E-Government in the United States
The E-government in USA is the government computer systems that are designed to interact with the population of the country (U.S. citizens, as well as foreigners such as tourists) and entities outside the government. Such entities may include business organizations, non-governmental organizations, regional and municipal authorities, etc. The beginning of e-government in the United States was laid by creating the web site of the President of the United States in 1993 (Affisco & Soliman, 2012). A typical example of e‑government is tax payments over the Internet or representation in the Global Network of information about the work of government agencies.
President’s vision of government transformation puts in the first place the need for reform of government, aiming at the business sector and the service industry. That is why the following three fundamental solutions are at the heart of the government reform:
- Focus on citizens and not on bureaucracy;
- Provision of the specificity and effectiveness of the actions and programs;
- Use of market mechanisms and active support of innovations through development (Garvin, 2009).
E-government is one of the government-wide initiatives. The federal government has a task to reduce the cost of their services by creating a people-oriented e-government, which will significantly increase the effectiveness of the federal government and its importance for all citizens. The need to move towards e-government is obvious because the government is one of the largest consumers of information technology. However, 45 billion dollars that the U.S. government spent on IT in 2002 did not lead to an essential increase in productivity in the public sector of the U.S. economy (Scholl, 2010). This is caused by four factors:
- Government agencies generally rate their IT in terms of their own needs and do not take into account the needs of citizens;
- In the 90s, government agencieshave used IT to automate their workflows (such as typewriters and calculators), and not to create new and more effective solutions;
- Many government agencies perceive IT as a threat and often go to wasteful and unnecessary investments in order to maintain their commanding position;
- In most cases, government agencies do not provide the collaboration capabilities of their IT systems.
U.S. presidential administration, developing e-government strategy, intends to support projects aimed at improving the collaboration of government agencies, including e-procurement, electronic grants, electronic control and electronic signature. At present, the U.S. federal government pays special attention to:
- E-commerce between government organizations and ministries and e-tendering of supply of goods and services to meet the needs of public;
- Providing public access to government and administrative information;
- Use of smart cards, including within the federal government;
- Solving various problems; in particular, obtaining official documents through government websites, paying taxes, providing statistics about the state apparatus for population (Gil-Garcia, 2013).
In general it can be said that e-government in the U.S. is currently at the level of the on-demand agency, which means using a strategy focused on the external activities, but with a relatively low level of development of e-governance. The level next to this one is a fully electronic government. As for the new features, the development of e-government will make it easier for citizens to obtain high-quality services from the federal government and at the same time it will reduce the cost of these services.
Switching of federal regulatory processes to online technologies will provide citizens with easy access to many important political decisions; it will improve the awareness of citizens and increase the effectiveness of government action. Portalls of e-procurement and grant management will make transactions with the government or receiving financial assistance from the government easier, faster, more transparent and comprehensive. The work on supply chain management will enable government agencies to avoid unnecessary action and save resources.
According to the research, popularity of the U.S. e-government is the following:
- 46% of Americans used government services;
- 41% downloaded official forms;
- 35% studied government documents and statistics;
- 23% supplied different applications or searched for information (United Nations, 2012).
Moreover, the popularity of online government services is constantly growing. However, the researchers note that all depends on the level of income and education of citizens. According to polls, 91% of Americans with an annual income of $ 50 000 or more are engaged in the search for information or registration of their affairs on the government sites. 89% of them have a university degree. Those who earn less and do not have university degree made up respectively 76% and 70% (United Nations, 2012).
A number of websites where the problems that America faces today are transformed into an opportunity for growth and advancement are already launched. For this purpose, the U.S. government is guided by three principles:
- The optimal use of investments, engineering developments and publications of APIs that can be used by everyone, be it a private person or a research community;
- Development of the specific indicators that would show the status of a particular area, their interaction with other systems and structures for improving the quality of the area;
- Promoting competition.
The U.S. government is also trying to work with information on health care, energy consumption and education. Its aim is to transform not only these, but also other important areas into the open resources.