Кафедра электронной коммерции | E-government concept, algorithms and tools development

E-government concept, algorithms and tools development

Yurasov A.V.


The article has a theoretical and applied nature; its relevance is due to the need for developing a theoretical basis for constructing e-government. This need is caused by the fact that practical works actively ongoing in this area don’t always rely on advanced scientific achievements, and in some cases are carried out in areas not covered by the applied scientific developments.

At the present time there is no common concept of e-government. There are only a set of common requirements that citizens and businesses can expect from the Government Information Society. The various categories of consumers are united by a common desire to obtain more effective means of access to information in order to reduce transaction costs, make interaction with government agencies easier, faster and more comfortable.

Automation of the state (in the form of e-government) is at an early stage of theoretical interpretation, the development of technologies, tools and mentality of government and society. In the current scientific developments, as well as in surveys, advertised in papers and reports on conferences, significant attention is paid to specific issues: network access to the documents, different means of collection and transfer of information on government services (for example, sites and e-kiosks), Geographical Information Systems (GIS), etc.

This is due to the lack of a comprehensive science-based approach to building an electronic system of territorial administration, common standards of its operation, aimed at raising the quality of life, increasing the competitiveness of the territory and other strategic targets. Frequently, the term “e-government” is used to call the individual sites which don’t provide opportunities for citizens and businesses of any transaction with the state (receiving state services).

Substitution of concepts is used massively. Concept developed by officials essentially involves the creation of "electronic reference" (rather than e-government), devoid of automation functions of territory management, based on advanced information technologies.

To understand the difference let us turn to the definition: e-government - the system of governance based on the automation of the entire set of management processes across the country which serves the purpose of significantly improving the efficiency of public administration and reducing costs of social communications for every member of society [29].

This approach can not provide neither automation of entire set of management processes, nor significant increase in the efficiency of public administration. Another important problem of the construction of e-government is re-engineering of government based on the full use of fundamentally new possibilities offered by modern information technology. Borrowed from the Soviet period of development of the state or spontaneously formed in the 90s business processes and organizational structures of government are not effective in the information society being built in Russia.

Experience in solving this problem can be borrowed from the sphere of corporate automation based on ERP-technology. Forming a unified logic of business processes of government, their optimization in order to increase the public efficiency and making this process as transparent as possible - one of the key tasks of building e-government.

Besides, for the construction of e-government problems typical for the initial phase of corporate automation need to be solved. For example, a "patchwork automation", when some part of functions (business processes) is automated by using a wide range of often incompatible systems that operate separately. A significant number of such systems are developed at the regional level itself, which often leads to unnecessarily high costs for development and support, the absence of the possibility of scaling, integration and adaptation. For example, regional governments are developing their own electronic procurement of goods, works and services for state needs; local system of issuing certificates via the Internet on the composition of family.

The above problems are the cause of the existence of a huge number of disparate systems and services. Leading in most regions of the Russian Federation developing own electronic passports is a typical example (smart cards with certificates of digital signature or biometric identification information, storing passport data, hospital cards, medical insurance policy, diplomas and certificates of education, driver's license and documents of state registration of real estate, banking and billing information, etc.). Obviously incompatible solutions that don’t agree with the science-based concept of building e-government, not focused on the implementation of all its functions, may lead to a repetition of the history of building the tower of Babel.

It is the lack of evidence-based concept that led to the migration of the principle of "patchwork automation" from last century’s information management to e-government constructing in Russia. Information necessary for the provision of public services is taken from disparate departmental databases, used and discarded after. Justification of this approach looks like this: "stolen" databases of many public services (for example, traffic police, passport offices) are sold almost openly, if all available information from the state would be united under a single information system and, accordingly, the databases, its theft could lead to an even greater violation of the integrity of information about the private lives of citizens.

That means that the government intends to deliberately keep the "chaos" in its information system, because it doesn’t trust its employees and suspects that they want to steal and sell personal information of citizens. According to statistics, the majority of serious domestic crimes are committed using a regular table knife, but no state "guessed" to forbid its use. Moreover, if all the processes of governance have been built on an a priori belief that public officials would violate the law, most of the existing rules would cease to operate.

Obviously, this approach is an attempt to move in the opposite direction of scientific and technological progress. Organizing the protection of information about the private lives of citizens using modern means of limiting the rights of access would be much more reliable being more localized. In this case, no one will have direct access to all information about this territory. Officials will receive only the portion of the information that they need to perform a particular transaction, according to the principle of "challenge-response". Accordingly, all references to the database will be authenticated using digital signatures and recorded. This will provide much greater data protection than at present, when programmers from disparate agencies have direct access to their databases.

To summarize briefly analysis of building e-government, it should be noted that there are two main reasons for the failure of projects in the field of automation:

• unclear formulation of goals of the project (the goals of the main performers of the project don’t meet these goals) and the characteristics of an information system that it should receive as a result of automation;
• attempt to implement obviously difficult projects that require more than a current amount of resources.

The project of constructing e-government is the most complicated IT-project in Russia and no one has a clear understanding of what we get in the end. While with a certain degree of confidence we can formulate the objectives pursued by the main participants of the process.

Representatives of the IT-business tend to learn state funding issuing already established private IT-solutions for e-government. The regional leaders are trying to show their «advancement» to the federal government and are already report vying with each other on the successful implementation of e-government projects in their regions. The sequence of actions of the federal authorities is described by the principle of Napoleon: "The main thing is to get involved in a fight" - the regions are invited to implement their own e-government projects, in the future it is supposed to choose the best and take it as a basis.

Realism of such an approach is questionable: in the regions the key problems of building e-government will not be solved, for example, re-engineering of government processes which is closely associated with the change of the law; full development of infrastructure for electronic signature, etc. Regional leaders will achieve their goals and build a lot of "Potemkin villages" of regional e-government. There will be nothing to choose from.

Let’s try to move from the critical conclusions to developing a constructive position. We will begin with an analysis of existing scientific research in this area. D. Bell, M. Castells, M. Poster, Y. Masuda, A. Touraine, T. Stoyner, F. Webster, P. Drucker, A. Giddens, J. Habermas, F. Fukuyama, A. Toffler and others scientists in their works laid the foundations of the theory of information society. The basis of the theory of e-government was laid in the works of authors such as K. Andersen, A. Anttiroiko, T. Becker, C. Bellamy, C. Bretshnaider, S. Bhatnagar, J. Gant, J. D. Garson, K. Geyselhart, A . Grenlund, J. van Dijk, H. Dryukov, G. Kurteyn, K. Lenk, B. Loader, M. Malki, J. Moon, J. Nye, A. Nilsson, M. Pavlic, J. Pushel, A. Ranerup, R. Savolainen, K. Slaton, J. Snell, J. Tan, J. Taylor, R. Traunmyuller, J. Founteyn, K.L. Hacker, R. Hicks, P. Himmanen, B. Haigh, D. Holmes, K. Schedler, M. Eifert, J. Yang and others.

Publications on problems of e-government are only beginning to emerge in Russia. The most interesting among them are the works of such authors as V. Drozhzhinov, J.E. Khokhlov, S.B. Shaposhnikov, L.V. Smorgunov, A.A. Strik, A. Giglavy, A.V. Danilin, I.S. Melyuhin, D.V. Ivanov, A.E. Shadrin, O.N. Vershinskaya, E.L. Vartanova, N.V. Tkachev, M.E. Vasilyev, V. Vasilenko, V.A. Vasilenko, I.R. Agamirzyan, E.Z. Zinder.

However, as shown by analysis of the data works, none of the studies gives a comprehensive solution of the formulation and implementation of e-government concept. Most authors apply an empirical approach to describe and solve the problem. This approach is characterized by general arguments on the principles and the lack of mathematical modeling, economic calculation, software engineering and system of universal conclusions.

In the framework of applied research is usually considered a specific situation with the automation of the process of realization of one of the state functions, without making generalizations, without using tools or fragmentarily using disparate tools in different stages of implementation of the interaction between state and society.

It should be noted that the existing tools used at different stages of formation and implementation of e-government concept need to be combined in an integrated instrumental system, choosing the most appropriate decisions, and adding them with missing links. This integrated instrumental system should automate all stages of interaction between society and state completely implementing the concept of electronic government.

The following technology components, new to this sector, must become the basis of effective design of e-government:
• Decision Support System (DSS) for Territorial Administration, which uses geographic information technologies (GIS) and technologies of balanced scorecard;
• a system of complex management of government's relationship with citizens and businesses through the application of GIS technology, organizational and economic methods and models for the concept of CRM;
• technologies of internet marketing, modeling and optimization of business processes, construction and use of electronic payment systems, etc.

The only impediment to the creation of this system is the lack of theoretical principles for constructing e-government based on principles and methods of economics, management, computer science; lack of algorithms to relevant tools and practical recommendations on the establishment and effective operation of regional e-government.

To achieve this goal it is necessary to solve a number of interrelated problems:
• To develop science-based principles of using modern applied information technologies (decision support systems (DSS), systems of balanced scorecard (BSC), GIS, customer-oriented systems (CRM), systems of modeling business processes (BPM), business intelligence systems (BI), etc.) to implement the e-government concept;
• to adapt traditional algorithm of implementing a balanced scorecard of business to build e-government, which will provide training and aggregation of information from GIS and giving it to different levels of decision making in DSS of territorial management. In addition, this algorithm will allow monitoring of economic, socio-demographic, urban, natural ecological situation in the country in real time;
• to establish a methodological basis of reengineering government processes on the principles of e-government (using the technology modeling and optimization of business processes) to achieve the goal of minimizing the costs of social communications and improving citizen satisfaction of the state;
• to improve methods and models of management of relationship between state agencies and citizens and businesses through the use of geographic information technologies and client-oriented technologies CRM and to develop an algorithm of integrated management of these relationships in order to improve public satisfaction of public services;
• to develop theoretical and methodological foundations of Internet marketing of public services, maximally prepared for the practical application and designed to ensure broad public acceptance and use of information technology;
• to form the theoretical bases of construction and exploitation of decision support systems for managing e-government, aimed at improving the quality of life and competitiveness of the managed area.

In order to implement the last point there is a position taken as an axiom that the construction of e-government must begin with the "head" - the system calculating and preparing the state decisions. It should be noted that the algorithms of such a system doesn’t currently exist. As the next technological level of e-government will appear technologies of:
• relationship management with citizens (based on CRM technology – in this case, instead of customers will be citizens, instead of commercial goods and services will be government services), built on the principle of "single window" and event-principle. In order to provide personalized services, taking into account individual circumstances and needs of people, all of these services and information should be organized not in terms of state structure, by departments and agencies, but from the viewpoint of citizens, in accordance with any events in human life. These life events or "episodes" may include birth, marriage, death of relatives, change of residence, admission to educational institutions, running own business, etc.;
• e-tax and other reporting and payment of taxes, fines and fees - reporting may not be available quarterly but automatically in real time. Similarly tax payments can be passed, this entails revolutionary changes in taxation (which must also be theoretically prepared);
• electronic procurement of goods, works and services for state needs – improving efficiency and transparency of the processes of public expenditure and state property management (reducing the cost of procurement and tendering, reducing inventory, the transition to a delivery system "just in time", etc.);
• knowledge management – expert systems based on artificial intelligence and Internet technology can improve the quality of administrative work and reduce the time of its execution, automate the processing of accumulated information;
• electronic security systems in the territory based on geographic information systems, etc.
The results of the implementation of science-based approach for building e-government will impact on the formation of information society in a much greater extent than the results of currently accepted declarative approach. Prospects for the introduction and the main practical results of this work can be described with sufficient details:
• Disparate information systems of governance will be not unified, and replaced by single integrated system (providing information transparency from top to bottom). For example, there are works in many regions of Russia to establish geographic information systems of the region. An example of such a system of one of the regions - three disparate software and hardware systems. Jig-bound layers of financial-economic, socio-demographic, urban, natural-ecological and other information are scattered among these disparate systems. Some of the information is outdated and there are no effective mechanisms to maintain its relevance. There is an employee who understands all three GIS and for creating impressive slide presentations he manually combines information from different GIS. Obviously the creation of such systems across the country will not improve information transparency and provide the information base for making reasonable management decisions. There has to be the only one GIS, and information systems of public institutions in each region should bring information related to their activity in real time. All business processes of government employees should be reflected as changes in these or other indicators in the uniform system;
• Re-engineering of business processes of governance based on principles of e-government will be implemented. To operate unified decision support system should be used clearly constructed and formalized logic of the actions of state officials. Only then it can be automate and equipped with algorithms. For example, currently the executive authorities in the regions differ in both their structure and the allocation of functions. It is obvious that the structure as well as the order of distribution of responsibilities and algorithms for implementation of the state functions should be unified. Critics of the position of the algorithmic state officials say that in politics often have to be made decisions that are impossible to substantiate by the achievement of strategic objectives in the proposed system of balanced governance indicators. For example, a politician can make decisions which will result decline in living standards of the population of the territory instead of its growth. But this argument can not be accepted – it means that the MTP official pointed not all of the strategic objectives. Perhaps there are not formalized personal goals  of the politician or affiliated with him structures and not indicated that these targets have a higher priority than the target of growth of living standards.
Historically, the emergence of the Internet is connected with the construction of a network that originally served the needs of the state customers. Striving for a purely technological problem of increasing reliability, the creators of the Network laid the foundation for such a mechanism of information exchange, which allows for the current level of computer and telecommunications technologies to implement more effectively many of the basic functions of the state.

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