The Republic of Korea has made major strides in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) over the last five decades. In 1960, Korea had a telephone penetration of 0.36 per 100 inhabitants, barely one tenth of the then world average. By 1981, Korea caught up with the world average. Now, Korea leads the world in broadband Internet access penetration. Korea is the leading example of a country rising from a low level of ICT access to one of the highest in the world.
Korea’s economic growth is often described as a miracle. Starting with a per capita income of less than US$100 in 1960, Korea averaged an annual economic growth rate of eight percent a year for the next five decades. By 2010, per capita income was US$20,000 and Korea’s economy ranked 13th in the world. The focus of growth has been manufacturing and exports. As Korea’s economy has matured, its manufacturing base has shifted from textiles, to chemicals, then machinery and later electronics. Today knowledge and information products and services play an important and increasing role in the Korean economy.
Korea’s emergence as the world leader in ICT – in field such as broadband Internet, semiconductors and third generation mobile and so on- it is not an accident. The government has specifically targeted this objective. It is no coincidence that the period of most intensive investment in broadband infrastructure corresponded with recovery from the worst effects of the Asian Financial Crisis in the late 1990s. Again it was because the Korean government specifically planned this, despite the general level of austerity imposed by IMF’s conditions for their assistance.
After going through continuous efforts in e-Government and national informatization, Korea has become one of the global E-government leaders - obtaining the highest scores in ‘E-government Development Index’ and ‘E-participation Index’. Korea’s Egovernment Development Index ranking assessed by the United Nations improved from 15th in 2001 to the top in 2010 out of 192 countries worldwide, and its E-participation Index ranking was also ranked 1st in 2010, 2012 & 2014(UN, 2010 ; 2012 ; 2014). In addition, many of Korea’s E-government practices until now have been introduced to the world as the best cases and received worldwide acknowledgement.
In addition, the level of Korea’s informatization is highly recognized by the world, as can be seen from the fact that Korea has ranked 1st for three consecutive years in ITU’s Digital Opportunity Index. The results of Korea’s e-Government services are selected as the best practices and their excellence is being acknowledged by the rest of the world. For example, with the e-Customs system called UNI-PASS that was established to complete an online export and import system for the first time in the world, Korea Customs Service won the WCO (World Customs Organization) Trophy in 2006 for intellectual property right protection with the fastest customs system among 169 member countries (MOPAS, 2008).
An e-Government initiative is recognized as a key strategic requirement for a knowledgebased society in the 21st century (Accenture, 2001 ; Deloitte Consulting, 2001 ; Gartner Research, 2002). Many governments including Korea are allocating resources to establish an e-Government. An Internet-based government service can deliver government services to citizens and private businesses more efficiently with broader access and cost savings across government agencies. As an information network, an e-Government can increase citizen participation in government to achieve an ‘open government’. The establishment of an e-Government will enhance national competitiveness.
Korea began to channel efforts into laying the foundation for an e-Government since the late 1970s. Through the Five National Computer Network project of the early 1980s, the Comprehensive Plan for Korea Information Infrastructure Establishment project, and the National Basic Information System project of the late 1980s, the Korean government established a high-speed communications network and stored vital government records-resident registration, real estate, and vehicle records - in a digital format to create the foundation for an e-Government.
The creation of an e-Government platform is necessary to keep ahead with the emergence of a new paradigm that will change government practices and services in the 21st century (OECD, 2003). An e-Government will play a key role in expanding national competitiveness (NPR, 1997). An e-Government initiative is the most effective citizen-centered system available to meet the needs of citizens and private businesses and will provide quality and faster government services. The government will become more transparent, effective, and accountable through an e-Government service and will expand the use of information technology among citizens and private businesses (OMB, 2001 ; NAO, 2002).
1 - e-Government initiatives in Korean
Korea’s informatization began in the late 1970s, when major administrative business processes were computerized in the areas including resident registration, real-estate and vehicles. In the 1990s, the focus of informatization shifted to unit-based or function-based processes such as those for passport patent and procurement administration.
Between 1992~1994 when the government structure was in a transition period from totalitarian government to congressional government, the interest in IT development by President Kim Young-Sam has somewhat diminished but in with the launch of Information Superhighway Project in USA in 1993, the government solidified its will once more by newly establishing the Ministry of Communication (MIC) and through High Speed Broadband Network Project. During 1998~2000, right after the Asian financial crisis, President Kim Dae-Jung’s interests were focused in restructuring of 4 major sectors to recover from the economic crisis and therefore, the president’s interest in egovernment project has lowered but from 2001, the president’s will and interest solidified the e-Government Project as the strategic enabler with highest importance for government innovation (NCA, 2002). The history of e-government promotion in Korea is outlined in table 1.
Table 1 - History of Korea e-Government Implementation
Stage Main Implementation contents ICT Initial Stage Introduction of computers to the statistics business of (1960s ~ 1970s) Economic Planning Board (1967) Administration ICT 5 year basic plan establishment (1978) e-Government incubation period Administration ICT business (NBIS) (1980s ~ 1990s) National period of computing network business (1987) e-Government base preparation Establishment of ultra high speed information period communication base (mid 1990s ~ 2000) Framework enactment on ICT Implementation law e-Government starting period Implement e-Government 11 tasks (2001 ~ 2002) Enact laws on e-Government (2001) e-Government growth period Implementation of e-Government-31 tasks (2003 ~ 2007) Prepared the base for linking and integrating government institutions and departments e-Government maturity period National ICT master plan establishment (2008) (2008 ~ 2012) Implement e-Government 12 tasks based on opening, sharing and cooperation of businesses. GOV3.0 with e-Government period National ICT master plan establishment (2008) (2013 ~ Present) Data Disclosure Act (2013)
From 2001, it was about building a government-wide infrastructure for e-Government, for which 11 initiatives and 31 roadmap projects were implemented. The e-Government promotion led to enhanced efficiency of public administration by stabilizing electronic processing of government work, and improved economic feasibility, expertise and security of government resource management by constructing government-wide data centers and integrating government information systems. Moreover, it led to reduction of document submission for civil service application by a large extent and increased convenience and participation of citizens in policy-making by providing portal services for civil application or enabling interaction with public offices without having to visit these offices in person (MIC, 2002).
1.1 - Kim, Dae-Jung Administration (Jan. 2001 – Feb. 2003)
1.1.1 - Vision & Strategy
The Korean government established the Special Committee of e-Government on January 30, 2001 in order to promote interagency collaboration in negotiating issues concerning the e-Government initiatives. The Special Committee for e-Government was established as a special committee under the Presidential Commission on Government Innovation, which is an executive branch committee.
The Special Committee for e-Government proposed a vision and strategy in May 2001, as follows :
Table 2 - e-Government Vision & Strategy of Kim, Dae-Jung Administration
e-Government to make the transition to a world-class nation Vision •A government that provides the best quality administrative service for the people •A government that provides the most suitable environment for business activities •A government with maximum productivity, transparency, and democracy •To redesign administrative process to cope with the flow of information and establish information system Strategy •To establish one-stop window for e-Government and support for unified process of civil services •To establish administrative networks, improve institutions and form an information infrastructure
(Source : SCEG, 2003b)
1.1.2 - e-Government Initiatives
The below mentioned areas are the basic framework for an advanced e-Government and core businesses for various ministries. Therefore, if these initiatives were fully implemented, it was expected not only will the people and companies benefit from the system, but also the transparency and accountability of the Korean government will be significantly enhanced.
Table 3 - 11 e-Government Initiatives in Korea
Objective Main Features Government for Citizen (G4C) System Upgrade Government-wide service for ② Social Insurance Information Sharing System Citizen and private business ③ Home Tax Service System ④ Government e-Procurement System ⑤ National Finance Information System Improve the effectiveness of ⑥ National Education Information System Administration ⑦ Local Government Information Network System ⑧ Personnel Policy Support System ⑨ e-Approval & e-Document Exchange Establish an Infrastructure for ⑩ e-Signature & e-Seal System e-Government ⑪ Government-wide Integrated Computer Network
(Source : SCEG, 2003 : 13)
President Kim Dae-Jung held a meeting for the ‘Report on the Completion of e-Government Infrastructure’ on November 13, 2002 with all ministers from each participating ministries in attendance. President Kim announced that 11 major e-Government initiatives were successfully executed and declared the opening of full-scale e-Government services (SCEG, 2003). Therefore, the Special Committee for e-Government was dissolved as of January 31, 2003.
The successful completion of the 11 e-Government initiatives were bring many changes to how the government operates and have a positive impact on citizens and private business. The inefficient use of the budget and human resources that were allocated to outdated procedures and functions have been reduced substantially. Efficient government services were boost productivity of private businesses and lessen the burden on civil servants who will no longer have to process redundant procedures. The level of national competitiveness was increased in the long-term due to these e-Government initiatives.
1.2 - Roh, Moo-Hyun Administration (Feb. 2003 - Feb. 2008)
1.2.1 - Vision & Strategy
The Korean Roh, Moo-Hyun was elected in the 16th presidential election on December 19, 2002 and sworn in as President on February 25, 2003. The Roh administration established the Presidential Committee on Government Innovation and Decentralization (PCGID), its mission is to make the government of Korea more open, transparent, and closer to the people. With full support of the President, the PCGID has changed the way government works and transformed the government into an open, transparent, accountable and participatory government for the people.
The PCGID consists of the main committee, and five executive committees : Administrative Reform Committee, HR Management Reform Committee, Decentralization Committee, Fiscal/Tax Reform Committee, and e-Government Committee. The PCGID proposed the vision and strategy of e-Government of Roh, Moo-hyun administration in May 2003, as follows (PCGID, 2003a) ;
Table 4 - 11 e-Government Vision & Strategy of Roh, Moo-Hyun Administration
Realize World’s highest level of open e-Government』 Vision •Innovate service to the people => Network Government •Enhance administrative efficiency, transparency => Knowledge Government •Realize a true sovereignty of the people => Participatory Government •Build a value creation type or information system for the people and corporations Objective •Maximize result within the government and improve efficiency •Form a horizontal two-way network between the people and the government
1.2.2 - e-Government Initiatives
Upon his inauguration in 2003 President Roh prepared policy measures to further develop national informatization and e-government projects promoted by previous administrations. To promote government innovation in a more comprehensive and systematic way, the Presidential Committee on Government Innovation and Decentralization (PCGID) was established to deal with such issues as e-government, administrative reform, local decentralization and tax reform.
In 2003, the ‘Roh Administration e-Government Vision and Principles’ was announced, followed by the ‘e-Government Roadmap’. The e-Government Roadmap is composed of four areas of innovation, 10 agendas and 31 projects as shown below in table 5.
Table 5 - 31 e-Government Roadmap Projects in Roh, Moo-Hyun Administration
Area Agenda Projects 1) Electronic Document Processing 2) Consolidated Financial Information System Innovating 1. Establishing 3) Local e-Government Electronic 4) e-Auditing System The Way Work Process 5) e-National Assembly Government 6) Integrated Criminal Justice Services 7) Consolidated Personnel Administration System Work 8) e-Diplomacy System 9) Real-time System for National Policy Management 2. Expanding the Administrative 10) Expansion of Administrative Information Sharing System Information 3. Service-oriented Business Process 11) Government Business Reference Model(BRM) Development Reengineering 12) Enhanced Online Citizen Services 13) Integrated National Disaster Management Services 4. Enhancing 14) Consolidated Architectural Administrative Information System Citizen Service 15) Consolidated Online Tax System 16) Integrated National Welfare Services Innovating 17) Consolidated Food and Drug Information System 18) Consolidated Employment Information Services Civil Services 19) Online Administrative Trial System 5. Enhancing Business 20) One-stop Business Support Services(G4B) Support Services 21) Consolidated National Logistics Information Services 22) Electronic Trading Services 23) Comprehensive Foreigner Support Services 24) Support for Exporting of E-Government Solutions 6. Enhancing Online Citizen Participation 25) Expansion of Online Citizen Participation 7. Consolidating and Standardizing 26) Government-wide Consolidated Information Resources Administration System Innovating Information 27) Enhancement of e-Government Communication Network Resources 28) Establishment of Government-wide Information Technology Information Architecture Resource 8. Strengthening 29) Establishment of Information Security System Information Security Management Systems 9. Strengthening Capacity 30) Restructuring of IT Personnel and Organizations of IT Personnel and Organizations Reforming 10. Reforming e-Government 31) Reform of e-Government Legal System the Legal Related Legal Systems System
The e-Government Roadmap projects present grand ambitions for achieving the national vision and goals of Korea, which include (1) the realizing of a participatory democracy, (2) establishing balanced social development, (3) promoting the era of Northeast Asia, and (4) achieving a per capita income of USD 20,000. In so doing, the goals of e-government have been set ; innovating service delivery, enhancing efficiency and transparency and promoting democracy in administration, coinciding with the vision of achieving the “World’s Best Open e-Government” (PCGID, 2003b).
1.3 - Lee, Myung-Bak Administration (Feb. 2008 - Feb. 2013)
1.3.1 - Vision & Strategy
Lee, Myung-Bak administration has actively pursued e-Government as a crucial means to make its government more competitive, by leveraging the world’s best ICT including broadband Internet. The Lee, Myung-Bak administration proposed a vision and strategy of IT Korea in September 2009, as follows :
Figure 1 - Vision and Strategies portrayed by the five future strategies
1.3.2 - e-Government Initiatives
The Lee, Myung-Bak government in the second advanced stage formulated the <National Informatization Basic Plan> (2008~2012) in December 2008 and the <Smart E-Gov Plan> (2011~2015) in March 2011. The Lee, Myung-Bak government organized a work group, Informatization Promotion Working-Level Committee, for the National Informatization Basic Plan in the early 2008. The work group first analyzed the megatrends, the informatization plans of each ministry, and the government agendas to select the activities of the national informatization. The vision, goal, and direction of the national informatization were determined based on the result of analysis. Also, the work group conducted the demand survey of whole central administration agencies, citizen, and system integrators. As a result, the five areas, twenty one agendas, and seventy two informatization activities were chosen. Among them, the e-Government project is the fourth area, “knowledge government which works well” which consists of four agendas and nineteen activities (MOPAS, 2010a).
Table 6 - 19 Activities in the National Informatization Basic Plan
Agenda Activity 1) Promoting the pan governmental distribution and utilization of knowledge information Intellectual 2) Establishing the digital-based cooperation system of state affairs administration system 3) Multi-dimensional administrative support using spatial information which creates 4) Realizing the real-time and mobile-based M-Gov performance 5) Realizing the fully-online civil petitions without paper 6) Establishing the e-Government portal which provides all public service Creating the convenient through single window 7) Improving the supporting system for business convenience public services for citizen 8) Establishing the integrated delivery system of public service for citizen 9) Fostering the utilization of e-Government service Realizing the digital 10) Increasing the transparency in policy and administration 11) Strengthening the communication with citizen by widening the democratic participation channel. 12) Building up the legal information service for the life of citizen administration which 13) Realizing the u-Assembly standing for the public communicates with 14) Strengthening communication with the global society and the digital international cooperation citizen. 15) Connecting, integrating and efficiently managing the pan governmental information resource Strengthening the base of 16) Establishing the connected and integrated system of local information and public information resources sustainable information 17) Establishing the co-utilization system of information resources and the pan governmental EA development 18) Rationalizing the management system of the informatization project 19) Reinforcement of the Capability in the informatization project of public sector
The Smart E-Gov Plan was formulated in 2011 to convert the PC-based e-Government into the mobile e-Government with the use of mobile devices such as smart phones and tablet PC (MOPAS, 2011). In this plan the smart government was defined as “The advanced government where the citizen freely use public services regardless of the type of medium by combining the advanced information technology with government services and which is being improved through the participation of and the communication with citizens.”
1.4 - Park, Geun-Hye Administration (Feb. 2013 - Present)
1.4.1 - Vision & Strategy
The Park, Geun-Hye Administration embraces Government 3.0 as a new paradigm. The notion Government 3.0 goes beyond what the technological potentials of Web 3.0 promise, as shown in Figure 2. The Park administration envisioned Government 3.0 for the purpose of building a new age of hopes and happiness for all Koreans. The Korean Government 3.0 drive seeks for two high level goals : providing services customized for and tailored to various needs and demands, and creating new jobs and reboosting development engines. For these two goals, the Korean Government presents three strategic directions : service oriented government, transparent government, and better (and smarter) administration (in other words, competent government). All these efforts are supported by four core values such as openness, sharing, communication, and collaboration.
Figure 2 - Vision and strategy in Park, Geun-Hye Administration
1.4.2 - e-Government Initiatives (Government 3.0)
Figure 3 describes the details of three categorized strategies for the Government 3.0 drive. First, Government 3.0 is a strategy for service-oriented government. NIA  considers Government 3.0 as a pack of lowcost but high-quality services for customized citizen happiness. The Government 3.0 drive personalizes public services adjusting for individual needs, supports entrepreneurialism and businesses, enhances more efficient and effective access to public information and services, and customizes citizen services through using new technologies.
Figure 3 - Strategies and Tasks in Park, Geun-Hye Administration
For that, the Korean Government establishes consolidated systems to provide information and services integrating across public agencies, policy domains, and geographical jurisdictions. These systems enable services based on lifecycle, services adjusted for specified beneficiaries’ needs, and one-stop welfare services. The needs that Government 3.0 considers also include those of businesses and entrepreneurs. Especially, small and midsized businesses gain help from integrated services for economies. Service-oriented government seeks for multi-channel and anychannel services. This means more access points for those with otherwise limited access to information and services. Adopting mobile services for public services and information is gaining a promising vehicle for a new generation.
Second, Government 3.0 pursues transparency of government. Open government in terms of data and information means the transition from supply-driven transparency (reactive, responsive disclosure of public information) to demand-driven transparency (proactive sharing). According to President Park (see the news section of http://www.gov30.kr), Government 3.0 is intended to “make information sharing more equitable and transparent between the central government, local governments, government agencies and the public.” As well, information sharing can boost job creation and spur economic growth. Government-held data in such fields as weather, transportation and health care has considerable commercial value.
Government 3.0 is also about connecting with citizens and encouraging them to participate in public affairs. In particular, the government plans to consult with citizens, using online voting, on major state affairs and large-scale public projects costing more than 500 billion Won.
Last, better and smarter government specifies three directions : integrated (e.g., crossboundary, cross-organizational, cross-agency, and cross-departmental) administration, cross-boundary information sharing and collaboration driven by digitization and informatization, and scientific (data-driven) administration . These strategic orientations require substantial improvements and also paradigmatic changes in public management and administration. Identified are the following three key words : collaborative administration, knowledgebased management, and data-based policymaking. While the previous two strategic anchors (service-oriented and transparent) are involved in the relationships with citizens, this means a fundamental shift inside government. For collaborative administration, the Government 3.0 drive transforms existing administration from typical bureaucracybased to task-centered, program-centered mechanisms. The latter necessarily requires cross-boundary collaboration. Smart work environment and cloud computing setting raise the level of information sharing and cross-boundary collaboration. With technological potentials, analyzing and researching big data enriches, broadens, and deepens policy and managerial implications. Scientific administration enables more accurate forecasting and prediction. In addition, performance evaluation and resource/budget allocation may gain more legitimacy due to data-based evidence.
3 - e-Gov future directions
The paradigm for government has shifted from control and management to efficiency, transparency and participation through innovation, and the government’s function and citizens’ role in society has changed. Taken together, the future direction for e-Government needs to be considered and refined, based on government innovation undertaken by the each administration. The relationship between governments and citizens would be changed into that of partners, rather than a supplier-beneficiary relationship, and the government’s role also into a coordinator, rather than a governor. For this purpose, the government of the future requires four different factors : digitization, responsiveness, flexibility and governance. Digitization can be facilitated by the use of new technologies. Responsiveness means continuously seeking innovation performance, responding to rapid changes, and flexibility refers to accelerating and adapting to change. Finally governance contains the changes in the government’s role from a governor to a coordinator.
The future e-Government is being developed towards seamless and consolidated services, based on the e-Government projects that have been promoted so far. In addition, a new master plan for e-democracy where citizens can actively participate in policy-making and execution would also be necessary. The new e-Government strategies will be taken into account from various perspectives, especially in terms of strategy, e-Government services, citizens’ e-participation and strengthened infrastructure for e-Government.
On the strategic side of e-Government, it first should continuously evolve and develop, and its new value created. Service innovation and participation expansion, being the vision and goals of the each administration, should evolve and develop with trends over time, and administrative efficiency and increased transparency should be maintained as to achieve substantial performance. Second, e-Government and administrative innovation should be interconnected by a framework. Aiming at providing all government information and services via the Internet, electronic services should be developed in a wide range of areas including education, employment, medical care, government procurement, business service, social security, and tax ; and a close relationship between e-Government strategies and innovation is needed. Third, a performance evaluation system and feedback system on e-Government should be prepared. Goals should be clearly defined together with continuous motivation, and it is very important to establish and carry out systems that can maximize investment performance in connection with budget.
In terms of e-Government services, it is necessary, first, to step up accessibility to information. Using the customizable service functions of portals, users should be able to individualize government information and services as they wish, thereby achieving enhanced service convenience. Second, administrative work and the horizontal and vertical connection of e-Government systems should be consolidated. The services of each ministry must undergo process innovation from providing services on a 1 :1 relationship to seamless and integrated services on a 1 :n relationship, enabling continuous and batch processing.
Moreover, in order to establish services that citizens and businesses want, it is required to prepare consolidation principles and standards from a service perspective based on the government business reference model. More specific forms of business processes to provide integrated services will then be drawn up based on such principles and standards.
In order to strengthen citizen participation in e-Government, the expansion of online participation is required first. By actively and comprehensively disclosing various forms of information, which have been partially disclosed so far, all administrative information on policy-making should be open electronically, and transparent administrative services developed that can gain public understanding and validity. This is an ‘Open Government’ via e-Government. Second, it is required that citizen oriented e-Governance be established. By establishing an electronic path through which citizens and citizen groups can participate with responsibility and authority as partners on the same level as the government in policy-making procedures, e-democracy should be achieved to actively guarantee public participation. Also, a foundation should be built for e-governance, privacy protection, expansion of online participation in all the policy-making procedures, and improvement of electronic information welfare rights guaranteeing service quality.
An e-Government infrastructure should also be strengthened, and a government-wide information resource management system would be the first precedent. Since it is necessary to promote strategies that strengthen the interconnection between innovation and informatization, the advancement of e-Government requires active implementation of inter-ministerial policies such as diversifying policy information, expanding the sharing of administrative databases, and constructing and operating a knowledge management system. Following on, new information technologies such as ubiquitous, big data and cloud smart technology should be utilized.
In addition to developing these technologies, it is also necessary to close the digital divide and thoroughly attend to issues on fostering security. Especially, information security should be taken into consideration. In order to achieve an all-time accessible cloud computing environment, infrastructure should be first established with information security being taken into account. As the scale of informatization and the government’s dependence on informatized processes increase, it is urgent to seek measures to enhance business process continuity through prioritizing security in information systems and informatization infrastructure. With this achieved, it is necessary to strengthen the e-Government implementation framework.
In the end, the future e-Government will greatly enhance the reliability and transparency of the government, based on more efficient administration and improved service capacity for citizens. The people will be able to encounter an e-Government through which they can use government services and even participate in policy-making via diverse media anytime and anywhere.