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Smarter Government

From the local town council to
international collaborations, new
ways of working are underway

"Citizen-centric"—the evolution to e-government continues

Just as private enterprises have rediscovered their mission and business model by returning to a focus on customers, governments around the world are finding success in reorienting their structures, information technology and policies around the citizens they serve.

This can range from "one-stop shopping" for previously discrete sets of services to information sharing and collaboration across regions and borders for the benefit of both citizens and government.

Six drivers of governmental change on a smart planet: Changing demographics; Accelerating globalization; Rising enviromental concerns; Evolving societal relationships; Growing threats to stability and order; Expanding impact of technology.

At the country level, for example in the United Kingdom and Singapore, governments are educating citizens about multiple ways to obtain services and encouraging them to use the most convenient and efficient channels. At the other end of the spectrum, across an entire continent, Europe has many examples of information shared across departments and programs to deliver service and benefits to citizens. To undergird this partnership, all European Union member states are required to have national legislation in line with the EU's directive on data protection. In short, governments at all levels—local, state, national, transnational—are becoming e-governments.

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An inside look at military coalitions in Iraq, Afghanistan and other regions: What makes them work?

Few formal studies have focused on how we can make our coalitions work more effectively, so IBM Global Business Services set out to collect a strong dataset. This year, we conducted more than 100 interviews with individuals who were in combat, stabilization and disaster relief operations from 1994 to 2009 in Iraq, Afghanistan and other regions. We wanted their opinions about how effective their coalitions were and any practical suggestions they might have for improvement.

Here are some key findings:

  • Coalitions function better over short, high intensity missions
  • The real leaders in collaboration are Canada and Great Britain—not the United States
  • Afghanistan is seen as a more successful example of coalition than Iraq

Listen to the podcast: Bridging the collaboration gap


Russia's productivity imperative
By 2020, Russia has set a goal to more than double its productivity growth and drive technological innovation.

Improved security and revenue through world trade

Just as data has begun to move more fluidly between the parts of government, and between a government and its citizens, smarter governments are participating in new kinds of collaboration and partnership up and down the different strata of government, and even across borders and around the world.

According to the Work Bank, successful e-government projects in developing countries spend about 10% of their budget on training and capacity building.

A few examples

  • Canada and the United States are working to align security standards in international trade partnership programs critical to both countries. The goal is to link the various international industry partnership programs to create a unified and sustainable security standard that can assist in securing and facilitating global cargo trade.
  • The Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) monitors movements of alcoholic beverages, tobacco products and energy products (and other excise goods) between EU member states under duty suspension. The system replaces paper documentation that previously accompanied these movements. Member states are developing their own national EMCS applications, and these systems(PDF, 576KB) will be linked to all other member states through a common domain, maintained by the European Commission.


Unique solutions from collaborative platforms

In the past, unique technology would often be budgeted and created anew to replicate what might be a common service for many different departments of government, or even offices within departments. Today, common platforms and open standards are the basis for many of the unique iterations of smarter government already in evidence. Sometimes that's as simple as using social computing applications like Twitter to report the daily cash flow for the state of Rhode Island. Or it could be as complex as creating a virtual world (US) for the training of a nation's intelligence agents.