Online government -- Can they do IT?

The federal government yesterday pledged it would pay "all suppliers electronically by the end of 2000" but industry execs are divided over whether the government can do it.

In releasing the government's eprocurement strategy, Senator Ian Campbell, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications, IT and the Arts, outlined a government goal of providing standard electronic procurement systems through which all commonwealth agencies could transact by the end of 2000.

However, Nic Pollock, managing director for eprocurement software developer Viewlocity, viewed the eprocurement strategy as "tremendously ambitious". He said it was doubtful the government could integrate its array of existing internet technologies into a unified infrastructure by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, www.consult's Ian Webster praised the "proactivity" of the federal initiative. "It's always good to be ambitious." He said initiatives such as this were crucial to the formation of a local, functional digital economy. The influence the eprocurement strategy will have over Australian businesses will effectively "market-make" an Australian digital economy.

The government also announced that digital authentication company eSign Australia will provide government agencies with the identification and authentication technology required to support government online transactions.

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