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JOURNAL OF INDUSTRIAL AND doi:10.3934/jimo.

2017060
MANAGEMENT OPTIMIZATION

DESIGN OF A SINGLE WINDOW SYSTEM FOR


E-GOVERNMENT SERVICES: THE CHILEAN CASE

Alejandro Cataldo and Juan–Carlos Ferrer


School of Engineering, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Av. Vicuña Mackenna 4860, Santiago, Chile

Pablo A. Rey
Department of Industrial Engineering, Universidad de Chile
Av. República 701, Santiago, Chile

Antoine Sauré
Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa
55 Laurier Ave E, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada

(Communicated by Kok Lay Teo)

Abstract. The single window concept refers to systems that allow organiza-
tions to provide one-stop services to users. This paper describes a model for the
design of a single window system in the context of e-government. The model
determines which government service procedures should be incorporated into
the system, which technology should be used to execute each procedure and
the time in the planning horizon at which technology upgrades and incorpo-
ration processes should take place, while maximizing the total social benefit
associated with these decisions. The proposed model, a mixed integer lin-
ear program, is applied to the particular problem faced by the government of
Chile a few years ago. The solution generated by the model for this instance is
compared to that obtained through the Chilean government’s own method for
prioritizing the inclusion of procedures into its single window system. When
the proposed model was limited to choosing 60 procedures, the number chosen
by the Chilean government’s method, the solution produced 1.6 times more
benefits. With the limit on the number of procedures removed but consider-
ing a budget constraint, the model chose 111 procedures that generated 1.85
times more social benefits than those procedures chosen using the government’s
method.

1. Introduction. In recent years, there has been an enormous increase around


the world in the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in daily
activities such as paying taxes and purchasing services or products online [26].
Governments are no exception to this trend, having integrated ICTs throughout
their operations in an attempt to improve the provision of government services and
information to the citizenry, boost the efficiency and effectiveness of the public ad-
ministration, enhance transparency and encourage the general public’s participation
in processes such as citizens’ forums [10].

2010 Mathematics Subject Classification. Primary: 90B99, 90B90; Secondary: 90C35.


Key words and phrases. E-government, e-services, single window system, integer programming,
system design.

1
2 CATALDO, FERRER, REY AND SAURÉ

Some years ago the United Nations turned its attention to the benefits of ICTs in
government administration, creating an E-Government Development Index (EGDI)
that measures each country’s progress in implementing e-government programs [57].
According to the index for 2016, Europe (0.72) and the Americas (0.52) are the most
advanced regions while Africa (0.29) is the lowest ranked. Countries such as United
Kingdom (0.92), Australia (0.91), Republic of Korea (0.89), Singapore (0.88) and
Finland (0.88) have made the greatest strides in e-government development [51].
Perhaps surprisingly, Chile is classed among the nations with a high level of
e-government development. A score of 0.69 places the country fifth in the Ameri-
cas after the United States of America (0.84), Canada (0.83), Uruguay (0.72) and
Argentina (0.70) [51]. This rather impressive performance reflects the major e-
government initiatives Chile has implemented in recent years, including the govern-
ment’s intranet, the tax collection system, the national information service website
and the new civil registry system [10, 51]. But the real landmarks in the coun-
try’s e-government development are a presidential directive issued in 2001 and the
e-government agenda drawn up for the period 2002 to 2005. Both documents were
part of a key initiative known as the Government Reform and Modernization Project
(PRYME by its Spanish initials) [45].
In the 2001 presidential initiative, signed on May 11th of that year by the then-
President Ricardo Lagos, three central points are of particular interest: an official
definition of e-government, the establishment of three areas of action (services to
the public, internal management and deepening democracy), and the establishment
of the above-mentioned e-government agenda for introducing new initiatives to con-
solidate the e-government development in Chile [10, 42].
Out of these central points emerged the decision to make the design and imple-
mentation of a single window system, that is, a one-stop portal for the delivery of
government services to the public, one of PRYME’s priorities. The main purpose
of the system was to enable government entities to ensure responsiveness and ef-
ficiency of the routine procedures users must employ to obtain services or comply
with obligations such as filing a tax return or applying for a visa (e.g., submitting
forms, requesting documents or information, etc.) [10]. The task of designing the
system involved deciding which of these procedures should be included, identifying
the requirements for incorporating each procedure and determining the right mo-
ment to incorporate them, while simultaneously making efficient use of available
resources at the level of individual entities and the government as a whole.
Thus, the first step taken by the government of Chile in the design of the single
window system was to charge the Secretary General of the Presidency (SEGPRES),
the executive office of the Chilean president, with the task of finding a method for
prioritizing the many existing procedures for government services and obligations
that could be included in the system. More specifically, the prioritization method
(known by its Spanish initials MPT) was aimed at establishing the order of impor-
tance of each procedure. The ordering criteria were the forecasted demand for the
following six years and the delivery time, cost and use of resources for execution.
The inclusion of the use of resources criterion points up the significance of the de-
sign issue in that it necessarily involves the proper use of public resources for better
provision of services to citizens. This paper presents an alternative to the approach
used by the Chilean government for designing a single window system that is based
on mathematical programming. This alternative takes into account precedence re-
lations between procedures, the links between procedures and government entities,
DESIGN OF A SINGLE WINDOW SYSTEM FOR E-GOVERNMENT SERVICES 3

budget constraints and implementation times, and offers way of finding a solution
that maximizes social welfare. To test its performance, the proposed approach is
applied to a real-world instance based on data provided by SEGPRES.
The remainder of this paper is organized as follows. Section 2 reviews the single
window concept. Section 3 surveys the relevant literature. Section 4 sets out the
problem to be solved. Section 5 formulates a model for solving the problem. Section
6 presents a case study based on the application of the proposed model to the
particular problem faced by the government of Chile. Section 7 summarizes some
managerial insights obtained from the results for the case study. Finally, Section 8
presents our conclusions and comments, plus a possible extension of the model.

2. The single window concept. One of the earliest definitions of e-government


found in the literature is due to Milward and Snyder [41], for whom it refers to
technologies used to link the citizen to government services, thus eliminating or
reducing the citizen’s need to interact with government employees as a means to
gain access to services. More recently, Luling [39] described an e-government service
as any interaction a citizen might have with a government body or entity through
an electronic tool or medium. Expressed in these terms, the single window con-
cept refers to the capability of executing a procedure in one stop without having
to personally visit multiple government agencies in order to obtain the necessary
information and/or documents.
To achieve a progressive evolution towards fully functional e-government, Layne
and Lee [36] proposed a four-stage growth model. The third and fourth stages in
this model include the creation of single window systems or portals for ensuring
access to public procedures as an alternative way of providing government services
in a quick and simple manner. An online system is beneficial both for governments,
due to cost reductions and greater efficiencies in service provision, and citizens,
who can use it to access procedures more quickly and thus avoid the waiting times
associated with traditional service provision methods [29].
The general strategy for designing single window systems is founded upon a
series of political, normative, technological, organizational and communicational
definitions that are essential to the development of such systems and thus become
in effect as a set of design rules. Building these systems can therefore be seen as an
opportunity to redesign the way public procedures are executed including the way
these procedures are interrelated [22, 23].
The implementation of systems such as single window systems that provide ser-
vices electronically brings a range of benefits including: shorter lineups at tradi-
tional service delivery locations, reduction or elimination of opening hour limita-
tions, faster and more specialized attention, exchange of information among gov-
ernment entities, simplification and integration of procedures for delivering services
and other administrative tasks, common criteria for administrative records updat-
ing tasks, a more active role in the relationship between government entities and
citizens, simplification of the relationship between the citizen and administrative
organizations, and better use of available resources [22].
However, despite the many benefits the implementation of a single window sys-
tem brings with it, most studies found in the literature focus on the management of
the infrastructure and communications that are critical to ensure the availability,
effectiveness and efficiency of these systems [15], on how to measure the quality of
the services delivered through such systems [47, 48], or on how the quality of the
4 CATALDO, FERRER, REY AND SAURÉ

services provided through the Internet influence the trust citizens have in public ad-
ministration [7]. Thus, a multidimensional look, which considers both technological
and policy aspects, is essential for the proper design of such systems [21, 38].

3. Literature survey. The concept of e-government has been studied in the lit-
erature from various perspectives. From the standpoint of ICTs use, e-government
has been described in works by Cohen and Eimicke [12], Harris [25] and Jorgensen
[32]. In terms of the impact of an effective implementation of ICTs, it has been
analyzed by Yildiz [60] and Valdés [52]. The latter in a Chilean context.
More specifically, and closer to the theme of the present study, the electronic
provision of government services has been widely analyzed from various angles. For
example, from the point of view of its impact, citizens involvement and perception
and use of it [4, 34, 46, 53]; its computer architecture and infrastructure [33, 54];
web design [59]; the technical challenges it poses [3, 52]; use of resources [29, 55, 56];
and even the legal aspects of it [58].
The concept of a government information network has also been studied [30, 31]
and multiple definitions of the notion of a public procedure in the context of the
electronic provision of government services have been proposed [43, 56]. However, an
extensive review of the literature has not turned up any articles analyzing the issue of
the design and provision of electronic services from a strategic planning perspective.
In strategic terms, the design of a single window system involves determining which
procedures should be included in it, which technology should be used to execute
each procedure, and the time in the planning horizon at which each technology
upgrade and procedure incorporation should take place.
This conception of the design problem can be compared to that arising with
networks. This class of problems has been widely studied in many contexts includ-
ing manufacturing and logistics systems [11, 19, 28, 37, 49], air freight [27], ship
transport [1, 2], land transport [50], evacuation planning [16], the transport and
distribution of water, gas and petroleum [5, 9, 14, 20], among other applications.
More specifically, the design of communication networks with technology upgrading
has been approached as a shortest path problem [18]. Despite a thorough search,
the authors were unable to find any studies applying network structures or mathe-
matical programming to the problem of public procedure networks or the design of
single window systems.
In what follows, we formulate and solve the single window design problem for an
e-government system using a novel approach based on mathematical programming.

4. Description of the problem. Consider the problem of a central planner in


charge of implementing a single window system for accessing and executing gov-
ernment procedures. The task the planner faces is to select N procedures from a
universe of I procedures where N < I. Each procedure is administered by a single
government entity that may be responsible for one or more procedures. The plan-
ning horizon is T periods, which can represent years or some other time interval.
Decisions are assumed to be taken at the start of each period.
Every procedure, whether or not it has been incorporated into the single window
system, is executed by one of K available technologies. Included in the set K are
conventional technologies (e.g., filling out application forms at government offices or
making requests by telephone) and modern electronic methods involving the Inter-
net or other online networks. Only the latter are single window system-compatible,
DESIGN OF A SINGLE WINDOW SYSTEM FOR E-GOVERNMENT SERVICES 5

that is, capable of being incorporated into such a system, and are included in a
subset P of K.
The actual incorporation of a procedure into the single window system, defined
for present purposes as the moment when the procedure becomes fully operational
and thus accessible to the general public, is the culmination of three processes:
(1) administrative, political and/or legal approval of the single window system-
compatible technology to be used for executing the procedure (if such approval has
not already been granted); (2) upgrading the procedure to that technology; and (3)
implementing the procedure with the new technology in the system itself. Once
incorporated, a procedure is said to “belong” to the system.
For technologies not (yet) approved, it is assumed that the planner knows which
ones would receive approval and how many whole periods the approval process
would take. The cost of the process is chargeable to the entity responsible for the
procedure. The upgrading of a procedure from its current execution technology
to a new one also takes a known whole number of periods. During this process,
the procedure continues to be executed by the current technology but the new one
replaces it as soon as the upgrade and implementation processes are complete.
To illustrate the foregoing, consider the case of four possible technologies num-
bered 1 through 4 and a procedure currently executed by Technology 1 but which
could be executed by any of the other three technologies. Assume that the planning
horizon consists of five periods and that the technology upgrade times are known.
More specifically, upgrading from Technology 1 to Technology 2 or 3 takes one pe-
riod while upgrading from Technology 1, 2 or 3 to Technology 4 takes two periods.
Any other upgrade (e.g., from Technology 2 to Technology 3) is not permitted. The
evolution of this procedure through the different technology upgrades is depicted
as a network graph in Figure 1. Gray nodes indicate which technology executes
the procedure in each period. As can be seen, Technology 1 is used in Period 1,
Technology 3 is used in Periods 2, 3, and 4, and Technology 4 is used in Period 5.
Dark gray nodes correspond to periods in which a technology change starts. Black
arrows indicate that the procedure is executed with the same technology in two
consecutive periods and dashed arrows that a technology change is being made. In
the example, the change from Technology 1 to Technology 3 begins at Period 1 and
is complete in Period 2, whereas the change from Technology 3 to Technology 4
starts in Period 3 and takes two periods to be completed in Period 5.
As regards costs, there are three types corresponding to the three above-named
processes necessary for incorporating a procedure into a single window system: the
approval process cost, the technology upgrade cost and the implementation cost.
The incorporation of a procedure into the system is subject to two conditions:
(1) the procedure must be executed by a technology that can be incorporated into
the system, that is, a technology in subset P of K; and (2) all the other procedures
that are a prerequisite to the procedure in question must belong to the system as of
its incorporation (i.e., they must be previously or simultaneously incorporated into
the system).
To illustrate the second condition, Figure 2 shows the execution relations among
seven procedures administered by four different government entities. In order to in-
corporate Procedure 1 into a single window system, procedures 2, 3 and 6 must also
be incorporated as they are prerequisites to Procedure 1. Similarly, for Procedure 2
to be incorporated, its prerequisites, procedures 4 and 5, must also be incorporated.
6 CATALDO, FERRER, REY AND SAURÉ

Figure 1. Evolution of a procedure’s execution technology over time.

Finally, for Procedure 3 to be incorporated, its prerequisite Procedure 7 must be


incorporated as well.

Figure 2. Example of execution relations among procedures.

In each period, the government assigns the various government entities a budget
exclusively for carrying out e-government initiatives. In addition, the government
may allocate extra funding to entities via special items in the government budget.
In neither case may funds remaining at period’s end be carried over to the next
period.
The social welfare generated by a single window system design arises in two ways:
(1) through the addition of a procedure to the system, and (2) via the upgrade of
a procedure’s execution technology. The social welfare benefits so generated are
associated with each individual procedure and are ultimately the result of: (i) a
DESIGN OF A SINGLE WINDOW SYSTEM FOR E-GOVERNMENT SERVICES 7

reduction in the procedure’s execution time, benefitting citizens through time saved
and the public entity through more efficient use of resources; and (ii) an increase in
the number of procedures that can be executed in each period.

5. Mathematical formulation of the problem. The proposed solution ap-


proach to the single window system design problem consists in building and solving
a mathematical programming model that determines which procedures are to be
incorporated into the system, which technology will be used to execute each one
of them in each period, and the timing of their implementation, while maximizing
social welfare. The model also supports decision-making on the assignment of extra
funding to the different government entities.

5.1. Sets, indexes and parameters. The various elements of the mathematical
programming model and their notation are set out below.
Sets:
I : set of choosable procedures.
T : set of periods in the planning horizon.
K : set of available technologies for executing procedures.
S : set of government entities responsible for the execution of the proce-
dures.
Fs : set of procedures executed by entity s, where s ∈ S and Fs ⊆ I.
P : set of technologies that permit the integration of a procedure into the
single window system, where P ⊆ K.

Indexes:
i, j : procedure index, where i, j ∈ I.
t, θ : period index, where t, θ ∈ T .
k, h : technology index, where k, h ∈ K.
s : government entity index, where s ∈ S.

Parameters:
ETik : equal to 1 if procedure i is executed with technology k in the initial
period (t = 1), otherwise 0.
RTij : equal to 1 if procedure j is a direct prerequisite for the execution of
procedure i, otherwise 0.
RLik : equal to 1 if procedure i can be executed by technology k, otherwise 0.
RSkh : equal to 1 if it is possible an upgrade from technology k to technology
h (independent of the procedure), otherwise 0.
BSst : budget allocated to public entity s in period t for carrying out e-
government initiatives.
BGt : total additional funding for e-government initiatives in period t.
T Lik : estimated duration (in number of periods) of the approval process for
executing procedure i with technology k.
T Tikh : estimated duration (in number of periods) of the upgrade of procedure
i from technology k to technology h.
T Vi : estimated duration (in number of periods) of the implementation of
procedure i in the single window system.
CVit : cost of the implementation of procedure i in the single window system
in period t.
8 CATALDO, FERRER, REY AND SAURÉ

t
CTikh : cost of the upgrade of procedure i from technology k to technology h
in period t.
CLtik : cost of the approval process for executing procedure i with technology
k, when the process starts in period t.
DDAtik : estimate of the number of times procedure i will be requested by the
public in period t if executed by technology k.
t
BTik : estimate of the social benefit obtained in period t if procedure i is
executed by technology k.
BVit : estimate of the social benefit associated with procedure i being exe-
cutable as part of the single window system in period t.
γt : estimate of the proportion of DDAtik that will be requested by the
public through the single window system in period t.
r : social discount rate by period.

5.2. Variables. The decision variables used to build the model are:

vuti : equal to 1 if the implementation of procedure i in the single window


system starts in period t, otherwise 0.
vati : equal to 1 if procedure i belongs to the single window system in period
t, otherwise 0.
attikh : equal to 1 if the process of upgrading procedure i from technology k to
technology h starts in period t, otherwise 0.
tctikh : equal to 1 if the process of upgrading procedure i from technology k to
technology h ends in period t, otherwise 0.
tatik : equal to 1 if procedure i is executed by technology k in period t, oth-
erwise 0.
t
alik : equal to 1 if the approval process for executing procedure i with tech-
nology k starts in period t, otherwise 0.
bets : the amount of extra funding for e-government initiatives the central
planner must allocate to government entity s at start of period t.

5.3. Constraints. The design of the single window system must stay within the
overall government budget allocation as well as within the budget of each govern-
ment entity. The total budget for each entity is made up of its own budget and the
extra funding allocated to it by the central planner. This total is used to defray
the costs of the three processes involved in the incorporation of procedures into
the system, namely, the processes of: (i) approving new technologies for executing
procedures, (ii) upgrading procedures’ execution technologies, and (iii) implement-
ing procedures into the system. Constraints (1) and (2) impose the two budget
constraints:
X X X XX X
CLtik alik
t
+ t
CTikh attikh + CVit vuti ≤ BSst + bets ∀ s ∈ S, t ∈ T .
i∈Fs k∈K i∈Fs k∈K h∈K i∈Fs
(1)
X
bets t
≤ BG ∀t ∈ T .
s∈S
(2)

The technology for executing each procedure in the initial period is identified by
Constraint (3) below.
ta1ik = ETik ∀ i ∈ I, k ∈ K. (3)
DESIGN OF A SINGLE WINDOW SYSTEM FOR E-GOVERNMENT SERVICES 9

The central planner allows each procedure to be executed by only one technology
in each period. Also, the model ensures that a procedure’s execution technology
in a given period is the same as the one used in the previous period if a planned
technology upgrade has not been completed. Furthermore, as soon as a technological
upgrade is complete, the new technology must go into operation. These various
conditions are imposed by constraints (4), (5) and (6) as follows:
X
tatik = 1 ∀ i ∈ I, t ∈ {2, . . . , T }.
k∈K
(4)
X X
tat−1
ik + tct−1
ihk = tatik + tctikh ∀ i ∈ I, k ∈ K, t ∈ {2, . . . , T }.
h∈K: RShk =1 h∈K: RSkh =1
(5)
t+T T
tcikh ikh = attikh ∀ k, h ∈ K : RSkh = 1, i ∈ I, t ∈ T .
(6)

The terms on the left-hand side of Constraint (5) specify the execution technol-
ogy for procedure i in period t − 1 while the terms on the right-hand side specify
the technology for the same procedure in the following period. Constraint (6) di-
rectly relates the attikh variables with the tctikh variables, ensuring that a technology
upgrade is “activated” once the corresponding implementation time has elapsed.
Constraint (7) ensures that only those technologies which have been approved
for the execution of a given procedure can be upgraded.
X X θ−T Lik
tatik + tctihk ≤ RLik + alik ∀ i ∈ I, k ∈ K, t ∈ T . (7)
h∈K θ∈T : θ≤ t

The left-hand side of Constraint (7) indicates whether technology k is the exe-
cution technology for procedure i in period t. For this to be the case, the sum of
the terms on the right-hand side must be at least 1. The right-hand side will be
equal to 1 if the decision has already been made to take the necessary steps to ob-
tain approval for executing
P procedure i with technology k in the period in question.
θ−T Lik
The latter will be so if θ≤ t alik has taken a value of 1 at least T Lik periods
earlier. It is then certain that the approval process has concluded.
The model must also incorporate the relationship between the time at which the
implementation of a procedure in the system starts, represented by variable vuti ,
and the time at which the implementation is complete and the procedure “belongs”
to the system, represented by variable vati . It must also ensure that a procedure
belongs to the system only if all of its prerequisite procedures also belong to it.
These conditions are imposed by constraints (8), (9) and (10) as follows:
X
vati = vuθ−T
i
Vi
∀ i ∈ I, t ∈ T : T Vi < t ≤ T. (8)
θ∈T : θ≤t
X X X
vati ≤ tatik + tctihk ∀ i ∈ I, t ∈ T . (9)
k∈P k∈P h∈K: RShk =1

vati ≤ vatj ∀ i, j ∈ I : RTij = 1, t ∈ T . (10)


Certain decisions within the design problem may be made only once, either in
a given period or over the entire planning horizon. This is the case with decisions
regarding the start of a technology upgrade (attikh ), an upgrade’s completion (tctikh )
t
the approval of a technology (alik ), and the start of the implementation of a pro-
cedure in the single window system (vuti ). The necessary constraints are given by
10 CATALDO, FERRER, REY AND SAURÉ

(11)–(17) below.
X
attikh ≤ 1 ∀ k, h ∈ K : RSkh = 1, i ∈ I. (11)
t∈T
X
tctikh ≤ 1 ∀ k, h ∈ K : RSkh = 1, i ∈ I. (12)
t∈T
X
t
alik ≤1 ∀ i ∈ I, k ∈ K. (13)
t∈T
X
vuti ≤ 1 ∀ i ∈ I. (14)
t∈T
XX
attikh ≤ 1 ∀ i ∈ I, t ∈ T . (15)
k∈K h∈K
X
tatik ≤ 1 ∀ i ∈ I, t ∈ T . (16)
k∈K
XX
tctikh ≤ 1 ∀ i ∈ I, t ∈ T . (17)
k∈K h∈K
Finally, certain decisions are infeasible due to their timing or other technical
considerations. Constraints (18), (19) and (20) ensure that upgrades (legal, techno-
logical or system related) only start in periods that allow them to finish before the
end of the planning horizon. Constraint (21) guarantees that a technology upgrade
can only finish after the first T Tikh periods as that is the time required to upgrade
from one technology to the other. Constraint (22) prevents a procedure from being
part of the single window system during the first T Vi periods of the planning hori-
zon since that is the time required for its implementation. Constraints (23), (24)
and (25) ensure that only feasible decisions, from a technological point of view, are
considered in the model.
vuti = 0 ∀ i ∈ I, t ∈ T : (T − T Vi ) < t ≤ T. (18)
t
alik =0 ∀ i ∈ I, k ∈ K, t ∈ T : (T − T Lik ) < t ≤ T. (19)
attikh =0 ∀ k, h ∈ K, i ∈ I, t ∈ T : (T − T Tikh ) < t ≤ T. (20)
tctikh =0 ∀ k, h ∈ K, i ∈ I, t ∈ T : 1 ≤ t ≤ T Tikh . (21)
vati =0 ∀ i ∈ I, t ∈ T : 1 ≤ t ≤ T Vi . (22)
attikh =0 ∀ k, h ∈ K : RSkh 6= 1, i ∈ I, t ∈ T . (23)
tctikh =0 ∀ k, h ∈ K : RSkh 6= 1, i ∈ I, t ∈ T . (24)
t
alik =0 ∀ i ∈ I, k ∈ K : Rik 6= 1, t ∈ T . (25)
5.4. The proposed model. The objective of the central planner is to maximize
the social welfare benefits, defined as the benefits of executing procedures with cer-
tain technologies, the first term in Equation (26), plus the benefits of incorporating
a procedure into the single window system, the second term in Equation (26), all
adjusted by a social discount rate.
The problem of choosing procedures for a single window system can then be
formulated as the following mixed integer programming model:
( ! )
t
XXX BTik DDAtik X t X X BVit DDAt
max t
· tatik + tcik + t
ik
· γ t · vati
t∈T i∈I k∈K
(1 + r) t∈T i∈I
(1 + r)
h∈K
(26)
DESIGN OF A SINGLE WINDOW SYSTEM FOR E-GOVERNMENT SERVICES 11

subject to constraints (1)-(25).

6. Case study and computational results. In this section, we apply the pro-
posed mathematical programming approach to the case of the single window system
initiative launched by the government of Chile. The solution generated by the model
is compared to that obtained through the Chilean government’s own prioritization
method for ordering the incorporation of government procedures into the single win-
dow system, denoted by MPT. The necessary information on existing procedures,
budgets for e-government initiatives, estimates of annual demand for each procedure
and the costs and completion times for the three procedure incorporation processes
were supplied by SEGPRES. We begin by reviewing some of this information and
the details of the instance used to apply and evaluate our model. We then present
the results of the model and compare them to those obtained using MPT.
6.1. Evaluation instance. The database provided by SEGPRES for this study
contained 1,364 procedures from which to select those to be incorporated into the
single window system. The procedures were administered by 120 different public
institutions. The planning horizon for the evaluation instance was set at 6 years
by SEGPRES, which corresponds to the length of a presidential term in Chile by
the year of this study. Table 1 describes the relevant information about procedures
available in the database.
Table 1. Attributes contained in the SEGPRES database for each procedure.

Attribute Description
Name Name of the procedure.
Institution Name of the government institution administering the pro-
cedure.
Description Brief description of the procedure.
Demand Estimate of the number of annual requests for the procedure
by type of execution technology and incorporation status in
the single window system (i.e., whether or not it belongs to
the system).
Technology level Information on the procedure’s current execution technology.
Technology upgrade Information on the time required for a technology upgrade.
Prerequisites List of direct prerequisite procedures.
Successors List of procedures for which the procedure is a prerequisite
(i.e., list of direct successors).
Classification Specifies the type of procedure (i.e, leaf, root, intermediate
or independent).
Related procedures List of all directly related procedures (prerequisites plus suc-
cessors).
Technology impediments Information on the impediments to the execution of the pro-
cedure by a given technology and the estimated time required
to overcome the impediments.

Procedures can be classified into four types: leaf, intermediate, root and indepen-
dent. Leaf procedures are those that do not have prerequisites but are prerequisites
for others. Intermediate procedures are those that have prerequisites and are pre-
requisites for others. Root procedures have prerequisites but are not prerequisites
for other procedures. Finally, independent procedures are those that neither have
nor are prerequisites for others. From the total number of procedures, 27% were
12 CATALDO, FERRER, REY AND SAURÉ

classified as leaf procedures, 11% as intermediate procedures, 10% as root proce-


dures and 52% as independent procedures.
On average, a procedure is directly related to 1.75 other procedures. This number
increases to 2.56 if independent procedures are excluded from the computation. The
largest number of successors and the largest number of prerequisites, whether direct
or indirect, for a procedure are 101 and 18, respectively. These two figures give us
an idea of the complexity of the precedence relationships involved in the design of
the single window system.
In terms of workload for the different government institutions, out of the 120
institutions, 27 of them (23%) only administer one procedure and 43 (36%) are
each responsible for 10 or more procedures.
As regards execution technologies, we consider seven alternatives: (1) conven-
tional (i.e., paper forms and documents, filing cabinets); (2) telephony; (3) tele-
phony plus conventional; (4) Internet; (5) Internet plus conventional; (6) telephony
plus Internet; (7) telephony plus Internet plus conventional. According to the infor-
mation provided by SEGPRES, 1,081 out of 1,364 procedures (79%) were handled
conventionally whereas only 105 procedures (7.6%) were executed by a technol-
ogy involving the Internet, making the procedure eligible for incorporation into the
single window system right from the first period of the planning horizon.
The details presented above give us an idea of the size of the evaluation instance
used to test the proposed model. For example, the number of binary variables atikht
and tctikh is 2 × 1, 364 × 7 × 7 × 6 = 802,032. As for the constraints, we consider
21 possible technology upgrades. Thus, Constraint (6) alone, the one imposing
the largest number of restrictions, translates into 21 × 1, 364 × 6 = 171,864 of
them. Constraints (11) and (12) together contribute with 2 × 21 × 1, 364 = 57, 288
additional restrictions.
6.2. Single window system generated by MPT. The government’s MPT
method recommended the incorporation of 60 procedures into the single window
system over the 6-year planning horizon. The selected procedures are listed in Table
2. This solution, however, did not take into account budget constraints. In addition,
the method neither provided an estimate of the social benefits associated with the
incorporation of the 60 procedures nor suggested a chronological ordering for the
incorporation of the procedures. Later in this section we will use the proposed model
to estimate the social benefits associated with the MPT solution. Furthermore, the
MPT method did not consider the precedence relationships between procedures.
For example, one of the 60 procedures in the solution was T14, for which T836 is a
prerequisite. However, the latter was not included in the solution. This means that
despite being selected, T14 could not be implemented, providing no social benefits.
Finally, it is important to note that MPT decisions are based on the estimated
increase in the number of requests the incorporation of a procedure into the single
window system will bring with it. The MPT method follows a “greedy” approach
with respect to these values, where the total number of procedures to be incorpo-
rated is pre-specified. It ignores costs, precedence relationships and the time for the
incorporation of the different procedures.
6.3. Single window system generated by the proposed model. The pro-
posed model was used to solve two cases. In the first case, the model was forced to
select 60 procedures without budget constraints, making the solution comparable to
the one generated by MPT. The second case reflected the priorities of the Govern-
ment Reform and Modernization Project (PRYME) discussed earlier and imposed a
DESIGN OF A SINGLE WINDOW SYSTEM FOR E-GOVERNMENT SERVICES 13

Table 2. Procedures chosen for incorporation into the single win-


dow system by MPT.

N Code Procedure
1 T14 Application for assistance under agreement with National Fund for the Dis-
abled.
2 T29 Application for severance pay.
3 T235 Application for water rights.
4 T249 Application for firearm registration.
5 T289 Application for military service status certificate.
8 T354 Application for FONASA national health card (first time or renewal).
7 T365 Expungement of criminal record.
8 T497 Application for change of ground use.
9 T553 Application for record of border crossings (entries and exits).
10 T589 Request for authorization to lease a fish-farming concession to a third party.
11 T591 Request for authorization to transfer a fish-farming concession to a third
party a.
12 T598 Application for modification of a fish-farming concession.
13 T615 Application for expansion of extractive fishing activities.
14 T616 Application for extension of extractive fishing activities expiry date.
15 T618 Request for fish-farming authorization or later modifications.
16 T622 Request for authorization to continue extractive fishing activities
17 T623 Authorization to commence extractive fishing activities.
18 T624 Authorization to commence hydrobiological resources processing activities.
19 T755 Legalization of documents issued in Chile or abroad.
20 T759 Request for criminal record.
21 T782 Primary medical attention, women’s health program.
22 T885 Abandoned residence report.
23 T886 Renouncement of housing subsidy , unblocking of savings accounts.
24 T899 Registration update or modification.
25 T900 Transfer of land title by inheritance.
26 T911 Application for housing subsidy extension.
27 T921 Application for transfer basic housing program registration.
28 T922 Application for tourist visa extension.
29 T931 Application for permanent residence by student visa holder.
30 T932 Application for permanent residence by employment contract visa holder.
31 T933 Application for permanent residence by temporary resident visa holder.
32 T1044 Declaration of initiation of economic activities and/or national identity
number registration for natural persons (Chileans or foreigners).
33 T1064 National identify card application for Chileans.
34 T1071 Passport application for Chileans.
35 T1073 Request for registration of family dependents.
36 T1075 Marriage license application.
37 T1076 Motor vehicle registration application.
38 T1078 Motor vehicle registration transfer.
39 T1088 Application for temporary import of goods.
40 T1089 Application for temporary import of goods for processing.
41 T1091 Private customs warehouse declaration.
42 T1232 Request for certification as a private non-profit organization.
43 T1237 Request for certification of fish products exports.
44 T1239 Permit for exporting bivalve mollusks to the EU
45 T1240 Permit for exporting bivalve mollusks to the U.S.
46 T1252 Application to commence extractive fishing and report a change of vessel.
47 T1256 Application for fish-farming concession.
48 T1262 Request for registration as small-scale fisher.
49 T1274 Application for radio broadcasting license.
50 T1312 Registration of private pension fund management company.
51 T1314 Application for retirement, old-age, invalidity or survivor’s pension benefits.
52 T1320 Personal credit information certificate.
53 T1336 Application for temporary/permanent gas transport and distribution per-
mit.
54 T1345 Appeal of medical certificate refusal for non-compliance with conditions.
55 T1347 Appeal of family allowance refusal.
56 T1348 Appeal of refusal of a public service.
57 T1349 Appeal of refusal of pension or other benefits.
58 T1369 Application for family register passbook.
59 T1382 Registration of credit rating agencies.
60 T1404 Value-added tax rebate for duty-free zone sales.

budget constraint but no set number of procedures to be incorporated. The model


was programmed in GAMS 23.8.1 and solved using CPLEX 12.4.0.0 on a 2.58 GHz
PC with 6GB of RAM. The results for the two cases are presented below.

6.3.1. Case 1: Solution comparable to MPT, no budget constraints. The solution


time for the MPT-comparable result (60 procedures and no budget constraints) was
3 minutes. The procedures chosen by the model are listed in Table 3. As can be seen
14 CATALDO, FERRER, REY AND SAURÉ

from Tables 2 and 3, only 13 procedures –those whose code number is highlighted
in bold font– coincide with the 60 selected by MPT.

Table 3. Procedures chosen for incorporation into the single win-


dow system by the proposed model.

Code Procedure
T95 Registration of business in Business Register
T96 Registration of land title
T98 Consultation of Business Register
T152 Application for subsidy to purchase indigenous land
T197 Certificate of registration in Business Register
T206 Application for police and prison guard retirement pension
T209 Application for family allowance for police pensioners
T255 Registration as an importer, exporter, trader, repairer or regular user of
firearms).
T289 Application for military service status certificate
T354 Application for FONASA national health system card (first regis-
tration or renewal
T361 Application for daycare centre
T474 School health program registration
T510 Application for child survivor’s pension (Chilean Army)
T511 Application for widow’s pension (Chilean Army)
T549 Application for child survivor’s pension (Chilean Air Force)
T550 Application for widow’s pension (Chilean Air Force)
T599 Application for child survivor’s pension (Chilean Navy)
T600 Application for widow’s pension (Chilean Navy)
T617 Approval of original fish-farming proposal or modifications
T713 Proof of current registration as a non-profit foundation or corporation
T715 Incorporation of churches and religious organization
T744 Permit for minor child to travel abroad
T747 Legalization of education certificates and degrees
T757 Legalization of photocopies for use abroad
T769 Official translations
T770 Tourist visa
T771 Temporary resident visa
T772 Employment contract visa
T782 Primary medical attention, women’s health program
T931 Application for permanent residence by student visa holder
T932 Application for permanent residence by employment contract visa
holder
T933 Application for permanent residence by temporary resident visa
holder
T934 Application for student visa
T935 Application for temporary resident visa
T937 Application for employment contract visa
T1026 Certifications
T1029 Online sworn statement or correction
T1030 Online value-added tax return or correction
T1031 Online tax return or correction
T1050 Password for online access to Internal Taxation Service
T1055 Application for criminal record
T1057 Stamping of documents
T1059 Registration of death
T1060 Registration of birth
T1064 Application for Chilean identity card
T1066 Application for death certificate
T1067 Application for civil marriage certificate
T1068 Application for birth certificate
T1069 Application for family book
T1071 Application for passport
T1073 Request for registration of family dependents
T1075 Application for marriage license
T1076 Application for motor vehicle registration
T1085 Application for release of body by Coroner
T1091 Private customs warehouse declaration
T1098 Import of merchandise
T1237 Request for certification of fish products exports
T1251 Submission of statistical data
T1254 Application for fish-farming authorization
T1267 Certification of origin of fish catch and related products

The solutions generated by the two approaches provide significantly different


levels of benefits. For purposes of calculating the benefits of the MPT solution,
the model was forced to select the same 60 procedures chosen by MPT under the
DESIGN OF A SINGLE WINDOW SYSTEM FOR E-GOVERNMENT SERVICES 15

assumption that all 60 are implemented in the first period using a technology com-
patible with the single window system. We also assumed that a procedure begins
producing benefits only from the period in which all of its prerequisite procedures
have also been incorporated.
The total social benefit produced by the model’s own selection of 60 procedures
(i.e., the 60 procedures that maximized the total social benefit) turned out to be
1.6 times greater than that associated with the MPT solution. The difference is
attributable mainly to the fact, already noted above, that many of the 60 procedures
chosen by MPT could not in practice provide any benefits because one or more of
the prerequisites for their execution were not included in the solution.
6.3.2. Case 2: PRYME problem, with budget constraint. For the case reflecting the
PRYME criteria, which included a budget constraint but set no limit on the number
of procedures to be incorporated, the model identified 111 procedures. The total
social benefit associated with this solution was 1.85 times higher than that obtained
by incorporating the procedures chosen by MPT, and the solution time was near 30
minutes. The solution for this case also suggested to carry out technology upgrades
for other 129 procedures. These procedures, although not being incorporated into
the single windows system, also contributed to the achieved social benefit of the
solution.
Some details regarding the incorporation of the 111 procedures into the single
window system and about the suggested technology upgrades, as determined by the
model, are shown in Table 4. The first row, “Implementation in process”, displays
the number of procedures whose process of implementation into the system is to
begin each year. The number of procedures whose implementation is complete
each year, and thus are fully incorporated into the system, is shown in the second
row labeled “Implemented”. Since the implementation process for a procedure
is estimated to take 12 months, the number procedures in process each year is
equal to the number of procedures implemented and thus executable the following
year. Finally, the other columns, labeled “Technology X”, show the evolution of
the number of procedures that are upgraded to each technology year by year over
the course of the planning horizon.

Table 4. Results for the PRYME problem.

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Total


Implementation 7 25 36 15 28 0 111
in process
Implemented 0 7 25 36 15 28 111
Technology 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Technology 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Technology 3 0 23 0 11 16 0 50
Technology 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 1
Technology 5 0 0 29 21 14 19 83
Technology 6 0 0 0 0 0 5 5
Technology 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Two sets of procedures from the 111 chosen by the model were selected to illus-
trate the evolution of the execution technologies from year to year over the planning
16 CATALDO, FERRER, REY AND SAURÉ

horizon. The sets consist of all those falling into the “Legal Status” and “Work”
thematic areas under the procedure classification defined by SEGPRES. The 15
procedures in the “Legal Status” area are listed in Table 5, grouped according to
the government entity they are administered by.

Table 5. Procedures chosen by the model in the Legal Status area.

Government entity (Code) Name of procedure


National Mobilization - (T289) Application for military service status certificate.
Directorate
Ministry of Justice - (T713) Proof of current registration as a non-profit foun-
- dation or corporation.
- (T715) Incorporation of churches and religious organiza-
tion.
Ministry of External - (T757) Legalization of photocopies for use abroad.
Relations - (T769) Official translations.
- (T770) Tourist visa.
- (T771) Temporary resident visa.
- (T772) Employment contract visa.
Ministry of the Interior - (T931) Application for permanent residence by student
visa holder.
- (T932) Application for permanent residence by employ-
ment contract visa holder.
- (T933) Application for permanent residence by tempo-
rary resident visa holder.
- (T934) Application for student visa.
- (T935) Application for temporary resident visa.
- (T937) Application for employment contract visa.
Civil Register and Iden- - (T1064) Application for Chilean identity card.
tification Service

The technology to be used for executing these procedures in each year is indi-
cated by the rows in Table 6, which also gives the year in which each procedure is
incorporated into the single window system. For example, procedures T931, T715,
T757, T769, T770, T771 and T772 are executed at the start of the horizon by
conventional technology (0). This technology is maintained through the first and
second year, before being upgraded to Internet technology (4) at the start of the
third year.
The “Work” area accounted for 4 of the 111 procedures chosen by the model.
These procedures are grouped in Table 7 according to the government entity re-
sponsible for them.
The technology to be used for executing the Work area procedures in each year
is indicated by the rows in Table 8, which also provides the year in which each
procedure is incorporated into the single window system.
An analysis of the 111 procedures chosen by the model for the evaluation instance
found that the eleven procedures T152, T206, T209, T361, T474, T1059, T1060,
T1076, T1091, T1251 and T1267 determined the incorporation of the other 100.
This is illustrated for procedures T206 and T1059 in figures 3 and 4, respectively.
DESIGN OF A SINGLE WINDOW SYSTEM FOR E-GOVERNMENT SERVICES 17

Table 6. Evolution of the execution technology and year of incor-


poration for Legal Status procedures.

Code Year
1 2 3 4 5 6 S.V.U.
T289 Tecn. 0 Tecn. 2 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 3
T713 Tecn. 0 Tecn. 0 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 3
T715 Tecn. 0 Tecn. 0 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 3
T757 Tecn. 0 Tecn. 0 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 3
T769 Tecn. 0 Tecn. 0 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 3
T770 Tecn. 0 Tecn. 0 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 3
T771 Tecn. 0 Tecn. 0 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 3
T772 Tecn. 0 Tecn. 0 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 3
T931 Tecn. 0 Tecn. 2 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 3
T932 Tecn. 0 Tecn. 2 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 6 3
T933 Tecn. 0 Tecn. 2 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 7 3
T934 Tecn. 2 Tecn. 2 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 5 3
T935 Tecn. 2 Tecn. 2 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 3
T937 Tecn. 2 Tecn. 2 Tecn. 5 Tecn. 5 Tecn. 5 Tecn. 6 3
T932 Tecn. 0 Tecn. 2 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 7 3
T1064 Tecn. 0 Tecn. 3 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 3

Table 7. Procedures chosen by the model in the Work area.

Government entity (Code) Name of procedure


Police Social Benefits - (T206) Application for police and prison guard retirement
Directorate pension.
(DIPRECA)
- (T209) Application for family allowance for police pen-
sioners.
Internal Taxation Ser- - (T1050) Password for online access to Internal Taxation
vice
Service.
Civil Register and - (T1073) Request for registration of family dependents.
Identification Service

Table 8. Evolution of the execution technology and year of incor-


poration for Work procedures.

Code Year
1 2 3 4 5 6 S.V.U.
T206 Tecn. 0 Tecn. 3 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 3
T209 Tecn. 0 Tecn. 2 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 5 Tecn. 5 Tecn. 5 3
T1050 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 Tecn. 4 2
T1073 Tecn. 0 Tecn. 0 Tecn. 5 Tecn. 5 Tecn. 5 Tecn. 5 3
18 CATALDO, FERRER, REY AND SAURÉ

The network graphs in these figures represent the relationship between the two
procedures and their prerequisites.

Figure 3. Execution Figure 4. Execution


relation network show- relation network show-
ing prerequisite proce- ing prerequisite proce-
dures for procedure dures for procedure
T206. T1059.

7. Managerial insights. In this section, we summarize some managerial insights


obtained based on our experience analyzing and solving the case study above. First,
we would like to emphasize that, at a general level, tools such as the model described
in this paper allow decision-makers to conduct a more thorough analysis and obtain
a deeper understanding of the problem at hand. Furthermore, this type of tools
provides greater transparency to the decision-making process. At a technical level,
the weights given to multiple subjective decision factors are reduced to the compu-
tation of an objective performance metric such as the total social benefit associated
with a system design. Second, it is important to note that a greedy approach gen-
erates several inefficiencies. The unintended lack of foresight ultimately translates
into a reduced total social benefit. For example, in the particular case of this study,
the results indicate that a high priority should be given in the first periods to im-
plementing procedures executed through conventional means as they have a higher
social impact when incorporated into the single window system. Thus, the optimal
solution not only provides a recommendation regarding the procedures to incorpo-
rate into the system but also suggests that is necessary to build an upgrade path
for procedures, even for those that will not be part of the system.

8. Discussion and conclusions. The rapid advances in e-government technolo-


gies have prompted governments to rethink traditional ways of providing govern-
ment services. One of the new forms of service provision consists in the imple-
mentation of single window systems that provide citizens with one-stop procedures
for requesting government services or complying with obligations. These systems
do away with the need to personally visit multiple government entities in order to
obtain documents or other information required to make the request or perform
the obligation they ultimately desire. Implementation of single window systems
bring significant benefits for both citizens and governments, including shorter line-
ups at traditional service delivery points, specialized attention, intercommunication
DESIGN OF A SINGLE WINDOW SYSTEM FOR E-GOVERNMENT SERVICES 19

between government bodies, and simplification of procedures for delivering services


and other administrative tasks. But the complexities involved in designing single
window systems manually, given the interdependence of the procedures and the ex-
istence of various levels of technology for their execution, greatly complicates the
process of implementing such systems in an efficient and expeditious manner.
This paper proposes a novel methodology for determining which government ser-
vice procedures should be incorporated into a single window system and at what
time in the planning horizon. Whereas previously this process was carried out only
by partial selection methods, the proposed methodology adopts a global approach
that takes into account the relationships between different procedures and the avail-
able technologies. At the heart of the methodology is a mathematical programming
model that specifies the relationships between the various decisions involved in the
procedure selection problem. In particular, the model relates the period in which
a procedure changes state, whether by incorporation into the system or as a con-
sequence of an upgrade of the technology for executing it, to the conditions that
have to be satisfied for the change to take place. The approach also provides sup-
port for decisions regarding whether or not to approve technologies for executing
procedures and the use and allocation of budget funding. Inputs to the model
include information on demand for the procedures, implementation times and the
estimated benefits of incorporating procedures into the system at a given moment
in the planning horizon and using a given execution technology.
The application of the proposed model to the problem of determining which
government service procedures to incorporate into a single window system, and
when, can generate significant social welfare benefits while ensuring an efficient
use of available resources. This was demonstrated by a case study for testing the
model, which addressed the just-described problem faced by the government of Chile
in the design of its single window system. On the first test, in which the number of
procedures to be incorporated was set at 60 and no budget constraint was imposed,
the model generated a solution whose social benefits were 1.6 times higher than the
solution arrived at by the government’s own prioritization method. On the second
test, with a budget constraint applied but no limit on the number of procedures to
be incorporated, the model delivered a solution incorporating 111 procedures whose
social benefits were 1.85 times higher than those identified using the government
approach.
In general terms, tools such as the model we propose enable decision-makers to
conduct a more thorough analysis and obtain a deeper understanding of the single
window system design problem. In the particular case addressed in this study, the
model also ensured greater transparency given that, at a technical level, the weight
of subjective factors in the decision process was reduced due to the application of
objective performance measures such as the estimation of the social welfare benefits
generated by a given system design.
Finally, one aspect of the problem the proposed methodology did not consider
was the impact of an increase in the demand for a given procedure on the demand
for procedures that are prerequisite to it. Extending the model to incorporate this
factor and thereby strengthen its performance would therefore provide an interesting
line of inquiry for future research.

Acknowledgments. This research was partially funded by Complex Engineering


Systems Institute (CONICYT – PIA – FB0816; ICM P-05-004-F).
20 CATALDO, FERRER, REY AND SAURÉ

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Received March 2016; revised November 2016.


E-mail address: aecatald@uc.cl
E-mail address: jferrer@ing.puc.cl
E-mail address: pablo.rey.cl@gmail.com
E-mail address: asaure@uottawa.ca