[LINK] Federal (US) e-gov forecast is gloomy
Tue, 13 Jun 2000 14:26:57 +1000
Federal e-gov forecast is gloomy
Federal Computer Week
BY William Matthews
The federal government is probably still years away from delivering the
kind of convenient, interactive services over the Internet that citizens
are coming to expect from state and local governments and businesses,
according to a senior federal e-government planner.
"Government is still a nine-to-five, Monday-through-Friday, paper-driven"
enterprise, Alan Balutis told a gathering of government and business
information technology specialists Wednesday.
It may take five or more years before e-government at the federal level is
comparable to today's e-businesses, said Balutis, who is co-chairman of the
federal CIO Council's E-Government Committee.
The federal government has more than 20,000 World Wide Web sites, but few
provide interactive services. Although multiple agencies often are involved
in providing services to individual citizens, agency Web sites are seldom
linked electronically in a way that would simplify things for those who
deal with multiple agencies.
Instead of exploiting the possibilities of the Internet, agencies are
replicating "the same stovepiped, agency-centric" bureaucracies they
created in the paper world, he said.
"People are clearly clamoring for e-government," Balutis said. In many
areas, state and local governments are well ahead of the federal government
because people interact more with government on the state and local level
and have demanded better service, he said.
Although it is true that the federal government is behind the commercial
sector online, there is a good reason, said Bryan Mundy, chairman of
ezgov.com, an Atlanta-based company that puts state and local government
services -- such as paying traffic fines or registering autos -- online.
"The No. 1 priority for government is its fiduciary responsibility," Mundy
said. The president of a company would probably survive if he launched a
Web site that had a few glitches. An elected official would not, he said.
Only a few government agencies have reached the "transactional stage,"
where they perform services for citizens online. Companies have been doing
that since late 1997. But Mundy predicted that in a few months, successes
by some "very enthusiastic agencies" conducting successful online
transactions "will bring the others along."
The difficulty lies not in the new ideas, but in escaping the old ones.
-- Lord Keynes