Several years ago I wrote a piece about the irrelevance of government portals (excerpts in a previous post). Many clients at the time, both vendors and users, hated me or thought I was nuts. However that prediction is coming true.
Few days ago an e-government manager from a large jurisdiction in North America told me that he is thinking about winding up their external portal. He said they spent several dozens of millions of dollars developing and improving it, but uptake has remained very low. They will now look at what value it can provide as a purely internal portal, but are very likely to cut back on new functionalities and evolution of the external portal and look for alternative ways to provide access to services and information.
This is only the most recent example I’ve come across. There are few exceptions, where portal initiatives hold the key to the rationalization of electronic government channels, and challenges will be faced in the longer term. But in most cases tough questions about the future of portals must be (and are being) asked today.