Panel: No short route to e-gov

Panel: No short route to e-gov

Representatives of federal and state governments this month welcomed Mark Forman's vision of e-government but said it would require plenty of hard work to implement.

Speaking at a roundtable at the Interagency Resource Management Conference early this month in Hershey, Pa., Forman, associate director of IT and e-government for the Office of Management and Budget, said e-government should transform government operations digitally to improve effectiveness and efficiency.

But achieving that goal is easier said than done. IT officials from around the country said one problem is a lack of direction.

Aldona Valicenti, CIO of Kentucky, said there is no blueprint to achieve e-government. Gary Krump, vice chairman of the Procurement Executive Council, agreed, noting that such innovative efforts require a clear vision and strong leadership.

One pitfall to avoid, said Alan Balutis, director of the Industry Advisory Council, is 'replicating in cyberspace the same legacy systems we have in our current environment.'

Forman said the challenges for e-government include putting online about 5,600 government transactions with citizens, businesses and other agencies.

New ideas needed

Gloria Parker, CIO of the Housing and Urban Development Department, concurred, warning against agencies using their Web sites simply to post information.

Forman stressed that agencies should integrate common services to make them more accessible to citizens and simplify business processes to maximize the benefits from technology.

Taking the first step can be the toughest, members of the roundtable said, and perseverance is a must.

'It's really a culture issue,' said Craig Luigart, CIO of the Education Department, 'and not a technology issue.'

'There's nothing nice about change,' Valicenti added. 'It's like making sausages. My private-sector experience says that you do it and fix it, you do it and fix it.'

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