ICTs are already widely used by government bodies, as it happens in enterprises, but eGovernment involves much more than just the tools. It also involves rethinking organisations and processes, and changing behaviour so that public services are delivered more efficiently to people. Implemented well, eGovernment enables citizens, enterprises and organisations to carry out their business with government more easily, more quickly and at lower cost.
The potential cost savings are massive. In Denmark, for example, electronic invoicing saves taxpayers €150 million and businesses €50 million a year. If introduced across the EU, annual savings could exceed €50 billion. In Italy alone, e-procurement systems cut over €3 billion in costs.
Cross-border Digital Public Services allow achieving the digital single market: in the European Union’s internal market, people are able to move freely – either for work or for private reasons – so they need to be able to deal easily with public services outside their home country.
ICT systems are now at the heart of government processes, but efforts are still needed to ensure they continue to improve the delivery of government services.
As part of its strategy, the European Commission is taking concrete actions for the development of Cross-border Digital Public Services. These include, but are not limited to, the creation of European interoperable platforms such as a common framework for citizens' electronic identity management (eID), and the fostering of innovation through the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (funding Large Scale Pilots and eParticipation projects).
Guidelines are available on how to make better use of open standards for ICT systems of public authorities in order to avoid dependencies on certain suppliers of ICT systems (lock in).