I’ve heard a lot of discussion lately in our office asking the question, why can’t government eCommerce be more like Amazon? Better yet: why can’t the government just use Amazon? But there are differences between commercial eCommerce websites and government websites and for good reason. The differences between government eCommerce and eCommerce for commercial business might be difficult to notice at first glance, but these differences are key to a successful government eCommerce solution.

Amazon’s mission statement is: “to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” Basically to part people from their money and while making a profit. Sure there is a good dose of customer service in there, with quick delivery and easy returns, but all that just points to their bottom line: profit.

Government is not a commercial business and it shouldn’t be treated that way. The mission of the government website is to support the war fighter or other government personnel with the products they need at the least cost to the taxpayer.

So why would you choose an eCommerce solution for government that’s designed for commercial business? You shouldn’t, and this is why:

  • An eCommerce solution protects the integrity of government by providing oversight.
  • It prevents malfeasance by utilizing Internal Controls.
  • Weak or exposed areas are mitigated by Risk Management.
  • It helps the government prepare for oversight with Self Auditing / Audit Readiness.

Differentiating Capabilities for Government eCommerce

The differences between government eCommerce and eCommerce for commercial business might be difficult to notice at first glance, but these differences are key to a successful government eCommerce solution.

• Rules-based capabilities allow your work to guide your choices and options.
• Interaction with accounting systems provides data quality where it matters most.
• Workflows for pre-purchase approvals support authority boundaries.
• Vendor contract management tools help with monitoring.
• Auditing for inappropriate purchases keeps the business process honest.

Sure government eCommerce sites could learn a thing or two from Amazon about product descriptions and shipment status, but the government really is a different animal and should be considered as such.  What do you think about the difference between commercial and government eCommerce.  Join the conversation at Turnlevel.com.