Public services get a hand

Agencies are increasingly turning to the private sector for solutions and

partnerships that will help the government become more customer-oriented,

officials said at the Information Processing Interagency Conference in Orlando,

Fla., last week.

Many civilian agencies are struggling to create call centers and other

customer relationship management organizations to better serve citizens

and vendors, said Sandy Bates, commissioner of the General Services Administration's

Federal Technology Service.

After years of working with incompatible and sometimes unusable databases,

the Federal Trade Commission formed a call center to get a handle on the

many different types of consumer calls, complaints and allegations of fraud

the FTC receives daily, said Kathy French, manager of the FTC's Consumer

Response Center. All of the information can now be entered and accessed

through a single interface, allowing the agents to notice trends and coordinate

with other law enforcement agencies on where to concentrate investigations,

she said.

At a governmentwide level, the federal CIO Council is partnering with

industry consortium Highway 1 to provide a physical facility where the Center

for Excellence in Information Technology can demonstrate to federal managers

the IT best practices it has gathered, according to Jim Flyzik, vice chairman

of the council and CIO at the Treasury Department.

And to help agencies share information and work on an enterprise level,

Computer Associates International Inc. announced the formation of a new

subsidiary, Computer Associates Federal Systems Group, led by the former

Army CIO, retired Lt. Gen. Otto Guenter.

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