copy the linklink copied!2. The evolution from e-government to digital government in Mexico

This chapter provides an overview of Mexico’s e-government efforts and its collaboration with the OECD to strengthen the use of information and communication technologies to deliver better government. The chapter goes over the main findings and policy recommendations on e-government advanced by the OECD to Mexico in the 2005 OECD e-Government Review of Mexico and the 2011 Public Governance Review of Mexico. Based on those assessments, the chapter identifies pervasive challenges the country has faced in using technology effectively to improve public sector performance and deliver better public services.


Mexico was early to recognise the value of technology in helping reform the public sector and has since been making efforts to achieve excellence. In 2005, the Mexican Ministry of Public Administration (SFP) requested the OECD’s support in the form of an OECD e Government Review. The review advanced an assessment of e-government policies, their context, implementation, leadership and organisational challenges, as well as user focus in service delivery and monitoring and evaluation practices. This helped identify both outstanding challenges and opportunities that resulted in the formulation of policy recommendations.

While Mexico had been extensively using ICTs in government since the late 1990s, it wasn’t until 2001 that the government of Mexico, through the, now extinct, President’s Office for Government Innovation, launched a comprehensive e-government public policy seeking to modernise the Mexican government (OECD, 2005). The new e-government policy became a central element of public sector reform as it became one of the six pillars of the Presidential Agenda for Good Government in late 2002 (OECD, 2005). At the time, the OECD 2005 e-Government Study of Mexico highlighted some notable achievements:

  • from 2001 to 2004 the number of services available on line went up from 170 to 922, a 442% increase

  • the launch of a single government portal that was internationally recognised as a good practice

  • back office improvements in specific areas, such as pensions, taxes, permits, inquiries, public procurement and business services.

Despite these achievements, significant barriers and challenges were identified, including:

  • Budgetary barriers: Inflexible budgetary arrangements, uncertain future funds and limited funding did not allow for effective resource sharing, sustainable investments or adequate planning frameworks for e-government projects.

  • Regulatory barriers: Complex regulations, lack of recognition of e-government processes and lack of regulatory flexibility were found to be the most important regulatory barriers for e-government development.

  • Digital divide: The digital divide significantly hindered the impact and relevance of e-government. Indeed, the share of Mexicans who had access to the Internet in 2001 was a bare 7% and by 2004, two years after the launch of E-Mexico, Mexico’s connectivity policy, despite doubling access in just two years, still only 14.1% of the population was using the Internet, significantly lower than the OECD average of 50.5% by 2004 (World Bank, 2018).

  • Insufficient institutionalisation: E-government efforts were mostly driven top down, under the leadership of the President’s Office for Government Innovation. However, the strategic value of e-government wasn’t clearly recognised across all ministries and institutions, nor its potential for supporting other objectives of the Good Government Agenda.

  • Need of new skillsets: Public institutions were facing the growing need of new competencies well beyond management. In particular, skills for re engineering processes was a particular area of focus, in particular as many senior managers still viewed e-government as a tool to digitalise and automate existing business processes.

  • Low levels of collaboration among agencies: Furthermore, the review found that collaboration among ministries and public institutions was at its infancy, leading to duplication of initiatives, services, registries and systems, in addition to significant fragmentation and lack of interoperability.

  • Transparency and service delivery: While some efforts had been carried out to make information more readily available, the review found that not enough had been done to tailor it as to make it more easily usable by the target audience. Similarly, while remarkable progress had been made in digitalising services, these were not very focused on the users, but rather replicated the offline experience.

  • Monitoring and evaluation: E-government projects were inconsistently assessed and, when evaluations did take place, they were carried out by comparing outcomes to predetermined targets, without sufficient consideration of broader service performance or unexpected outcomes. In addition, these assessments and the occasional cost-benefit analysis only looked at financial benefits, without sufficient consideration of other social benefits, which can be difficult to measure.

Based on these findings, the OECD Secretariat formulated tailored policy recommendations, with the input of OECD peers, to help Mexico make progress in the implementation of its e-government efforts (Box 2.1).

A little over five years later, the Mexican Ministry of Public Administration partnered again with the OECD to perform a Public Governance Review (OECD, 2011), which included an assessment of the evolution of e-government policies and their state of affairs at the time and advanced recommendations to push the e-government agenda forward in the context of an international financial crisis.

The 2011 Public Governance Review of Mexico highlighted the Mexican government’s achievements in advancing the e-government agenda, and in particular its efforts to support greater integration (i.e. Federal Inventory System, International Trade Single Window, integration of RUPA in the Citizens’ Portal) and interoperability (i.e. Interoperability Scheme, RUPA, RUV) and improve co-ordination and the institutional set up (adjustments made at the level of the Commission for the Development of e-Government [CIDGE]), advances in the existing legal and regulatory framework of e-government, and in efforts for measuring e-government performance.

However, the Public Governance Review of Mexico also found outstanding challenges that echoed those identified in the 2005 e-Government Study. Indeed, these included:

  • A gap in the alignment and articulation of the e-government strategy and other relevant ICT strategies

  • despite progress, the co-ordination function of the CIGDE remained relatively weak, which undermined the impact of e-government initiatives, particularly where horizontality and collaboration between stakeholders was required

  • uneven technological maturity of public organisations within and across levels of government

  • frameworks for ICT project justification and budgeting showed weaknesses and rigidities that could lead to project failures

  • the need for upskilling and ensuring desirable talent in key positions and functions for e-government implementation and development

  • the need to better share resources and reuse or scale-up existing solutions as appropriate

  • insufficient use and analysis of the wealth of data collected in the implementation of ICT projects.

copy the linklink copied!
Box 2.1. 2005 e-Government Study of Mexico: Key policy recommendations
  1. 1. Governance and co-ordination:

    • Strengthen leadership and enhance communication. Put in place an appropriate institutional set-up that reinforces core organisations’ capacities in key areas to permit e-government leaders to enable new ways of working; provide e-government leads with direct access to the heads of their respective organisations; develop a communications strategy focused on the reuse of solutions and spread of good practices.

    • Better integrate the horizontal components of e-government across the Good Government Agenda, identify areas of co-operation and commit to shared responsibility for achieving outcomes.

    • Promote efficient and effective collaboration, including a fundamental framework for collaboration, practical support and assistance to agencies, use of incentives and sanctions to foster collaboration, and re-examine how budget structures and processes can better enable collaboration.

  2. 2. Public service delivery and user focus:

    • Improve service quality regardless of its delivery channel, develop a multi-channel service delivery strategy. Promote seamless service delivery by encouraging institutions to work together to better develop integrated solutions. Promote the development of e government at the local level.

    • More actively engage citizens on line for policy making and let users know how the results from their involvement affects policy making.

    • Take steps to establish a single citizen registry to enhance the development of front and back office electronic services.

  3. 3. Frameworks and capabilities for delivery:

    • Promote transparent, efficient and flexible IT investments by developing strong business cases and increasing the flexibility of funding arrangements. Simplify and reduce regulatory barriers inside government.

    • Ensure the skills needed to work in an IT-enabled administration by extending IT training for all public servants and providing updated business skills for managers.

    • Ensure monitoring systems focus on value for government and users, beyond the achievement of predetermined goals, including the value of collaborative initiatives by developing government-wide outcome measures that can be embedded into individual agencies’ plans.

Source: OECD (2005), OECD E-Government Studies: Mexico,

Based on this assessment, the OECD Public Governance Review of Mexico advanced a number of policy recommendations for consideration by the Mexican government as a means of making progress in the implementation of e-government (Box 2.2). These recommendations were broadly taken on board despite the changing administration in 2012.

In 2012, the then incoming administration added to Mexico’s efforts in the first decade of the 21st century, resulting in a commendable effort in the use of technology “to achieve better government” (OECD, 2014). The commitment to continuous improvement using the world’s most digitally advanced countries as a benchmark helped lay the foundations for the government of Mexico to leapfrog its way forward to become a regional and global leader in digital government and open government data (see Chapter 1).

copy the linklink copied!
Box 2.2. Public Governance Review of Mexico of 2011:
  1. 1. Governance and co-ordination:

    • Improve alignment and articulation of the digital government strategy with other relevant ICT strategies.

    • Consider reinforcing the role of the Commission for the Development of e-Government as the body responsible for ensuring co-ordination in the use of ICT within the federal public administration and across levels of government.

    • Review funding arrangements and mechanisms for ICT and e government projects to improve the budgetary framework and remove existing barriers.

    • Create frameworks that foster the adoption, reuse and scale up of existing applications and solutions.

  2. 2. Enhancing state capability to support e-government implementation:

    • Make efforts to help public entities achieve a greater level of digital maturity, enabling them to perform in a more advanced digital and integrated environment. Consider extending the Evaluation Model for Digital Government across policy areas and levels of government to map the level of maturity across the whole public administration.

    • Complement the ICT strategic plans with robust business case models.

    • Ensure adequate levels of digital skills, knowledge and capacity, in particular in the body responsible for approving e-government projects.

    • Monitor closely, and optimising the use of, the wealth of results, information and evidence acquired through current projects.

    • Increase the number of services where the advanced digital signature can be used.


OECD (2014), “Recommendation of the Council on Digital Government Strategies”, OECD, Paris,

OECD (2011), Towards More Effective and Dynamic Public Management in Mexico, OECD Public Governance Reviews, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2005), OECD e-Government Studies: Mexico 2005, OECD e-Government Studies, OECD Publishing, Paris,

World Bank (2018), World Development Indicators (database), World Bank, Washington, DC,

Metadata, Legal and Rights

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. Extracts from publications may be subject to additional disclaimers, which are set out in the complete version of the publication, available at the link provided.

© OECD 2020

The use of this work, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found at