E-gov with industry is 'golden'

According to one industry official, the "golden nugget" that governments

should be after is how to provide better e-government services to businesses

— because successful businesses drive the economy.

That's how Todd Ramsey, IBM Corp.'s general manager for global government

industry, opened a session titled "Best Practices of Governments" at the

2001 Global Internet Summit in Fairfax, Va., March 6.

Virginia Gov. James Gilmore and Cisco Systems Inc.'s president and chief

executive officer, John Chambers, were co-chairmen of the summit, which

focused on the potential of the Internet. Speakers included 40 top business

executives and public-sector luminaries from as far away as Ireland and

Taiwan.

Government bureaucracy costs new entrepreneurs and small businesses

time, money and energy — resources that could instead be reinvested in those

companies, Ramsey said. IBM and Cisco have improved internal operations

through technological changes, and governments need to do the same thing,

he said.

Governments should set sensible policies, help businesses and lead by

example, he said.

Donald Upson, Virginia's secretary of technology, said that philosophies

and policies enacted by the Gilmore administration helped spur the growth

of Internet and communications companies in Northern Virginia, from hundreds

in the 1980s to 13,000 now.

"We're the only technology center that owes its birth and creation to

government," Upson said. He added that working with business, educational

and community leaders helped make that happen.

The session also focused on examples from municipal leaders about their

use of the Internet to streamline government operations, save money and

create a better quality of life for citizens.

For example, in a partnership with a cable company, LaGrange, Ga., has

provided many citizens with high-speed Internet access through their televisions,

said Jeff Lukken, mayor of the municipality, which is 60 miles southwest

of Atlanta. The access provides online educational and government services,

among other things.

"We consider this just another form of investment, an investment in

our citizens," Lukken said.

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