IBM unveils civic portal strategy
- By Dan Caterinicchia, Dan Caterinicchia
- Mar 05, 2000
Drawing on its experience in the commercial sector, IBM Corp. is pulling
together products and services in electronic commerce, security and privacy
to support the development of World Wide Web portals by state and local
Web portals serve as a single online gateway to myriad online services,
providing access to information and transactions within a few mouse clicks
["A Gateway to Government," civic.com, January 2000].
"Governments are just now beginning to realize how agencies can [use
portals to] tie their work together and simplify transactions for the customer,"
said Todd Ramsey, IBM's general manager of global government industry. "They
are going to move through that stage more rapidly than they anticipate."
Ramsey said IBM's portal strategy is designed to let governments begin
with a simple set of services, then add more complex offerings when they
are ready and their customers demand it.
The idea of starting small but thinking big is reflected in the technology.
"We use a more robust, comprehensive infrastructure that gives [the
customer] the capability of adding services as rapidly as they want, without
having to redo a lot," Ramsey said.
IBM's strategy has three other components:
* Design the portal based on the customer's perspective rather than
an agency perspective.
* Apply lessons learned from the private sector, including the company's
expert consulting approach and strategy.
* Explore ways to finance the site in order to create revenue and supplement
budget funds, such as user and advertising fees and partnerships with private
IBM is working with North Carolina on a comprehensive government portal
that should be operational in a few months, and has smaller projects in
Washington, Maryland, Iowa, California and Manitoba, Canada.
Ramsey said he expects a heightened level of interest in portals on
the state and local front as agencies begin to truly realize the value of
"They've gotten through Y2K, and now they're looking for the next frontier...and
that's e-government," he said.