A Study of Project Management Issues in E-Government in Developing Nations
The general objective of a country’s acceptance of e-government is it to minimize the distance between the citizens and the government. Although the likelihood to achieve this aim seems promising, some authors such as Solis & Deidre (2009) remain skeptical about the actual capability of an e-government system regarding public involvement. For example, critics have argued that implementation of an e-government model will not change the policy process but will give the government and the influential people a chance to monitor and control the common citizens. Based on this and other contradictions, a question has always been raised as to if e-government will enhance better governance or not.
The widespread use of the computer in developed and developing countries has created a new revolution for application of ICT. The era of application of ICT is referred as the digital revolution which has apparently turned the daily lifestyles and the governance for the people, mostly those that are living in the developing nations. The currently noticeable changes include the way businesses are conducted, how governing policies are developed, and how the government interacts as well as relating to its citizens. According to Michael (2011), unlike the conventional governance approach, the e-government efficiently and effectively offers service to its citizens. Besides, the project can enhance the creation of partnerships with civil and international societies, and strengthen citizens’ loyalty through the assurance of confidence in the democratic system.
E-government projects rely on the usage of information and other communication approaches such as phones, computers and most importantly the internet, and other digital devices to provide government services to the public at a low cost and with greater access to such services to both urban and rural residents. The innovation of digital connectivity through the internet has been instrumental in enabling the citizens to get both information and knowledge with much ease. As a result, e-government has been considered as a global phenomenon which is taking effect in most developed and developing countries. Many developing countries are coming to the realization of the power of information systems and the strategic importance of ICT tool to help them in addressing initiatives such as social, economic, infrastructure, technology, education and legal issues. Furthermore, the power leveraged by the government through the usage of technology is earning the population a good deal of resources, time and money to enable them to improve their lifestyles (Vishanth, 2009).
The execution of e-government in the developing nations has become the main agenda and has been placed in the forefront among all the flagship programs. However, achievement of this implementation dream has not been an easy task. The e-government has encountered multiple challenges which explain why this initiative remains a dream to most of the developing nations. Therefore, despite the promising economic growths in most of the nations in the world, developing countries have faced a tough decision between investing in the technology of e-governance or to provide the most urgent need- education, health care, and food to the nation (Powell & Maria, 2008).
Issues in project management for e-government in developing nations
According to Ebrahim & Ahmed (2011), E-government is an important application for information and communication technology that helps in assessing the country’s growth and development rate. Accordingly to the authors, it has been the interest of many nations to implement this initiative which would best fit their country. Most researchers on this issue have found out that the greatest impediment to the accomplishment of an E-model in government project is the abandonment of the initiative in the course of implementation.
Copying initiatives from other countries
Guanwei & Mingxin (2009) argue that most of the developing nations are building their e-government systems upon the initiatives that have been implemented in developed countries. Consequently, this has led to the ignorance of the fact that the developed nations are already expanded, and the developing countries are not ready to take in that expansion. Additionally, the e-government models that have been implemented in developed nations are based on their internal theories, governance policies and other experiences which, in most cases, are not applicable to any other country especially, the developing countries. The latter are stills struggling to achieve even a basic infrastructure, feed the nation and provide health care. Most often than not, e-government models are designed to exclusively cater for their individual contexts that range from social, political and economic aspects. Due to the uniqueness of every nation, it is quite obvious that an e-government model borrowed from a developed nation will not work in a developing nation. Every country would be required to develop it e-government model from scratch which would give them a chance to incorporate their specific characteristics and aspects to make the model a success.
Social and political changes
Social and political are the other challenges that require keen consideration during the development of e-government system. Political changes present a gap between the existing political situation and the requirement for the achievement in the execution of an e-projects system to take place (Solis & Deidre, 2009). In general, the government official’s political desire plays a vital place in the achievement of the e-government goals. Besides, without the sound will of the political climate in the country, the officials will have political dominance and self-interest that act as the primary driver in the execution of e-government platforms. On the other hand, social changes will haunt the application of this model by dividing the low and highly skilled, wealthy and poor members of the society. With this division, the less privileged will feel the outcomes of the e-government system are not appropriate to them due to the existing boundaries (Schware & Robert, 2007).
Poor harmonization between the design strategy and the implementation strategy
There exists a huge gap between the project design and the implementation plan which makes the attempts futile. The current significant mismatch between the design of the software system and the nation’s requirement regarding culture, physical, economics, and among others has led to the development of systems which are not customized to meet the core objective. Moreover, the difference amid the prevailing reality in the growing nations and the technology design fails to accommodate the current and future development plan of the nation (Guo &Yanqing, 2011).
Lack of future sustainable technology
In most of the cases, developing countries lack the financial and technical capability to affect a system that will not get outdated soon after the operation begins. Most of the e-government systems are built on future technology. Unfortunately, these facilities are not available in most of the developing nations. However, pressed by increasing demand by the citizens to implement an e-government system, governments have found themselves applying a previously developed system to solve the short-term requirement without putting into consideration the long-term feasibility of such systems (Ramaraj & Palanisamy, 2009). Although these attempts have been successful in achieving immediate objectives and in delivering the e-government service in short-runs, it has failed to offer a sustainable operation in the long run. As a result of this, most of the developing countries are required to analyze and identify the changing organizational structure critically, means for interacting with businesses and citizens, the level of businesses processes within the country and means of reducing cost before implementing an e-government system (Helmut, 2007).
Existent of huge financial gaps
It is an un-debatable truth that most of the developing nations face a significant financial challenge. The difference between the developed and the developing countries has made it a critical issue during project initiation, management, and implementation. This is due to the huge capital requirement to acquire an up to date technology that is available in the developed nations. In the viewpoint of this strategic advantage, most developed countries with a strong currency have leveraged this situation be using their currencies as tools to exploit the developing nations. As argued by Rakhmanov (2009), these severe gaps that are present between the developed and the developing nations regarding infrastructure, process, and internet technology are widening each and every day rather than narrowing. Besides, lack of readily available capital in the developing nations has denied them the ability to build a sustainable e-government infrastructure that can address both immediate requirements and provide room for future expansion as the countries’ economic, social, and political aspects change over time (Boni, 2008).
The final stage of an e-government project model
In most of the cases, democracy is the utmost result of an e-government model. At this final stage, information, interaction and proper transaction are achieved through a seemingly traditional e-service that is flawless in operation and expansion. Also, this final phase acknowledges a thorough amendment on the government policies and way of thinking to promote the rise of more involvement of citizens’ views and opinions (Dave & Sabine 2014). With a victory in the execution of an e-government project in developing nations, various aspect will be observable.
Firstly, transparency will be assured giving the citizens ability to view through the windows of the governing institution. An e-government system enables the public to access real-time information concerning the public affairs being conducted by the government. With this information at widespread the government will tend to operate more efficiently and effective with the knowledge that the whole nation is watching their every move. Besides, Michael & Horning (2011), stated that the e-government policy requires the government to incorporate and an online feature that commits the government to transparent practices that would enhance the trust and legitimacy of the citizens. The transparency provided by an e-government system has the power to turn the behaviour of influential organizations by making the accountable for their actions and practices in the glare of the public eye.
Secondly, at an advanced level of implementation, a developing nation would be able to establish an engagement between the public and the government. Contrary to openness and transparency, engagement requires a strong e-government infrastructure that can offer more than openness and transparency (Russel, 2007). It cannot be entirely assumed that when a correct e-government system has been implemented, and the public has access to online information, the project was a success. An e-democracy that provides successful engagement can still fail even when the e-government model has been developed. In this regard, an engagement would be a comprehensively controlled practice within the e-government model that will allow the citizens to participate in public decisions and debates regarding public governance (Manoharan & Marc, 2012).
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