Government Agencies Need Web Developers

Consulting advice from McKinsey & Company doesn’t usually come cheap. So when its experts offer the government free advice on how to use technology more efficiently, here’s hoping the bureaucrats take notice.

Government Needs Web DevelopersYou may be interested as well. This article in the McKinsey Quarterly notes that:

Despite spending enormous amounts on Web-based initiatives, government agencies often fail to meet users¿ needs online. By employing new governance models, investing in Web capabilities, and embracing user participation, agencies can raise the effectiveness of their online presence.

Are there lessons here for your organization? Should you consider honing your own consulting skills along these lines?

McKinsey says three obstacles have limited the impact or e-government: ineffective governance, lack of Web-related capabilities, and reluctance to allow user participation in the creation of applications and content. One agency found it had more than 100 internal sites on top of dozens of external sites, "as well as multiple tools and platforms to maintain them." What a mess

The firm also notes that most agencies lack the capabilities to develop and improve Web services. Private companies, on the other hand, "employ specialized talent to adapt and optimize their Web sites." Hmm. Maybe there are some career possibilities there.

The bottom line:

To embark on the journey to the next level of e-government, public-sector organizations should begin by estimating the cost and time required to achieve their agreed-upon business goals, taking into account realistic user adoption rates, usage, and impact on other channels (for example, reduction in paper-based forms). Agencies should then ensure that their governance models emphasize line-of-business accountability and develop a plan to address capability gaps, particularly in areas such as Web analytics and usability. Based on a comparison with successful innovators in the public and private sectors, they should also assess their technological and organizational readiness to open data and systems to outside developers and to use participatory Web 2.0 tools. By taking these steps, agencies will begin charting their path to the next horizons of e-government.

–Don Willmott

Comments

One Response to “Government Agencies Need Web Developers”

August 19, 2009 at 10:26 am, Eric Hackathorn said:

It strikes me that before Government can meet users needs online, they need to effectively ask users what they require. This is currently far more difficult than it should be due to the Paperwork Reduction Act which requires all surveys be reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Generic surveys exist that are “pre-approved” by OMB, but they typically read more like form letters and have historically low conversion rates for completion.

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