Malaysia's e-Government programme aims at reinventing how the Government works as well as improving the quality of interactions with citizens and businesses through improved connectivity, better access to information and services, high quality services and better processes and systems. Of the six e-Government pilot projects being implemented, four of them have gone ‘live' at their respective pilot agencies. These include the Project Monitoring System (PMS), e-Procurement, Generic Office Environment (GOE) and the services projects. The Human Resource Management Information System (HRMIS) and the Electronic Labour Exchange System or ELX are currently under development and will be rolled out in the near future.
The implementation of e-Government has taken a holistic approach encompassing elements such as applications, networks, security, process reengineering, operations and support, change management, and skills and knowledge. In moving forward into the future, four guiding principles have been identified namely: collaboration between the public and private sectors, sharing of data and information, customer satisfaction and information and data security.
There are currently 6 pilot applications, multiple websites and on multiple platforms. In the future, more and more services will be included in the Government e-Services portal and there will be greater sharing of data and information through the adoption of concepts such as single point of data entry, data integration and single sign on. An issue faced is whether the Government should standardize on the use of a single platform or product for the whole of Government or whether to allow the current use and adoption of heterogeneous platforms/products as long as they can inter-operate with each other. Another issue concerns the implementation of the second wave of e-Government applications which should have started two years ago but have been delayed due to delays in the implementation of the first wave of applications. While the e-Government programme is being implemented, Government computerization continues in other agencies.
A service provider has been appointed to provide wide area connectivity to all agencies implementing e-Government via an intranet called the E-Governance*Net. The issue facing the Government is that many agencies have already implemented their own networks using the services of other providers. Migration of agencies to the new Federal Government Administrative Centre in Putrajaya has compounded the complexity of the communications issue as these agencies require connectivity to other agencies within Putrajaya and to the outside world. There will therefore be gradual migration of agencies to the E-Governance*Net, a more cost effective implementation approach to developing application systems which are more ‘bandwidth' friendly, and the use of new communication and network technologies.
Regarding the issue of security, Government has established an IT Security Policy as well as adoption of smartcards and the public key infrastructure. In the future, more awareness, enforcement and standardization activities will be carried out.
In the reengineering of processes, current e-Government applications have implemented automation and streamlining of current processes which may result in new roles and responsibilities for certain personnel. In the future, applications will be built with more customer focus, departing from function-based type of processes. This will entail the elimination of boundaries, restructuring of organizations, establishment and adoption of common procedures with continuous improvement embedded.
As ministries and agencies move to Putrajaya and as more and more agencies implement e-Government applications, there is invariably an increasing need to share resources. The Government is in the process of establishing a Shared Services Outfit or SSO which provides centralized facilities such as Help Desk, Command and Data Centre, Networks and Enterprise Systems Management. The major challenge lies in getting buy-in from agencies willing to share resources as well as in utilizing the services that will be offered by the SSO. The future points to greater IT coordination and support with upgrade policies, service contracts or service level agreements (SLAs) with service providers, and maintenance procedures.
One of the biggest perceived challenges faced in implementing e-Government is the ‘people' problem – that is, in getting their buy-in, support and commitment. As such, implementation of each of the e-Government application is inevitably linked to a cohesive change management programme involving its three main tenets namely transition management, communication management and benefits realization. The future success of e-Government lies in the ability to sustain change where success is measured and a change in mindset/culture has occurred.
Finally in the area of skills and knowledge, Government has established dedicated project teams to implement the various applications with the consortia appointed. However, it has been found that transfer of technology from the consortia to the Government team members has not happened as desired. This situation is at times attributed to the non-availability of the technology recipients, and the fact that the consortia may be too focused on getting their applications finished on time.
Malta is a small island state with a population of 400,000 people. In 1987 the Government embarked on a large-scale modernization programme which among other things focused on putting the Island on the world-map of information technology. The change programme within the public sector was spearheaded by a new agency acting as a change agent and an IT enabler and the first Information Systems Strategic Plan was published. Much has been done and still more is planned to be done. All ministries and government departments are connected to the Malta Government Network, known as MAGNET for short, and a large proportion of public officers have their own e-mail address and Internet access. Government also has its own official website and plans are in hand to transform this website into a portal with the capacity to support e-Government initiatives.