Adams foresees a day when government is open 24-7

Adams foresees a day when government is open 24-7

By Frank Tiboni

GCN Staff

Kathleen Adams receives the civilian executive of the year award from GCN editorial director Thomas R. Temin.

She may have jumped recently to a job in the private sector, but Kathleen M. Adams says she expects to continue helping government use information technology to become more efficient and improve service.

'What's most exciting, and what I think will be the most fun, is the opportunity to use the Internet to revolutionize the way government delivers services to its citizens,'' said Adams, a former assistant deputy commissioner of systems at the Social Security Administration.

She received the civilian agency executive of the year award last month at the GCN Awards Banquet.

The Internet will make it possible to give people access to government 24 hours a day'from their homes, offices, anywhere, she said. And the Net will let government provide services faster, better and more cheaply than it does today, she said.

Adams took an early retirement this summer after 25 years of government service, most of it at SSA. In September she became vice president of strategic accounts at SRA International Inc. of Arlington, Va.

Adams said the government needs to overcome three challenges to improve service via IT:

' Find a way to ensure secure and private transactions.

' Comply with legal and policy requirements for privacy and the use of electronic signatures.

' Determine the fundamental business issues of serving citizens online.

During her tenure at SSA, Adams established the benchmark for preparing federal systems for 2000. As co-chairwoman of the Chief Information Officers Council's Year 2000 Committee, she also helped other agencies. SSA began tackling its code a decade ago and in January had its systems ready.

Adams said the year 2000 problem has empowered CIOs because department chiefs came to see that it was not just an IT issue but affected business and continuity of operations. The focus moved up the chain of command'from CIOs to agency heads to secretaries, she said.

'In this evolution was the realization that IT is critical to getting the government's work done,'' Adams said. 'Government can no longer function without the IT infrastructure. There is no turning back from this, and everyone knows it now.''

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