In recent years, there has been extensive investment in e-government throughout the developing world. Still, little is known about the impact of those investments, partly due to a lack of assessment guidance. This paper reports development of an assessment methodology that could be used in developing countries to justify investments in e-government, as well as to establish a performance benchmark for future projects. This framework identifies key stakeholders, dimensions on which the impact needs to be measured, and a methodology of measurement. Client value is measured primarily in two dimensions: 1) cost to the client of accessing services, and 2) perception by the client of quality of service and governance. In a limited way, the financial cost-benefit impact to the agency implementing the project is also studied. The paper takes India as its example location for application of the framework, presenting assessment results from eight e-government projects which estimate the difference between client ratings of computerized and (earlier) manual systems. Clients indicated an overwhelming preference for computerized service delivery, with reports of fewer journeys, less waiting time, and some reduction in corruption (marginal in places). The results provided a tentative affirmation of the improvements that may be possible through the use of ICTs in delivering government services in developing countries. Overall impact showed wide variation across projects, highlighting the need to pay greater attention to process reform in the design of e-government projects. Measurement of direct monetary benefits to the clients provides a basis for determining the service fees that could be charged. An assessment of incremental costs of processing a transaction can help evaluate the feasibility of a public-private partnership model. The Government of India has adopted the framework used in this study to assess the impact of all mature projects implemented at the national, state, and local levels.
E-government; India; client value; computer service delivery; ICTs in government services; developing countries