Digital Commerce

In what could serve as a model across government, Commerce Department Secretary William Daley last week announced that he plans to move Commerce from a 'paperbased bureaucracy' to an alldigital department by 2002. 'I want to build a department that conducts personnel actions, procurement and as m

In what could serve as a model across government, Commerce Department Secretary William Daley last week announced that he plans to move Commerce from a "paper-based bureaucracy" to an all-digital department by 2002.

"I want to build a department that conducts personnel actions, procurement and as much internal business as feasible on a secure intranet," Daley told an audience attending the Electronic Government conference in Washington, D.C.

"I am setting a goal: By 2002, the Commerce Department will be truly an E-Commerce Department."

Daley said he asked Roger Baker, Commerce's chief information officer, and Karen Hogan, the director of the "Digital Department" office that will guide the transition, to report to him within 45 days with an "aggressive" plan that will span the next three years.

The plan likely will start with rewiring the Commerce's headquarters and building a secure intranet, Baker said. "We will look at all internal processes, particularly things that are forms-based, and figure out how to best turn those [into] electronic processes," he said. Examined procedures will include paper-based processes that track workers' time and attendance, travel applications and procurement systems, Baker said. In the procurement area, the department earlier this year awarded CACI Inc. a blanket purchase agreement to replace outdated and disjointed department procurement systems with a single system. Some of Commerce's procurement systems are more than 10 years old, and each serves only a portion of the department's acquisition process. This contract will be part of the overall plan to digitize Commerce, Baker said.

"We are supportive of this," Baker said. "It adds a lot to have the secretary make a major policy speech to do this. It [creates] a big snowplow to take roadblocks out of your way."

Commerce has made some progress in providing digital communications with the public, Daley said. Last week the department rolled out an online application form that enables businesses to sign up for export licenses as an alternative to paper license submissions.

However, the department is behind in using information technology internally to transform paper-based processes into electronic applications, Daley said. "I can go to the Commerce [World Wide] Web page and pull down all kinds of files on trade with China," he said. "But when I returned from a recent mission to China, I wasn't able to file travel forms online."

Daley added that he has tried for five years to have Congress appropriate $5 million to rewire the Commerce building.

The department will face many challenges in achieving its goal, Daley said, including budget restraints and the training required to teach people how to use new technologies. However, changing the department's culture may be the biggest obstacle. "We need to change more than forms," Daley said. "This town may be the hardest place in the world to change culture, but there's no doubt we have to try."

For Commerce, which has about 47,000 employees, making the move to a completely digital department is a huge undertaking, said Chip Mather, senior vice president of Acquisition Solutions Inc. "The larger the organ-ization is, the more difficult it is to do," he said. "I'm not aware of any other department the size of Commerce doing this."

Although the technology is available to make it happen, the Defense Department's attempt to move to an entirely paperless contracting environment illustrates how difficult making the change can be, Mather said. "The change agent is technology. The tough part is the new processes and the new procedures," he said. "Everything that could impact an organization is impacted by one of these programs. Not only are there technological challenges, but there is resistance to change."

Jim Flyzik, vice chairman of the Government Information Technology Services Board and CIO at the Treasury Department, said many of the IT applications that agencies are installing will help create fully digitized organ-izations.

"I believe the concept of an information technology architecture, a [public-key] infrastructure to support it [and] all of those things that support privacy and security are key components that need to be put in place to make it happen," he said. "I applaud the [Commerce] secretary for stepping out and taking a leadership role."

It is important for Commerce to look to other agencies for solutions that may already exist, said Michael Mestrovich, president of Unlimited New Dimensions LLC and a former DOD electronic commerce executive.

"If someone already has a system up and running, [Commerce] should borrow it or ride on top of it," he said. "Rather than start from [scratch], Commerce should leverage what someone else has."

NEXT STORY: DOD attacks encryption bill

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.