For years, academic studies around the world have been conducted to determine the economic return of government investments in information and communication technology (ICT). Research works from the Center for Technology in Government at SUNY, the Bedrosian Center on Governance at USC, the Dubai School of Government, INSEAD, the World Economic Forum, and countless other institutions are proof of this interest.
Yet, despite a body of evidence suggesting that government investment in ICT has a measurable link to the prosperity and competitiveness of nations (including informal research of our own), today deciding whether to invest in ICT—and where—remains a difficult choice for many governments. This is particularly true for investments in government systems that support citizen services and government accountability.
The reason for this is that developing and implementing these management systems may not produce immediate results, and the return on these investments often occurs over a long period of time. Moreover, it is not always possible to adequately measure the direct results of investments made. As a result, often much-needed IT investments in systems supporting citizen services and accountability are postponed, receive low priority, or they are simply removed from the public agenda. However, where this is the case, nations are missing out on potentially huge benefits to their economies, as well far-reaching societal benefits—a factor that is uniquely important to public sector organizations.
This is the focus of our new white paper, “The Economic Impact of Interoperability,” which has just been made available on our website. The paper illustrates the return (both from an economic and societal perspective) that can be realized by investing in government IT systems supporting citizen services and accountability—through an approach that emphasizes customer service, interoperability and connected government frameworks, and focuses on consolidating processes.
Analyzing the return of government investments in IT has components much more complex than those normally considered in a simple economic evaluation. And, for investments related to citizen services and accountability, it is especially important to measure impact against broader economic and social values—not just the accounting data. It is necessary to understand things such as how much the society has saved as a whole through successful initiatives, factoring in things such as: reduced commutes, hours spent waiting in lines, taxes and fees paid, etc. Collectively, this represents a much larger—and arguably more important—return.
For more on this topic, be sure to check out our new white paper.
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