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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Saturday, November 05, 2005

E-government Best Practices for Sri Lanka

Daily Mirror: 28/11/2005" By Poornima Weerasekara

Oracle South Asia Growth Economies (SAGE) West Regional Director Ms. Samina Rizwan recently highlighted several best practices for champions of e-Government in Sri Lanka.

“Before any project can be successfully implemented government workers must be transformed to knowledge workers,” Ms. Rizwan told the Daily FT.

“It is not possible to deliver excellent government services via the internet or by using new technologies if the people who provide such services are not aware of and competent in the different mechanisms used,” she added.

According to Ms. Rizwan the advantages of this approach are two-fold. Transforming decision makers in government institutions into knowledge workers would create champions of e-government initiatives within these organisations. However, this process is also invaluable to other government servants. It helps to reduce resistance against technology and new systems, by giving them the confidence that their invaluable knowledge services will not be made redundant through automation.

Although there is much hype about e-government initiatives being launched in Sri Lanka, the inadequate infrastructure is seen as a major stumbling block which has denied access to such services for rural masses. However, as Ms. Rizwan points out the second best practice is to “understand your current infrastructure and leveraging on its strengths,” rather than waiting till all the infrastructure was in place. The high level of mobile phone penetration among Sri Lankan masses was highlighted as a positive factor, which could lay the foundations for an ubiquitous government, where services can be obtained anytime, anywhere, by anyone, on any device.

The third best practice was to focus on the different “solutions” rather than the underlying technology. Ms. Rizwan noted that “people who are not tech-savvy are immediately put-off when you talk to them about complex technologies. But if you could simply show them a demonstrative prototype of the end-product, and explain how its going to benefit a certain community, then they would more readily accept technology.”

She hailed the e-Government Centre of Excellence in Sri Lanka, located at the Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration (SLIDA) as a pioneering move to demonstrate the potential benefits of e-government applications to the public.

The fourth best practice highlighted was to “create a partnership with all the stakeholders, as there are both social and political challenges to be overcome for e-government success.” Ms. Rizwan noted that it was imperative to devise a common service delivery framework with the consensus of all stakeholders to take any e-government project forward.

Oracle Corporation is an established world leader in delivering e-Government solutions. It has extensive experience gained from over 2000 successful Oracle-based e-Government projects across the world.

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