State CIOs and business officials discuss experience integrating e-commerce at forum

State chief information officers and business officials discussed their individual experiences with integrating electronic commerce at a recent electronic commerce forum.

The discussion, part of a meeting of the National Electronic Commerce Coordinating Council, included staff members from South Dakota, Texas, Michigan and Utah, who addressed potential roadblocks to e-commerce, including the lack of a central vision among state agencies and legislative problems. "IT should not drive (e-commerce), the programs should drive it," said South Dakota CIO Otto Doll.

Doll's sentiments were echoed by Missouri CIO Mike Benzen, who said 80 percent of e-commerce is business-to-business transactions, and the remaining 20 percent is business-to-customers.

"The elected officials want to show that 20 percent," he said. "But the savings, efficiency and effectiveness on that 80 percent -- that's where the money is."

"The opportunity is there to break down those barriers," said Carolyn Purcell, executive director of the Texas Department of Information Resources. "We all have our state brands -- and you can't buy a better name than that."

enzen said that in his nearly 30 years of government service, he has had a very difficult time educating legislators on technology issues in the budget. But he noted that a cost-benefit analysis and public demand are two ways of effectively pushing legislators.

"Our legislators argue that the demand isn't there," said Utah CIO Dave Moon. His state has instituted an e-commerce council, but the effort has also been slow in developing, he said.

P.K. Agarwal, NECCC chairman and CIO of the California Franchise Tax Board, said the best way for state governments and agencies to forge ahead with e-commerce is through what he called "coopetition."

"You've got to get little fires lit and you have to compete," he said. "Speed has got to be the single biggest driver of this thing because if you get behind, someone's going to pay. Unfortunately, 100 percent collaboration and speed don't necessarily go together.

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