What is e-government?[edit | edit source]
Definitions of e-government range from “the use of information technology to free movement of information to overcome the physical bounds of traditional paper and physical based systems”  to “the use of technology to enhance the access to and delivery of government services to benefit citizens, business partners and employees.”  The common theme behind these definitions is that e-government involves the automation or computerization of existing paper-based procedures that will prompt new styles of leadership, new ways of debating and deciding strategies, new ways of transacting business, new ways of listening to citizens and communities, and new ways of organizing and delivering information. 
Ultimately, e-government aims to enhance access to and delivery of government services to benefit citizens. More important, it aims to help strengthen government’s drive toward effective governance and increased transparency to better manage a country’s social and economic resources for development. 
The key to e-government is the establishment of a long-term, organization-wide strategy to constantly improve operations with the end in view of fulfilling citizen needs by transforming internal operations such as staffing, technology, processes and work flow management.
Thus, e-government should result in the efficient and swift delivery of goods and services to citizens, businesses, government employees and agencies. To citizens and businesses, e-government would mean the simplification of procedures and streamlining of the approval process. To government employees and agencies, it would mean the facilitation of cross-agency coordination and collaboration to ensure appropriate and timely decision-making.
What are the types of e-government transactions?[edit | edit source]
e-Government services focus on four main customers: citizens, the business community, government employees, and government agencies. e-Government aims to make interaction with citizens, businesses, government employees, government agencies and other governments more convenient, friendly, transparent, inexpensive and effective.
In an e-government system, individuals are able to initiate a request for a particular government service and then receive that government service through the Internet or some computerized mechanism. In some cases, the government service is delivered through one government office, instead of many. In other cases, a government transaction is completed without direct in-person contact with a government employee.
What are the specific types of services delivered through e-government?[edit | edit source]
The four types of e-government services are Government-to-Citizen (G2C), Government-to-Business (G2B), Government-to-Employee (G2E), and Government-to-Government (G2G).
G2C includes information dissemination to the public, basic citizen services such as license renewals, ordering of birth/death/marriage certificates and filing of income taxes, as well as citizen assistance for such basic services as education, health care, hospital information, libraries, and the like.
- Box 1. Singapore's e-citizen Portal  : A Case Study in G2C Transactions
G2B transactions include various services exchanged between government and the business community, including dissemination of policies, memos, rules and regulations. Business services offered include obtaining current business information, downloading application forms, renewing licenses, registering businesses, obtaining permits, and payment of taxes. The services offered through G2B transactions also assist in business development, specifically the development of small and medium enterprises. Simplifying application procedures that would facilitate the approval process for SME requests would encourage business development.
On a higher level, G2B services include e-procurement, an online government-supplier exchange for the purchase of goods and services by government. Typically, e-procurement Web sites allow qualified and registered users to look for buyers or sellers of goods and services. Depending on the approach, buyers or sellers may specify prices or invite bids. e-Procurement makes the bidding process transparent and enables smaller businesses to bid for big government procurement projects. The system also helps government generate bigger savings, as costs from middlemen are shaved off and purchasing agents’ overhead is reduced.
- Box 2. China's Golden Customs: A Case Study in G2B Transactions
G2E services encompass G2C services as well as specialized services that cover only government employees, such as the provision of human resource training and development that improve the bureaucracy’s day-to-day functions and dealings with citizens.
- Box 3. Mississippi, USA’s Payroll Information Self-Service: A Case Study in G2E Transactions
G2G services take place at two levels: at the local or domestic level and at the international level. G2G services are transactions between the central/national and local governments, and between department-level and attached agencies and bureaus. At the same time, G2G services are transactions between governments, and can be used as an instrument of international relations and diplomacy.
- Box 4. Global Cooperation on Transnational Crime: A Case Study in G2G Transactions
Is the Internet the only medium for accomplishing e-government?[edit | edit source]
The Internet is indeed the most powerful means for delivering e-government. However, it is not the only, or the most appropriate, means. Developing countries in particular need to take some constraints—from the infrastructural to the financial— into account when considering the best strategy for adopting e-government. Existing electronic service delivery channels must be put to use to provide the broadest access possible.
- Box 5. Using Appropriate Technologies in E-Governance: A Philippine Case Study” 
According to Dr. Richard Heeks, Director of the Institute for Development Policy and Management at the University of Manchester, developing countries aiming to use ICTs for good governance should opt for “intelligent intermediaries” in the early phases of e-government. “Intelligent intermediaries” are e-government models that incorporate human beings as intermediaries between citizens and the information infrastructure in order to provide the public with the widest possible points of access to government services. Realistic e-government projects will use such intermediaries at the onset, given limitations in the physical infrastructure of developing countries and the lack of access points for the general public to acquire government services. These intermediaries may come in the form of existing professionals (e.g., accountants for online tax systems, notaries for online registration systems), public servants (e.g., call centers or one-stop shop government offices), and NGOs or community-based organizations (e.g., staffed community telecenters) bringing together a combination of these various ICT channels to effectively deliver e-government.” 
- Box 6. Intelligent Intermediaries in Sri Lanka”