Spending on IT to meet e-government targets in the UK will peak between 2004 and 2005, but suppliers have been warned to vary their approaches to local and central governments.
A report from analyst firm IDC predicts that the growth rate of government IT-related spending in the UK, France, Germany and Italy will peak in 2004, hitting double figures before settling into a pattern of steady growth.
But Massimiliano Claps, analyst at IDC, cautioned that e-government projects must improve service levels if they are to be seen as a success, and internal working practices also need to change alongside modernisation.
"The challenge of e-government is changing the organisation's internal culture," Claps said, although he added that this did not mean replacing large numbers of people with technology.
Dave Meaden, public sector managing director at IT supplier Northgate, which supplies about 150 local authorities, agreed.
"If they just implement IT it will not work, because they have to introduce better working practices as well to improve services," he said.
The report also cited the diverse structure and different priorities within UK local and national government as a major challenge for suppliers, who "need to differentiate their approaches". There was no definitive model, IDC said.
Meaden said challenges occur when local authorities attempt to deploy central policy, because the environments and aims are different.
"You will never get one size fits all because of the different communities they serve," he said. But the UK government has so far been successful in ensuring autonomy, he added.
"The central government has not dictated how e-government should be done because it realises local government is always going to be different to central government."
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