The FINANCIAL — Global social, economic, and public policy changes are forcing many governments to take advantage of new technology. Governments worldwide are going through a fundamental change in the way they interact with their citizens, driven by the near-universal adoption of Web 2.0 technologies like wikis, social networking and blogs, a new report from KPMG’s Government Advisory practice has found.
Despite the cost and efficiency benefits of using new technologies to deliver services, traditional attitudes to ownership of information and government organization remain common barriers to modernization.
“The technology has evolved from simply allowing internet access to information or filling-out electronic forms, to allowing people to see the information they need to engage policy makers and government program executives in a discussion of how to best serve the public’s needs,” said Mark Forman, Service Practice Leader, Government IT Advisory with KPMG in the US.
“This is clearly a radical and popular change. But governments need to overcome resistance and address concerns over security of information and the breakdown of hierarchies, if they are to benefit fully from the new technologies.”
The report entitled “Dynamic Technologies for Smarter Government,” points out that the changes taking place are not a loss of control. They represent, instead, the ability to provide more insights into problems and solutions through greater information sharing. There are large efficiency gains available if government can integrate administrative operations. It adds that information is not scarce, but effective interpretation is.
In a four point plan designed to help government officials adapt Web 2.0 technologies to their needs, the report suggests:
creating a collaborative operating model
rationalizing existing applications
arranging infrastructure to support Web 2.0 systems
leveraging and adapting culture to embrace openness and empowerment.
“It is important not to focus just on the technology,” said Mr. Forman. “People are important, too. The future generation of government workers is much more comfortable with collaborative online problem-solving than previous generations, who are often today’s C-level and Managing Director-level employees. But even so, success in knowledge era initiatives requires a careful mixture of good training and good leadership.”