Government could go online rapidly, says KPMG chief

New Zealand government could take its business online inside a year, according to KPMG's e-commerce strategy head.

New Zealand government could take its business online inside a year, according to KPMG's e-commerce strategy head.

The Labour Party campaigned on a move to online procurement and services in its pre-election white paper, Labour Online. Its proposals echoed similar policy in Australia, but there has been little obvious progress as the government proceeds with a host of other legislative initiatives.

But in this week's IDGNet Friday Fry-Up, KPMG's Phil Royal says his organisation has had four US specialists here talking to government in the last six weeks. He says there is "huge opportunity for [government] to become more efficient" and to move as quickly as the private sector towards an online model.

"I think we have to understand what e-government is. It isn't just putting a department online. It's the difference between the depart-to-citizen type view and the department-to-department view.

"So you need to understand what it is. But there's no there's no reason e-government shouldn't be in 90-day deliverables and take no longer than a year to get to where it needs to be. There are vertical solutions coming out around the Internet for government.

"When you look at some of the projects that have been before - Incis is a classic example - a lot of what's been spent is on interfaces between different departments. A lot of that was old-world - it was picking up information and shoving it down a pipe. And the guy at the other end picks it up and puts it into his organisation's database. You have to ask the question, at a fundamental level, why you do that any more?"

Royal says systems like the customer registry KPMG helped build for the reformed electricity market should serve as an example.

"That's basically a virtual customer switching database. No one owns it. You just go in and a customer is switched automatically through the Internet. You've got to get away from the view of ownership - you still own the data but you don't have to own the system."

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