City leaders get e-gov advice

John Divine, local government segment manager for IBM Corp., broke the process of making key government services available online into the following steps:

Start simple -- but have a strategy. "You don't want to replace things. Have a foundation you can build on," Divine said.

Get citizens involved. Do everything from open forums to opinion surveys, Divine said. "Too many times we have tendency to thing 'here's what you ought to want,'" he said. "We need to ask citizens where they want to be in this e-world."

Involve all parts of the government operation.

Set expectations.

Use existing systems. "An awful lot of what you already have is useable," Divine said, adding that governments should think about things they already make available to citizens.

Have a support plan.

Divine said the e-government benefits must be available to everyone. "Accessibility today means it's got to be in the home -- I [shouldn't have to] go to the neighborhood center," he said.

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