Opportunities & Challenges in Managing E – Governance Projects

Sudhir Bahuguna, CEO & MD, Vedang Consultancy Service

There are many great inventions, every one of them important for its time, but the Internet is the greatest invention of our time. The Internet is not only providing an enormous amount of information, but deeply impacting our day to day activities and without Internet life is unimaginable. So after testing benefits of IT in personal uses now citizens are looking for similar on line efficient services from a Government department.
So with increasing demands from citizen for transparent services in administration, the Government do not have any other choice except to improve their delivery process and organization efficiencies by adopting E- Governance tools. All over the Globe, Federal governments are taking big initiatives for E-Governance.
These organizations are also understanding the advantages of E-governance like improved access to services, reduced operational costs, enhanced knowledge management and improving coordination between various government agencies Single window clearance is one of the outcomes of these initiatives.
Later or sooner E – Governance will become a performance barometer of each government in economic, political and administrative functioning.
But where exactly India stand today in terms of adopting E- Governance?
Gartner had estimated $7 Billion IT Projects in India in various Government agencies for year 2016, whereas USA had incurred $ 75 Billion in 2014 alone.
Digital India campaign launched by the Government of India is right step to ensure that Government services are made available to citizens electronically or by making the country digitally empowered in the field of delivery of services digitally.
Government of India is focused & taken the various E – Governance initiatives like Digital Locker, e-education, e-health, e-sign, e-Hospital, National heath portal, National Scholarship Portal, e-Sampark and many more.
DIPP is also encouraging & guiding State government(s) to improve ease of doing business ranking based on the IT enabled services offered to investors.
But if we go to any State Government department specially responsible for various services to the citizen, business or Industry, we can see tremendous opportunities to induct E – Governance tools for transparent, accountable & efficient services on delivery front and efficient in-house working as well.
So opportunities are huge in India i.e. hundreds of billions of dollars but challenges are too many!
Contract Standardization: Most of the government tenders and contracts are one sided in favour of Government resulting high risk project cost. Government should adopt standard & balanced bid conditions to encourage more & more participations from vendors.
Emphasize on Software development: Most of the government departments still insist for a long cycle of software development and resist induction of off the shelf products. In these contracts, the government bears all the risk while vendors gain access to an unlimited source of revenue from taxpayer money.
However, due to lack of accountability, failures of government projects often go unnoticed.
No Project Management Office (PMO): Most of the government organizations, projects are being executed without having a dedicated PMO. So, successes of the project always depend on vendor’s project management skill.
Lack of Ownership: Most of the projects are top down so down the line no one owns the project and waiting to fail so that they keep on working the way they are.
Lack of business incentives: IT projects in the private sector are initiated to take competitive advantage and personal preferences and political considerations play a negligible role in decisions, but this is not the case for government’s IT projects. Political consideration may play a more salient role when planning to start a project
Even project under implementation faces stiff resistance whenever decision maker is transferred and new incumbent start challenging decision taken by his predecessor.
Multiple stakeholders: Due to the complex and inter-connected nature of the government, even small projects have multiple stakeholders across different agencies so bringing them in to same page is always challenge.
Change Management
Even various on-going State Government Projects have not given enough importance to IT. One example, I can quote of State Telangana Water supply project. They are laying more than 1.2 Lacs KM of pipeline to supply drinking water to each any every household. They could have easily gone for Smart Water Grid for reduction & accounting of Water losses but due to old theory of project implementation and contactors- Politician lobby they have backed out without realizing that they are harming not this generation but future generation too.
Since government setup is used to work in a certain manner, so managing changes in process, working and culture is  a big issue to address.
Legacy Hardcopy data: One of the biggest challenges is how to handle legacy data ranging from 50 years old or so. Data is either in very bad shape or not traceable.
Bottom of Form
Fear from transparent process:  Any IT systems bring transparency & accountability into system, eliminates chances of corruption & reduces monopoly. Present working style of government machinery discourages the transparency.
Competency Building:  Most of the state government departments do not have 1:1 ratio of PC, E- mail ID & Employee so unless employees are provided PC’s any IT project bound to fail.
 Lack of awareness among employee & Stake holder’s
Employee & public need to be trained for using the ICT resources and at the same time they should be motivated and educated about the importance of using e-government tools.
Than most important issue in implementing successful e-government is the citizens’ acceptance and usage. The citizens also need to be trained and educated to use the e-portal services available in the various departments.
Streamlining decision-making processes: Multiple layers of decision-making and  lack of accountability is also a hindrance in the implementation of E- Governance projects. No proper authorities are granted at a  lower level for process re-engineering leading to changes in policies etc.
However, if vendor is proactive in addressing the above points jointly with Government agencies, then these challenges can be met & addressed easily.
With a proactive approach, persuasions and team work, Vedang Consultancy is able to overcome such challenges and successfully implementing various E-Governance Projects in record times.

Sudhir Bahuguna

Vedang Consultancy Service Pvt Ltd



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