Playing hard to get

While the market heats up with vendors offering complete packages designed

to usher state and local governments into the Internet Age, some officials

are dubious of vendors that didn't even exist a few months ago.

Mel Boynton, assistant commissioner for Minnesota's Office of Technology,

said officials in his state have been meeting with a number of vendors and

that they welcome the increasing competition because it may mean better

products and lower prices.

"The role of the vendor community is to provide those levels of expertise

and depth that we can't deliver ourselves," he said. "There's clearly a

role for vendors in every stage of e-government from the back room to order

fulfillment."

However, e-government is still in its infancy nationwide, he said. In

Minnesota, officials plan to proceed with incremental solutions instead

of investing in a suite of products designed to span a wide variety of e-commerce

needs.

"I am not convinced only one firm is going to be able to offer all the

strengths," Boynton said. "It's too early in the game to lock with single

vendors. We don't think that one vendor has found the silver bullet for

us."

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