Information services online. Technology has been the main enabler

            Information
communication technologies (ICT) has been playing an increasingly important
role in transforming societies. ICT has become a major player in changing the
political, economic and social practices of the society. ICT tools provide
great support for operational efficiency, cost reduction, quality of services,
convenience, innovation and learning in private and public sectors.
Organizations that ignore the importance of ICT usually experience major
competitive disadvantages. E-government is one of the aspects in which ICT has
transformed societies. It took governments all around the world long years to
pass from traditional administration through public offices to accessing the
services online. Technology has been the main enabler of e-government.
Governments have faced challenges to modernize their administrative practices
and management systems.

E-government
has contributed to the transformation of public administration.  The main focus of e-government has been to
eliminate the limitations of the public services in terms of bureaucracy, long
procedures, inefficiency and deteriorating quality of services. E-government
involves the use of ICTs by government departments, ministries and offices to
provide public services. This enabled governments to be more efficient,
transparent and accountable. Applying a comprehensive e-government model
requires not only the adaptation of technology but also new organizational
structures, human resource potentials, supportive leadership and changing the
structure of partnerships between the private and public sectors.

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The
transformation to e-government and restructuring the government processes to
make use of ICT potential can improve the exchange and use of information and
simplify complex processes between government agencies, companies, and
citizens. It can also support partnerships across the public, private, and
non-profit sectors to deliver high quality services to clients. It can also
promote transparency, participation, accountability, credibility and trust in
government.

Governments
have been trying to use technologies to provide citizens with access to
information and services through the internet. The success of e-governments
depends on both government support and citizens’ use of e-government services.

2.2 What is E-government?

There has been
a wide range of definitions for e-government. While some definitions have
focused on certain aspects of e-government (such as the exchange of
information, online transactions), other definitions have tried to be more
comprehensive by covering all the significant aspects of e-government. “E-government
can be defined as the utilization of ICTs towards transformation of internal
and external public sector relationships with a view to optimize public service
delivery and citizen’s participation.” (Al Athmay 2013). The world bank defined e-government as “the use
by government agencies of information technologies (such as Wide Area Networks,
the Internet and mobile computing) that have the ability to transform relations
with citizens, businesses, and the arms of government” (www.worldbank.org). According
to Al Athmay (2013),
e-government doesn’t only involve the computerization of government processes,
it also involves using ICT to transfer the business of government in such a way
to affect its relations with businesses, citizens and other users of
technology. Such transformation of the nature of politics and the relationship
requires coordination and collaboration of all users of e-government project.

Some
e-government definitions focus on the role of the government as a service
provider; Abou Shanab and
Al-Azzam (2012) defined e-government as “the use of information and
communication technology (ICT) and particularly the Internet to deliver
information and services by the government to its customers”. Yanqing (2010) defined
e-government as “the use of information and communication technologies,
particularly web-based internet applications to provide citizens and businesses
with a convenient access to public information and services, to improve the
quality of the services and strengthen government’s drive toward effective
governance and increased transparency to better manage a country’s social and
economic resources for development”.

Other
definitions focused on the relationship between the public and private sectors.
Sarrayrih and Sriram
define e-government as “the utilization of ICTs towards transformation of
internal and external public sector relationships with a view to optimize public
service delivery and citizens’ participation” (Sarrayrih & Sriram 2015). Tambouris, Gorilas, and G. Boukis
widened the scope of interaction to include citizens; they define e-government
as “the application of information and communications technology (ICT) to
transform the efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and accountability of
informational and transactional exchanges within government, between
governments and government agencies at federal, municipal and local levels,
citizens and businesses; and to empower citizens through access and use of
information”.

Almarabeh and Abou Ali (2010) widened
the scope further to include citizens and businesses. They defined e-government
as “government use of information and communication technologies to offer for
citizens and business the opportunity to interact and conduct business with
government by using different electronic media such as telephone touch pad,
fax, smart cards, service kiosks, email/internet and EDI”. While Rorissa A. &Demissie D. (2010)
consider e-government not only as a pathway to access or engage with government
but also to bring about developmental opportunities to the local communities as
a whole.

Tapscott
definition of e-government covers both internal and external areas “e-Government
is an Internet-worked government which links new technology with legal systems
internally and in turn links such government information infrastructure
externally with everything digital and with everybody – the tax payer,
suppliers, business customers, voters and every other institution in the
society” (Tascott 1996).

The main goal
of e-governments is to deliver government policies, strategies and services to
the citizens through the internet. Wimmer and Krenner (2001) distinguish between two areas of
e-government; the first area includes e-government in the large and covers the
wide range of governance and administrative projects including e-Democracy,
e-Voting, e-Administration, e-Assistance, e-Justice, e-Healthcare and
e-Education. The second area is the small e-government area covering issues
related to the design and application of local administrative processes within
the domain of e-government.

It’s quite
important to have a comprehensive definition of e-government rather than having
a definition that focusses on only one aspect. Ndou (2004) explained the importance of providing a
comprehensive definition of e-government; as narrow definitions focusing on
digital transactions or the exchange of information can restrict the wide range
of opportunities e-government can offer, and it’s this narrow understanding of
the e-government concept that leads to the failure of many e-government
initiatives. He emphasizes that “e-government is a multidimensional and complex
concept that requires a broad definition and understanding, in order to be able
to design and implement a successful strategy” (Ndou 2004). 
He thus introduced a framework that includes the main issues and
components of e-government which includes:

Transformation areas (internal, external, relational); Users, customers, actors and their interrelationships (citizens,
businesses, government organizations, employees)E-Government application domains (e-services, e-democracy,
e-administration).

One of the most
comprehensive definitions of e-government is provided by the World Bank: “e-Government
is the government owned or operated systems of information and communication
technologies that transform relations with citizens, the private sector and/or
other government agencies so as to promote citizens’ empowerment, improve
service delivery, strengthen accountability, increase transparency, or improve
government efficiency” (World
Bank 2001).

In his study on
transforming government and empowering communities, Nagy K. Hanna (2008) presents 2 interesting
definitions of e-government based on the development status of countries.
According to him, in developed countries, e-government can be defined as “using
electronic means to deliver public services and information to the government’s
clients—citizens (G2C) and businesses (G2B)—from the client’s perspective”. He
sees that governments of developed countries have already achieved high levels
of computerization and the Internet provides a platform of online delivery.
Developed countries have recently witnessed the expansion of e-government
programs beyond online service delivery to restructuring and redesigning
back-office processes, working across institutional boundaries and
public-private partnerships. On the other hand, Hanna argues that in developing
countries, the situation is different, as these countries have started from a
low level of computerization. So, the definition of e-government in developing
countries needs to be broadened to include reengineering entire business
processes and the sharing of information with civil service employees (G2E) and
with other government agencies (G2G). E-government practices can be broadened
to include the whole value chain, working across sectors, institutions, and the
public private divide. (Hanna 2008)

Ndou (2004) argues that the introduction of e-government
has resulted in a paradigm shift in the public service delivery from the
bureaucratic paradigm to the e-government paradigm. In terms of orientation, the
bureaucratic paradigm was focused on production and cost efficiency, while the
e-government paradigm is more concerned with user satisfaction, control and
flexibility. In terms of process organization, the bureaucratic paradigm is
more focused on functional