Electronic government (e-government), the ability for government to provide access to services and information twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, is an emerging force in Africa. As a result, government service will be revolutionized as Africa progresses into the Digital Age. In this new age, good government is accessible government. Good government correlates to immediate access to pertinent information. Good government is faster, cheaper and more efficient.

 

There are three key areas namely; service provision, digital democracy, and economic development, that represent a broad definition of e-government and affect all customers of local government, including interactions between government and citizen (G2C), government and business (G2B), government and other government agencies (G2G), and between government and its own employees (G2E). While many current efforts focus on G2C like e-water, the three remaining areas can provide tremendous payback for government. A definition of e-government is not complete unless it identifies and considers all of its customers

 

For a successful implementation of E-government services and applications leading to generation of revenue, Government Information Technology Authority (GITA) has to consider critical factors that will lead to a successful E-government. One of these factors is the E-government readiness survey, which will bring understanding to the level of acceptance of E-government services when deployed. The critical success factors related to e-government readiness are focused around three key drivers: the process, the people, and the technology.

 

First, it is important to ensure that processes are reviewed and re-engineered where necessary to support a new way of doing business. As with any application of technology, business process review should be performed, streamlining opportunities should be identified, processes and procedures should be improved, and solutions should be designed around these improved processes. The second driver, the people, relates to having an adequate level of well-trained people to both support and use these systems. The third driver of e-government readiness, the technology, focuses on assessment of the current infrastructure, identification of improvements needed to support e-government initiatives, implementation of those improvements, and integration of existing autonomous systems and between new and legacy systems, with a focus on providing a total solution. Implementation of a unified communication system, adequate bandwidth, and reliable, redundant networks are examples of critical Infrastructure requirements that support e-government initiatives.

 

As E-government initiatives are deployed, development of a marketing and communications plan should also be included in the e-government strategy. While GITA may not traditionally perform these functions, they are vital to adoption of e-government initiatives. Both the marketing and communications plan must address all customers of government services. This part of the strategy should also include policy recommendations regarding advertising and commercial use of the government’s official web portal. The e-government strategy should also include business models and a sustainable funding plan. GITA has many funding options including funding these initiatives on a pay-as-you-go basis, bond or other financing, charging transaction fees, and partnering with donor agencies and third party providers. Again government can combine these options in a variety of fashions. It is important to consider that while many on-line transactions can generate revenue and/or reduce costs, other important services will not have these results but may still be important to the organization or community. While advertising on and commercial use of the government web portal offers opportunities for revenue generation, there is need to develop business models for other e-government initiatives.

 

The number of possible e-government initiatives requires that GITA create a process for determining priorities. Criteria can include availability of funding, chance of success, return on investment, readiness of the function/service, and customer demand.

Like any government infrastructure project, e-government can be done in phases and the costs of implementation will depend on current infrastructure availability, supplier and user capabilities, and mode of service delivery (whether through the Internet or through telephone hotlines and one-stop shops). The more complicated and sophisticated the kind of services GITA wants to offer, the more expensive the implementation is likely to become.

GITA should focus on small, self-financing or outsourced projects. Because e-government projects must be financially sustainable, there must be a revenue/ cost-reduction model in place. Smaller projects with a clear revenue-generation strategy and minimal initial investment are the most likely to be sustainable over the long term. For instance, Web sites are one of the easiest and cheapest ways to achieve high impact e-government with a minimum of investment.

Business models and how they will generate revenue

E-Government projects are, more often than not, long-term endeavors, requiring large capital infusion in software, hardware, infrastructure and training. A viable financing plan should not only pay for the immediate needs to jump start e-government; it must also consider its long-term financing options for the sustainability of the project.

v Public Private Partnerships as a business model

There are various business models for funding e-government projects, and the private sector plays a critical role in these. Under partnership arrangements, the private sector builds finances and operates public infrastructure such as roads and airports, recovering costs through user charges. Various financing schemes exist from soft and development assistance loans from donor/multilateral aid agencies to partnerships and outsourcing deals with private third party vendors under special financing schemes (e.g., the Build-Operate-Transfer or BOT scheme) that can minimize the initial cost to government.

BOT and its variants are usually the favored financing models/arrangements for government projects that require large and immediate financing from the private sector. Under BOT, the private sector designs, finances, builds, and operates the facility over the life of the contract. At the end of this period, ownership reverts to the government. A variation of this is the Build-Transfer-Operate (BTO) model, under which title transfers to the government when construction is completed. Finally, with Build-Own-Operate (BOO) arrangements, the private sector retains permanent ownership and operates the facility on contract.

Cooperation, rather than competition, with the private sector can facilitate effective e-government. Government can encourage private sector investment by complementing and supporting private sector efforts rather than duplicating them. The key to e-government is to improve citizen access to service delivery, not further expand the role of government.

At a time when ICT is defining the way the world lives and conducts business, it is important for governments to evolve to meet the demands of changing trends in order to deliver effective services and to improve. This also requires the formation of Public Private Partnerships (PPP) to be geared towards achieving developmental goals through the application of e-government

Some of the PPPs that GITA can get into to generate revenue or reduce cost

1. Building and setting up of Business information centers can partner with CISCO , Bill and Melisa Gates foundation

2. E-Agriculture can partner with World bank , Bill and Melisa Gates foundation , Grameen foundation

3. E-democracy partner with the European union enforce the electoral process e.g. e-voting , the national Identity (National Security Information System)

4. Business Process Outsourcing

5. Unified tele/communication services platform (tele/ISP) to government

6. Setting up ‘commercial’ data banks – to be used as Disaster Recovery sites and/or back-offices by banks & other institutions that have high volumes of data

7. Automated finger print system using the national identity database development

8. E-learning /e-education

 

v The payment platform business model

This model is an effort to transfer the business concept to e-government in the public and private sector. Government activities will be considered a value chain linking the “trading “partners like citizens, businesses and MDAs. There are requests for structural change in transaction patterns due to citizen emancipation.

1. One of the ways to enable revenue generation is by development of a pay system for services offered on the web portal. This system may be similar to the PayPal system and will enable the portal users to pay for services that they require from the government Web portal. Services like licensing, application forms , registration services and other services that will be availed. This system has two components one is called “Man in the browser” (MITB model) which is online. The other is by using Short Messaging Service (SMS) where an authentication code called Mobile Transaction Authentication Number (MTAN) is sent.

2. The second way revenue can be generated is by use of prepaid cards to access and upload specific information and services on the web portal. Prepaid cards, originally conceived as a convenient way for consumers to pay for telephony access, are currently being repurposed for general use as payment mechanism on the Internet. In Africa, online payment systems are still at an infant stage of development but their acceptance is steadily growing. This presents an opportunity for the introduction of these prepaid cards which may be sold by a private firm to the members of the general and business public that are frequent users of the portal services. Incentives may be required to entice these frequent users to opt for the pre-paid cards so as to make this usage popular. GITA will gain revenue from commissions or taxes levied off transactions involving these cards.

3. The prepaid Cards can also generate revenue as on card advertising will be encouraged and branding will also show visibility of the services offered on the Web portal

 

v Virtual Market Business model

With the government web portal developed and functional, GITA can start to commercialize the web portal by marking it a virtual market place that will allow for , Online purchases, Online Advertising , Online paid records and online auctions . This will generate commissions from all sales and advertising that will be done online

 

v Share/Shared Host business model

This will generate revenue through space utility by government agencies and private sector that would like to upload their documents and applications to be used by the public.

This model also supports leasing of space for firms to use for business continuity, disaster recovery and back up strategies. With good security the portal can offer these services to both government and private sector a fee where upload of files is charged for the space that is used. Likewise the public can be charged for download or upload of documents and applications. This will bring a substantial amount of revenue if GITA uploads good applications and documents that are sought after by the public or government

 

v Shared Services business model

A shared services center might provide common services to government and private sector without affecting the autonomy of organizations and providing the flexibility to enhance and include additional functionality. As such a shared services one stop place promises tremendous economies of scale and scope. This model is divided into three key deliverables, using the government web portal, GITA will be able to provide shared services namely business shared services, Government shared services and citizen shared services hence in support to G2G, G2C and G2B .The table below highlights the services that can be offered and as mentioned above these service will generate revenue according to the need of each sector.

 

E-government Services

Government to Government: G2G

Government to Business: G2B

 

Government to Citizens: G2C

§ Computerizing core businesses of government

§ Customs declaration(e-Tax)

§ National Revenue on line

§ Integrated billing systems

§ E-Procurement

§ Land Registration

§ Land registration

§ National Revenue on line

§ Safety and Security

§ Integrated Planning

§ Social contribution for employees(NSSF)

§ Telemedicine

§ Information and Knowledge Management

§ Information and Knowledge sharing facility of doing business in the country

§ Employment opportunities

§ Learning Networks(E-learning)

§ Access to socio-demographic and other government databases

§ Social Security contributions

§ E –Procurement in Government

§ Land registration on-line

§ E-voting, polling and referenda

§ Decentralized data processing with integrated access to virtual data warehouse(national databank)

§ Vehicle registration

§ New shapes and forms of democracy (e-voting)

 

§ Virtual job market

§ E- citizens

   

§ Virtual Job market

 

v Channel Marketing business model

Channel marketing can be used by GITA to allow for access to various e-government services through the use of third party firms and/or devices as conduits. This effectively increases usage of e- government services, without negatively affecting citizens' current level of satisfaction with service delivery. One example of a channel that may be used is the mobile phones as a means of access to e-government services as well as a conduit for service delivery.

 

v Subscription Business model

This is a business model where a customer must pay a subscription price to have access to the product/service.

 

Bait and Hook Business model

 

As a subset of this model, the bait and hook model may be used whereby abstracts of a service or product are used to entice the attention of potential clients which clients are then required to subscribe in order to be able to access the full service or product. In this model, both parties are in agreement before a transaction is carried out. GITA stands to benefit because of assured constant revenue stream from subscribed individuals for the duration of the subscriber's agreement. Not only does this greatly reduce uncertainty and the riskiness of the transaction, but it often provides payment in advance, while allowing customers to become greatly attached to using the service and, therefore, more likely to extend by signing an agreement for the next period close to when the current agreement expires. For example membership to the law society , access to law cases , access to the e-library , access to parliament proceedings for purpose of reference .

 

Conclusion

It is not the utilization of any one of the business models mentioned that will achieve the full revenue generation for GITA. This gives provision for the amalgamation of various features from the different business models so as to come up with a unique model for GITA

From
Carol Kakooza Kyazze
IT Specialist
http://carolkkakooza.blogspot.com