Building eGovernment Websites


HOW MUCH can you spend on your website?

Creating and maintaining a website costs money , and you should make sure you budget for these costs appropriately. Most of the expenses are human resource-related, but you should also budget for technical costs, and unforeseen circumstances (e.g. technical problems, unexpected requirements, training due to staff turnover, etc.).

Human Resource Costs

Building the necessary skills to construct and maintain a website can be pretty expensive, especially if you choose to hire external companies to do part of the work.

Opting for in-house solutions may appear less expensive, but it may turn out to represent an important cost in the long term, especially if you choose to employ new staff. And even if you decide to only use existing staff, they will need to be trained to do the job, and will not be in the position to contribute to the rest of the organisation's work during training - so you should factor that in when you budget for the project.

Opting for outsourced solutions does not entirely eliminate internal costs, as staff internal to the organisation will have to set up tenders and manage relationships with the company or companies chosen to do the work. Liaising and collaborating with external companies in order to explain what your organisation needs, and managing this relationship, can also be rather demanding, especially in the initial phases of the project (e.g. design). Often the amount of time needed for planning and setting up the site is underestimated: make sure you don't make this mistake.

Technical Costs

There are obviously some technical costs you have to take into account when it comes to producing and maintaining a website:

Working With Limited Resources

Nowadays governmental institutions usually face important financial constraints, and have limited resources at their disposal. This is especially true in developing countries. It is therefore likely that you will not be able to command princely sums to create and develop your website, and that you will have to work with a tight budget.

When budgeting for the project, you should therefore try to establish a balance between:

This balance depends on a variety of factors, such as the goals you set for the website, and the level of sponsorship and support you manage to obtain for the project inside and outside your organisation. This is also where setting priorities for your goals will prove most useful (see: Why Do You Want To Set Up An eGovernment Website? ). If the budget only covers a part of the goals, you should concentrate on the most important ones, and drop other, secondary goals, or defer them to a later stage, when the business benefits of having a website can be proven and you are in a better position to solicit more resources. If the budget available does not even allow you to achieve the most basic and primary goals of your website, the project might have to wait, or you might consider modifying its goals, or catering for a more restricted category of users.

In order to make the case for specific budgets to be put aside for the realisation of a website, you will probably need to demonstrate how this investment can be beneficial for the agency, and how it may lead to savings, or increase the agency's income (e.g. by attracting donors, or combating tax evasion by providing easier ways to pay tax). When you do this, a full calculation would make sure you offset any benefits with the real expenses of creating and maintaining a website, especially in the long term.

Page Author: Andrea Bardelli Danieli. Last updated on 19 October, 2008.
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