E-Gov a Bridge Across Agencies

WASHINGTON (07/12/2000) - The next step in electronic government is to integrate services across agency lines, governors and industry professionals agreed Monday at the annual National Governor's Association conference in State College, Pa.

Government cannot simply focus on how it presents services to its constituents; it must change the way it delivers the services entirely, members of the Information Technology Task Force said.

"If you don't transform how you deliver services," Wyoming Gov. Jim Geringer said, "it doesn't matter if you automate it."

Daniel Brophy, senior vice president for marketing and business development at Lockheed Martin Corp., said government is "coming to the end of the road" where citizens will be appeased simply by having a nice presentation and no true change in results.

"The challenge to governors is to look at the back room. It's not just the storefront anymore," he said.

Jane Wiseman, of Arthur Andersen LLP, said governments need to do two things to succeed: Empower citizens with self-service functions so they can solve many of the problems they face by themselves; and demonstrate leadership, beginning at the governor and chief information officer level.

By giving citizens the power to help themselves, Wiseman said, government can focus on more complicated problems.

North Dakota Gov. Edward Schafer went one step further. He said states must work with each other so that e-government services are shared across state lines.

Connecticut Gov. John Rowland said states should get out of the information technology business entirely, outsourcing most of the work.

"We're great at plowing snow, educating kids and keeping people in jail," Rowland said, but IT is "not our business and it will take forever to do it well. Time is the enemy, and government is never going to get there quick enough."

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