Plan maps out Commerce's digital department vision

An intranet, electronic procurements and a revamped World Wide Web site are all part of the Commerce Department's long-awaited plan to use technology to revolutionize the way it does business internally and with the public.

Commerce's plan to build a digital department, released late Tuesday, lays out a road map for how the department will move from a paper-based bureaucracy to a truly digital department by 2002. Commerce Secretary William Daley unveiled his digital department vision last July, charging chief information officer Roger Baker and digital department program director Karen Hogan with drafting the plan.

"The public will get a department that will operate more efficiently and more effectively to serve the needs of the public," Hogan said. "There are internal benefits. It lets our employees do the things that add value and become knowledge workers rather than paper pushers."

By the end of this year, Commerce will roll out a secure intranet to its employees in and around Washington, D.C. By the end of next year that intranet will spread worldwide. Commerce personnel will have access to an employee directory, department forms and information about the organization, events and employee benefits. Employees in the Office of the Secretary already have access to this secure intranet.

Administrative support processes such as time and attendance and procurement systems will be done electronically and will be accessible by employees via the Web.

Meanwhile, the interfaces and relationships that Commerce has with the public and other stakeholders, such as Congress, will be automated. For example, the department will organize its Web site into a portal site and make forms the public needs available online.

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