EDITOR'S DESK—Commentary

Enduring advances in IT

FOR THE PAST TWO DECADES, Government Computer News has endeavored to highlight the innovative work and noteworthy achievements in government information technology with what have become known as the GCN Awards.

So much has changed over the years: the explosion of new and faster digital technologies, the transformation of business processes and information systems,
the skills needed to harness them, and the emerging challenges of an increasingly more technologically connected world.

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The 2008 GCN Awards

What hasn't changed is the ingenuity and perseverance of those in public service who, despite budget constraints and overwhelming schedule demands ' not to
mention the complexities of government ' still find ways to develop new and better IT solutions for government agencies.

This issue looks at 10 projects that have made or are making a significant difference this year in government and, among nearly 100 nominations, earned a GCN Award for government agency IT achievement. We also recognize 10 other projects that our judging committee agreed warranted honorable mention.

If this year's projects have a common thread, it is the widening use of Web-oriented applications.

Although the scale and impact of this year's nominations tended to separate the winners from the runners up, a project on our honorable mention list, executed
by the District of Columbia, best typified the trend toward Web applications. The Washington, D.C., Office of the Chief Technology Officer helped the district build a new police department facility in roughly half the normal time and at half the cost by developing a wiki-based procurement tool. The approach accelerated traditional development times needed to disseminate specifications and assess bidders ' all with improved transparency and low costs.

That kind of innovation is becoming more common throughout the government, particularly at the state and local level.

The GCN Awards also recognize a handful of individuals. This year, we salute GCN Hall of Fame inductees Karen Evans and Charles Croom and the GCN IT Executives of the Year, Molly O'Neill, Ken Heitkamp, and Curt Kolcun. Find their stories in the foldout.

These leaders ' and the men and women behind this year's award-winning projects ' demonstrated once again the powerful role that IT innovations can play in improving the way government agencies work.

About the Author

Wyatt Kash served as chief editor of GCN (October 2004 to August 2010) and also of Defense Systems (January 2009 to August 2010). He currently serves as Content Director and Editor at Large of 1105 Media.

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