FirstGov.gov could spur interagency efforts

FirstGov.gov could spur interagency efforts

By Christopher J. Dorobek

GCN Staff

JUNE 27—The newly announced federal portal, FirstGov.gov, could push agencies toward intergovernmental relationships to meet public demand for better integration of services, officials said this morning at the Federation of Government Information Processing Council's Management of Change conference in Atlanta.

FirstGov.gov, announced over the weekend by President Clinton, will be a government portal providing links to agency information and services (see story at www.gcn.com/vol1_no1/daily-updates/2281-1.html).

But the portal could be more than just a front-end to link government Web sites, speakers said. Information technology executives suggested that as citizens get use to having information and services available, they will push for broader changes that will require agencies work across traditional boundaries.

Turf issues have been one of the hurdles in intergovernmental projects. "This portal will be a pull" for agencies to work together, said Richard Jennings, vice president and general manager of Computer Sciences Corp.

Treasury Department Chief Information Officer Jim Flyzik, vice-chairman of the CIO Council, acknowledged that agencies still get mired in turf battles, which are complicated by the question of which agency will fund a project.

"We can do the technical stuff," Flyzik said. But the IT staff can't fix the non-IT issues such as the budget process, the bureaucracy, policy and planning. He said he expects to see government organized more along functional lines, to allow for greater cooperation.

"We are beginning to see the migration from stovepiped thinking to group thought," said Steven Hawald, CIO at the Education Department's Office of Student Financial Assistance. FirstGov should help agencies move in that direction, he said.

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