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Many authorities have started to use Web sites to provide services based on transactions. The guiding vision is often a process portal for citizens that provides access to the countless variations of administrative processes (transactions). But connecting the portal's functionality with internal IT supported processes of the various administrative units is not only a technical challenge. As expectations of complex online services rise, innovations in process automation need to be combined with maintaining and/or enhancing service quality. In this paper, we follow service as the guiding vision and try to explore what it needs to enable service providers (governmental institutions and private partners) to fulfill their mission, i.e. the satisfaction of citizens' needs and concerns. Based on an e-service implementation in the city state of Hamburg, we suggest the service flow management approach to model patterns of consecutive service points as well as to represent individual process information using XML. Focussing on transparency for citizens, flexibility for staff, and synergy within provider networks, we claim that reaching a service flow management agreement improves service quality beyond delivering e-government functions.