What is E-Government?

What is E-Government?

The organization of American States provides this definition: "Electronic government (or e-Government) is the application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to government functions and procedures with the purpose of increasing efficiency, transparency and citizen participation.(1)" In everyday language, this means moving paper processes to digital (or electronic) services. Where government services were once handled in person, and by paper, E-Government services include things like applying for a business license online, submitting a digital permit application, or entering an online code complaint form. The term e-Government may eventually be replaced by the term GovTech for more on this - read What is GovTech and Why Governments Need It.

What are the Benefits of E-Government

• Better online user experiences for citizens - when governments move their paper processes online, citizens can access information, submit forms, and receive approvals and necessary certificates online in a seamless digital process.
• Increase public participation - information made available online is accessible to a wider audience.
• Improved internal efficiency and productivity - digital forms can't be lost, electronic workflows queue up tasks for reviewers, and digital reports and metrics provide oversight to staff and management, improving efficiency and productivity across the board.
• Better collaboration among departments - increased workload visibility enables collaboration between departments.\
• Reduced burden on IT - when implemented with cloud based software as service providers like Citizenserve to software and servers are managed by the SAAS, reducing the burden on municipal IT departments.
• Reduced labor costs - more efficient staff lead to reduced labor costs.
• More innovation - moving paper processes online introduces new digital tools, such as e-signatures. Existing processes can be enhanced and simplified with these new tools.

What Are the Disadvantages of E-Government

• A challenge for communities without public internet access
• Only as 'good' as the people who implement the system
• Requires government employee buy in and adoption

Examples of E-Government in Action

For the past 20 years, citizenserve has successfully processed over one billion e-government transactions on behalf of the many municipalities we count as valued customers—including no data losses, no security breaches, and 99.999% system uptime. Keep reading to see how citizenserve has helped other municipalities with their E-Government solution.

Somerville, Massachusetts
Before implementing the citizenserve E-Government solution, Somerville, MA, a community of around 75,000 people in a small 4 square mile footprint, accepted paper permits and handled building inspections with index cards. As the city grew, the building department was swamped with more than 600 monthly inspections. Citizenserve was selected to help modernize the Somerville Building and Health Departments.

More than 30 inspectors, reviewers and administrative staff processed and issued around 4000 permits and 1500 licenses annually on paper. Transitioning this diverse workforce from a manual, paper system to an automated one would require staff education—including learning how to use computers, tablets, and what was really an entirely new way of conducting business.

Citizenserve went to work helping digitize the entire process. Permit and license applications were configured for electronic (or online) submission through the citizenseve portal. Kiosks were installed throughout the Inspection Services offices, to allow visiting citizens and contractors to learn how to use the system and to submit their applications online. All paper applications were removed from the front counter, and the city’s website also began accepting electronic applications only.

Since going live with Somerville’s digital revolution, all applications are now submitted electronically, inspection reports are generated electronically, and plan and renewal notices, as well as everything else, is digitized. In 2015 alone, the department issued over 6,800 permits and completed more than 18,000 inspections. These numbers are testament to the power of the portal and a new paperless e-government system.

Urbana, Illinois
The City of Urbana selected citizenserve to implement an online Rental Registration program to handle
• 9,400 rental housing units with inspections of all units over a 5-6 year cycle
• Over 100 tenant and neighborhood complaints
• Annual inspections of 22 certified housing facilities under contract with the University of Illinois
• Annual inspections of 3 mobile home parks
• Bi-Annual Inspections of 21 Hotel/Motel Properties

Citizenserve's software was implemented to process online building permits, code enforcement, and other request tracking like tenant and neighborhood complaints. Moving to an online system allowed their division to quickly and efficiently complete inspections, prepare reports and to track correction of violations. Urbana property owners saw the added benefit of being able to pay fees online 24 hours a day.

St. Charles County, Missouri
The St. Charles County Community Development Department worked with Citizenserve to implement an e-government solution for development and zoning projects, building permits, plan review, code enforcement, and business licensing. They increased their speed of review time and the efficiency of their overall process using citizenserve's e-government software, while still holding true to personal assistance and customer service as a priority for their department.

Read more in our Customer Profiles about how our customers have used citizenserve to offer e-government services. And don't miss this article on Why Government Software Saves Time & Money.

E-Government and Citizenserve

Citizenserve's e-government software offers solutions for permitting software, business licensing software, planning and zoning software, code enforcement software, request tracking software and more.

Scroll down and enter your contact information to request a live demo, or continue to explore our community development software solutions to see how citizenserve can help you today!