Study finds slowing e-gov adoption

The Presidential e-Government Initiatives of 2000 have lost much of their steam because people still prefer to interact with federal agencies over the telephone, according to a report from Forrester Research Inc. of Cambridge, Mass.

"Our research indicates that citizens contact the government predominantly for personal rather than business reasons, seeking answers to specific questions, expressing opinions or completing transactions," said Alan Webber, a consulting analyst.

"Because of the personal nature of these interactions, they still rely on telephone and in-person contact and don't completely trust the Web. Even though most of these people use the Internet for other aspects of their daily lives, old habits die hard," Webber said in a press release.

Hurdles for implementation of e-government initiatives include constrained budgets and a change-resistant culture, which may become exacerbated as federal IT spending begins to decrease in the next couple of years, the report said. Government bureaucracy, extremely long project cycles and long overdue deadlines also have slowed adoption.

Forrester defined three levels of e-government maturity: an "access era" to obtain information online; an "interaction era" to make small transactions and submit information online; and an "engagement era" to complete personalized, comprehensive transactions online. Most agencies currently are at the interaction era.

Moving forward will require more disciplined management practices, an increase in the security of online environments, more complete enterprise architectures, greater capabilities for records and data and additional IT talent, according to the study.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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