Web 2.0 in Public Services

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3 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 4 χρόνια και 6 μέρες)

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Web 2.0 in Public Services


Public service organizations around the world are jumping on the web 2.0
bandwagon. They are engaging citizens through social media, blogging, social
networking; developing ever more sophisticated

government web 2.0 sites; inves
ting in
“Enterprise 2.0” platforms and even encouraging the public to create mashups and apps
using government data.


The challenge for public servants is to look past the hype to
understand the real benefits of web 2.0 and the actions required to maximize

these
benefits for their organizations and for citizens.

What is web 2.0? Since the term was first popularized in 2004, there has been
little agreement about what “web 2.0” actually is: an “open” approach to web
development, data and content; a fundamenta
l shift to “web as platform” or a set of tools
that enable users to access and generate online content in new ways. In fact, web 2.0 is
all of these things.

Web 2.0 has three key components. They are web services, internet application
and social media. We
b services are applications that expose their functionality to other
applications over the web enabling users to generate mashups, apps and widgets. Internet
applications are web
-
based applications accessed through a browser that have similar
functionality

to desktop applications. Social media on the other hand, are sites that enable
users to generate, edit and share content and connect with each other (social networking).
Popular social media sites include YouTube, Facebook, Wikipedia and Twitter and
bookm
arking sites like Digg and StumbleUpon.


Given the excitement and pace associated with government’s increasing use of
web 2.0, it can be difficult for public servants to identify the full range of benefits of
these technologies. Too often public service or
ganizations fail to develop compelling
business cases and coherent “gov 2.0 strategies” before investing in web 2.0
technologies.

Web 2.0 can benefit public service organizations in a variety of ways. Firstly, it
helps to improved efficiency. Through ente
rprise 2.0 like internal blogs, wikis,
Collaborative Planning Applications, social networking platforms and mashups, can
help organizations to increase productivity by sharing best practices across the
enterprise and dramatically reduce the cost of collabo
ration. The Government of
Canada’s GCPedia, for example, uses Enterprise wikis to connect employees and enable
them to share learning. Moreover, by replacing traditional desktop strategies with
software
-
as
-
a
-
service models and cloud
-
based desktop strategie
s, public service
organizations can also reduce the cost of IT and the risks associated with implementing
enterprise applications.

Secondly, more effective public services can be produced. Web 2.0 enables
government to solicit real
-
time customer feedback
and develop enhanced customer
insight, helping government deliver more responsive and personalized public services.
For example, in Singapore, REACH, a citizen engagement agency, uses a range of
social media to solicit citizen feedback on a range of servic
es and issues. Furthermore,
enterprise 2.0 enables organizations to drive collaboration around cross
-
cutting
outcomes in service planning and delivery, which can help government deliver public
services that are focused on improving outcomes and not simply
on service transactions.

In addition, more accessible public services can be provided. Web 2.0 enables
organizations to provide citizens with information about accessing public services as
never before; not only through government sites but also through u
ser
-
generated
mashups and apps, social media and personalized feeds like those provided by the
District of Columbia’s Digital Public Square Web 2.0 could also enable citizens to
report problems to and request service from government more easily through soc
ial
networking sites, widgets on non
-
government sites and mobile apps. Fixmystreet.co.uk
and communityfix.co.uk are both nongovernmental web 2.0 sites that enable citizens to
report problems to government more easily than ever before. One example of how We
b
2.0 applications can provide services or serve as a stopgap until experts are available
is

NHS. Direct, where a Web 2.0 application acts as an interactive online health service.
It provides citizens with some assurance about a particular health condition

or alerts
them to the urgency of finding care.

Besides that, there could be greater citizen participation. Through popular social
networking sites and by developing their own web 2.0 e
-
participation tools public
service organizations can engage citizens
in a more productive discourse about what
they expect from public services, how public services could be improved and what they
as individuals can do to improve their own or their communities’ quality of life. For
example, local authorities across the UK a
re using online budget simulators to engage
and educate the public and develop a better understanding of citizens’ public spending
priorities.


Barnet Council, for example, offer a citizen portal with an application,
designed to help citizens understand th
e tradeoffs necessary to budget for and administer
public services.


Furthermore, it helps to improve transparency and accountability. Public service
organizations can increase transparency and become more accountable to their
constituents by developing p
latforms, like the NHS Choices website, that enable citizens
to rate and comment on the quality of services; opening up government data banks to
the public; and developing web
-
based tools, like recovery.gov and the IT Dashboard in
the US, to report on spen
ding and results.

Web 2.0 will have a profound impact on public service organizations’ strategy
and operations. No longer content to be passive consumers of services, citizens will
continue to demand more “open government” and a greater say in how service
s are
designed and delivered. Moreover, public service organizations will strive to achieve the
customer
-
service, efficiency and productivity improvements many private sector
businesses are already beginning to realize through web 2.0.

To maximize the ben
efits of web 2.0, however, public service organizations do
need to consider three key actions. First, they need to develop a comprehensive and
coherent web 2.0 strategy upfront. This strategy should define the business case and
value propositions for diffe
rent web 2.0 technologies; develop key performance
indicators and metrics to evaluate the success of web 2.0 initiatives; explore the impact
web 2.0 will have on existing IT strategies, architectures and solutions as well as service
delivery chains and bus
iness processes; develop high
-
level implementation plans and
consider how web 2.0 will affect the data governance strategy.

Second, they need to plan the organizational and cultural change required. To
maximize the benefits of web 2.0 public service organi
zations will have to adopt more
collaborative ways of working; strengthen their capacity to innovate by empowering
employees to take risks, share learning and generate ideas and move toward flatter,
decentralized organizational structures. Organizations sh
ould consider how they would
deliver this change upfront.

Next, they need to consider the legal and regulatory implications of web 2.0.
Opening up government data banks, allowing government data to be hosted on non
-
governmental sites, sharing citizen data

across organizations and signing service
agreements with private third parties

such as social media companies

can have
serious legal and regulatory implications. It is important to consider these issues upfront
as they may limit or prevent web 2.0 adoptio
ns.

Using web 2.0 to meet citizens increased expectations requires more than just
investment in new applications. To truly strengthen governments’ relationships with
their citizens and improve public services, gov
-
2.0 initiatives must be supported by
orga
nizational transformation that will enable collaboration, integration and citizen
-
centric delivery.