Government is all about information and service delivery. The World Wide Web, offering virtually unlimited access and almost instant feedback, seems perfectly suited for government work. The Web can remove barriers that often hamper effective service. Rural communities are as easily reached over the Internet as any large city. Federal rules and regulations are as accessible in rural Montana as they are in Manhattan. State capitals, separated from citizens by long distances, no longer seem so far away. Local governments, with fairly modest effort, can reach much larger audiences both within and beyond their borders.
A public organization’s internal information functions can also improve when the Web becomes the delivery mechanism. It can be used by agency staff to link remote offices to central agency databases, to link agencies with their suppliers and contractors, and to exchange information with other agencies and levels of government.
For all these reasons, most government organizations are eager to use the Web to deliver services to citizens and to conduct internal business. Flexibility in serving citizens and the ability to transcend physical and temporal boundaries are strong incentives for government to adopt this new technology. However, new tools bring with them new issues. Government’s success in using the Web will depend as much or more on its ability to grapple with policy, management, and organizational challenges as it will on its ability to adapt to new technologies.
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