eGovernment use of technology has grown over the years from using totally internal systems open only to government workers to today’s internet based systems that allow citizens to interact with their government. Government services today allow citizens to pay local utility bills online, pay taxes, and seek out government services to assist with building a business to getting a road repaired. Citizens can even read the minutes of the last board meeting and download a copy if they wish. Much of this interaction between government and its constituents can be done 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year (Joseph, 2015).
But there will be a mix of ePortal style government sites in use for the foreseeable future. Much of this is due to the cost of creating and maintaining these web properties. Most local governments are ill-positioned to spend the tax dollars. Nor do they have the qualified personnel to manage the current system or to change to an internet based system. And, a basic mistrust on the part of local governments in using an internet based system; mostly with the security of such a system and their ability to control it. This post will explore various aspects of eGovernment and m-Commerce.
eGovernment Portal or Social Networking
The advantages of changing eGovernment from an ePortal system to a social networking system are in improving the efficiency over of the current system of paper-based work. It reduces the need for manpower needed in dealing with the bulk of paper-based work. Thus, it allows for involvement of the process by fewer employees, quicker service, and, therefore, leading to reduced operations cost (Tolley & Mundy, 2009). Other benefits include an increased participation by citizens in the activities of the government due to more information being literally at your fingertips. There is greater transparency in how the government operates and less chance for corruption to occur (Andersen, 2009).
Will government switch from an ePortal, or even paper based, system to a social networking system? The answer is an unequivocal yes. The reasons are that the technology will force the change. Society will force the change. Other levels of government will force the change. Changes in support for equipment, as well as the expense of maintaining the equipment, will cause local governments to switch to cloud-based applications. Constituents will make demands for information or assistance that requires easy access 24 hours a day.
Internal initiatives provide tools that make government operations efficient and effective. Such applications as e-Payroll can consolidate dozens of different payroll systems into one easily managed system where employees can input their time worked, and the system automatically deposits their paycheck into their bank account. Other initiatives include records keeping, training of personnel, litigation case management, procurement management, personnel management and equipment management (Turban, 2012). All of these different apps run on an enterprise system very similar to what is used in many corporations today. All of these systems run across the enterprise on the internet successfully and securely.
The Role of Wikis and Blogs
Wikis and blogs serve the system by allowing groups and departments to collaborate on solving issues and problems. Many of these problems are cross-functional, and wikis allow the participants to be able to share information quickly and at less cost than having to make numerous copies for everyone. Wiki’s allow everyone to access all documents needed to hold a meeting. Wikis and blogs are valuable tools for sharing information and making decisions in government.
Strategic Advantage of m-Commerce
The strategic advantage of m-Commerce includes increasing the geographic area in which even a small company can sell a product. Many companies that make it big on the internet wouldn’t have done so if the internet didn’t exist because it would force them to sell in a smaller geographic location. These companies may be selling a specialized service or product which locally there isn’t much interest, but worldwide there is a huge market. The strategic advantage these companies have is the ability to reach those customers using m-Commerce that they would otherwise have to employ other methods such as advertising in national publications or on television; both very expensive alternatives. m-Commerce is growing by leaps and bounds every year. Two years ago sales for smartphones was greater than sales for laptops. Forecasts have sales for Ipads and tablets overtaking laptop sales by 2016 (Blodget, 2013).
m-Commerce provides true personalization because it provides the means to access personal information immediately from the palm of your hand. Medical Insurance companies such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Medical providers such as Advocate Health Care, provide mobile apps that provide immediate access to patient information. Patients become more involved with their care, and the portals provide information, such as what medicines they take and in what doses, upon request.
Conducting m-Commerce on Social Networks
The benefits of conducting m-Commerce on social network include increased sales because of being able to order from anywhere at any time. The ability for location-based sales benefit local business people, whose wares sell only in the local area; an example is a local restaurant that caters to the local community. M-Commerce provides a local channel for coupons providing a wider reach. It provides for improved customer satisfaction due to real-time apps providing direct information which helps increase sales. Reduces costs such as training and help-desk support staff. It improves the productivity of mobile employees such as service technicians repairing in-home appliances. iPads and tablets have been programmed to provide technicians with the tools in which to test or look up parts information; being able to place an order for parts saves time and money for both customer and supplier. Entertainment comes right to the user’s smartphone allowing them to watch a movie or television show any time of the day or night. Pizza can be ordered from your smartphone while on the way home from work, paid for using a credit card, and be on your table 20 minutes later. M-Commerce comes to users over a nationwide private communications network that the users do not have to maintain, yet regulated by the government for the good of all.
It stands to reason that what New Zealand is doing has helped to make their government run more efficiently because they’re sharing information across departments by using the various wikis and blog tools available. Internet technologies allowed them to share that information with the general public thus affording them valuable feedback that otherwise would have been cumbersome to gather. Many governments here in the US could certainly learn how to improve their m-Commerce sites by studying what New Zealand is doing today.
Andersen, K. V., & Henriksen, H. Z. (2006). E-government maturity models:
Extension of the Layne and Lee model. Government Information Quarterly, 23(2),
Blodget, H. (2013, December 11). Number of Smartphones, Tablets, and PCs –
Business Insider. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/number-of–
Joseph, S. (2015, September 1). Advantages and disadvantages of E- government
implementation: Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net
Tolley, A., & Mundy, D. (2009). Towards workable privacy for UK e-government on the
web. IJEG, 2(1), 74. doi:10.1504/ijeg.2009.024965
Turban, E. (2012). Electronic commerce 2012: A managerial and social networks
perspective. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.