These three pylons play an important role for the completion of the Operational Programme of the Information Society. Nevertheless, if their action is independent, no desirable results will be brought on. This was one of the reasons for setting up the Information Technology Committee with the participation of representatives of the state, the wider public and private sectors as well as of the citizens who will be the users of the possibilities and beneficiaries of the Information Society.
For the first time in Greece, specific bodies were set up, such as the Special Secretariat for the Information Society, the Observatory for the Information Society etc. in order to better coordinate the operation and completion of the Operational Programme and realize the vision of the digital era in our country so as not to be the last one in the European Union.
The General Secretariats of the ministries play a special role; they draw up and implement the e-applications for the better and faster provision of services for the citizens. Other bodies of the wider public sector have undertaken important projects in the Operational Programme, such as the Greek Research and Technology Network, the Computer Technology Institute etc.
The role of the academic institutes, where not only knowledge and innovation are advanced, but applications that can influence our every day lives in practice, is an important one.
There can be no Information Society without the bodies of the market, such as SEPE (Federation of Hellenic Information Technology and Communications Enterprises), SEV (Federation of Greek Industries), SESMA (Hellenic Association of Management Consulting Firms) etc as well as the contractors of the projects, since they will be the ones who will implement the actions for the IS in the end.
The successful progress towards the Information Society depends to a great extend on the cooperation between the state and the private sector and the active participation of the citizens.
The role of the State, Private Sector and the Citizens in the IS
The role played by the state is a strategic one. In the progress towards the Information Society, the role of the state is a strategic one and considerably differentiated in relation to the past. The state maintains the role of the general headquarters promoting adaptations of the economy and society, strengthening the competitiveness of the economy, investing in human resources in an effort to be in the spearhead of the developments, while at the same time securing the interests and rights of the citizens in the digital era.
The state plays an important regulatory and normative role in the shaping of the market in the Information Society. This role is fulfilled by setting up a flexible and developing institutional framework as well as by securing the conditions of healthy competition.
For the provision of services for the citizens, the state promotes applications in public services, education, health and welfare, the environment and culture. Moreover, the state uses new technologies in order to guarantee the safety, operation of democracy and constitutional freedom, the access of all citizens to the new means of communication and the services provided etc. Finally, it supports the citizens who face difficulties in equally participating in the digital era.
The role of the private sector is a fundamental one. The basic tools in the Information Society (computers and their accessories, the software for the various applications, the infrastructures for the networks which will allow the transfer of information, the know-how etc) are produced and supported by the private sector. Consequently, the private sector plays a decisive role in the investment in new technologies, the production of new products, the provision of new services and the creation of new jobs in the Information Society.
In addition, however, the private sector is the driving force of every economy. As the adoption of new technologies by the private sector is expanded, the competitiveness benefits for enterprises are translated into a higher living standard for the employees, more robust economy and, finally, into citizens with a better quality of life.
Citizens participate actively in shaping the Information Society. Technology must provide services for the citizens and not vice versa. Citizens adopt new technologies not because this is dictated be the new trends, but because new technologies contribute practically to the improvement of their quality of lives and the continuous improvement of their skills. Citizens, in the framework of the Information Society, find more opportunities, have faster and more complete training and can respond faster to the demands. The active participation of the citizens in shaping the Information Society allows for the biggest possible utilisation of the benefits provided by technology throughout the society.