President Bush’s E-Government Initiative reflects his commitment to employ the latest technology to create a more efficient, citizen-centered Federal government. E-Government makes good business sense by making it simpler for citizens, business and government to receive timely, quality services. Through the use of Web-based technologies, government and citizens can now be closely linked, rapid access to the government information realized, and real efforts undertaken to streamline agency operations to eliminate bureaucratic waste by consolidating duplicative services and programs.
The E-Travel Initiative, launched in response to the President’s Management Agenda to improve the internal efficiency of the Federal government, addresses the challenge of reengineering the government’s travel function.
Today’s highly decentralized model for handling travel operations within the Federal Government has produced an administrative structure that is labor intensive, inconsistent in its ability to deliver common processes & procedures, and unable to effectively monitor travel operations at an agency-level. Individual agencies, in fact, operate standalone travel information systems that are duplicative in functionality and, in many cases, unable to handle integrated electronic voucher processing. Other agencies, by contrast, rely heavily on antiquated, paper-based systems for travel planning, vouchering, and reimbursement -- all of which can lead to errors, approval delays and payment delinquencies.
The Vision for E-Travel
E-Travel is leveraging proven industry practices with best-of-breed technologies to deliver a common, automated approach for managing the Government’s travel function. The new E-Travel service will significantly improve the efficiency of the Government’s travel management function by:
- Eliminating inefficient, stovepipe systems
- Broadening the range of travel-related services available to federal employees
- Providing immediate agency costs savings through on-line transaction processing
- Creating a self-service environment that is both easy-to-use and customer focused
Embracing the Future
E-Commerce has enabled the creation of a common, government-wide travel management service where direct connections to Global Distribution Systems for booking reservations and direct payments to banks and suppliers is possible. Even now, related Web technologies are supporting the expansion of commercial on-line self-service environments for travel management.
E-Travel promises to streamline government travel administration through a highly automated, unified Web-based environment that will track every step of the travel process – from travel authorization & reservations to payment of travel claims & voucher reconciliation. Both federal travelers and travel arrangers will be able to prepare and submit travel information electronically through a PC, laptop, or handheld electronic device—anytime, anywhere. On-line budget information, standardized audit reports and expedited approvals will now be possible. In sum, the E-Travel Service provides significant value through its consolidation, standardization, and automation of federal travel planning and management.