computers.

  • The adoption and use of online technologies to change the way businesses work is most developed in the United States and Sweden.

  • "The countries with the most advanced e-economies got an early start and haven't looked back," said Barrie Berg, Booz Allen vice president. "They have succeeded by maintaining their commitment to drive e-access into all aspects of society."

    The study found that Sweden, the United States, Canada and Australia have the most advanced e-government programs. Booz Allen found that:

  • Strong government leadership and a dual focus on back-office integration and front-office service delivery are essential for integrating the e-economy into government. The United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom are leaders in this area.

  • Nations that previously lagged in e-government are making serious efforts to advance, such as Germany with its e-government policy "BundOnline."

  • Few governments have effective approaches to measure the impact of their e-government policies. Sweden and Australia lead in this area.

  • "All nations, in this early stage of e-commerce development, under-perform in some areas," said Jeff Bollettino, vice president and head of the e-government practice at Booz Allen. "One can learn from another's experience rather than having to reinvent the wheel, and international cooperation can be fostered. The prize is more efficient government services, 24/7 access to them, at low cost for all."

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