Report: e-Government savings to top $114B worldwide by 2016


Taking government services online, and in many cases, to the cloud, has the potential to save as much as $114 billion worldwide by 2016, according to new research.

ABI Research said the implementation of online e-government services, especially "citizen services," will help drive the e-government services market to sharp growth over the next five years.

"Investment is set to increase from $28 billion in 2010 to $57 billion in 2016, and the number of users will nearly triple over the forecast period," said ABI Research analyst Phil Sealy.

But, he said, because of a very fragmented market, growth in different regions will vary widely.

"Initially much of the activity will be in the major industrialized countries," he said. "But rollouts of e-government services will accelerate beginning in about 2014 when online services in developing regions start to become a reality."

Governments are looking to offer information and services on many levels. ABI Research is expecting to see mobile services become ever more popular, especially in those countries where providing citizens fixed broadband connections may not be a viable investment option. The aim is to maximize e-inclusion and e-participation of citizen-centric services by providing simplistic and convenient means of access.

"Countries such as the U.S. that already have well-established e-government services are looking into aligning services onto one portal rather than multiple portals," said ABI Research group director John Devlin. "The same applies for Europe. Aligning services will make it easier for a country's citizens to access all services in one place. This allows a reduction in operating costs, while maintaining service levels."

In the U.S., both the federal government and state governments are looking to not only transition services, but online and cloud communications as well.

The General Services Administration, for example, in July said it had switched its 17,000 employees over to Google Apps to take advantage of its cloud-based email and collaboration offerings, cutting down on the costs of establishing and operating data centers. The GSA said the change will save it more than $15.2 million over the next five years.

Likewise, the State of Wyoming, which in June became the first state to adopt a full suite of Google Apps for Government, which includes desktop videoconferencing and live online collaboration while creating documents for its more than 10,000 state employees. Wyoming believes the switch will help it save $1 million annually.

And of course, Congress increasingly is using Skype and Oovoo VoIP and video chat to communicate with constituents and each other.

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