NLC picks IBM to spread e-gov message
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Dec 13, 2000
The National League of Cities and IBM Corp. announced a collaboration last
week that could provide e-government services to thousands of cities across
the United States.
Many cities — especially rural and smaller municipalities — are underserved
and do not have the financial resources to implement technology, said Brad
Westpfahl, IBM's director of global government industry marketing. But technology
needs are similar from city to city, and therefore, many of the same solutions
can be applied and shared, he added.
"We believe a huge number of cities either have no technology or very
rudimentary technology," Westpfahl said.
IBM, its technology partners, individual state municipal leagues and
NLC — which represents municipal governments — will conduct focus groups
to determine cities' needs.
Education will also be a feature of the collaboration. Westpfahl said
technology exhibits and three-day classroom-style programs for smaller groups
will introduce city officials to wide-ranging digital applications, such
as geographic information systems and online transactions.
Beginning next year, IBM will also sponsor a twice-monthly newsletter
for all NLC members, highlighting 25 noteworthy e-government practices,
Also, IBM and its partners will work with state municipal leagues and
cities to offer specific application solutions. "So this is a state-by-state,
"What do your cities need?' process," he said. Westpfahl declined to comment
on what the costs will be to cities. This summer, IBM formed partnerships
with several e-government providers, including:
* EzGov.com, an electronic services provider for governments.
* Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc., a software developer
of geographic information systems.
* HTE Inc., which specializes in financial management, community services,
public safety, justice, utility management and school administration.
* JPH International Inc., a provider of citizen relationship management
NLC spokesman John Pionke said the collaboration will help cities that
have little or no Internet capability. He said NLC looked at several different
companies but felt that IBM could address all the technology issues for
municipalities. "We will help to create access to cities and [help them]
have access to IBM," he said. The NLC has a membership of more than 1,700
cities and towns and 49 state municipal associations. There are about 20,000
cities in the United States.