Davis: Coordination key to e-gov

"States enlisted for federal CIO push"

Coordination among federal, state and local government entities, as well as with the private sector, is the key to making e-government more effective for the citizens it is supposed to serve, according to Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.).

Davis, who is chairman of the House Government Reform Committee's Technology and Procurement Policy Subcommittee, said the lack of a federal chief information officer, coupled with poor intergovernmental electronic processes, is hindering e-government efforts.

"Congress can have hearings and push a little, but it can't be done from Congress," Davis said. "It has got to be done from the administration because if the executive branch doesn't buy into it, it's not going to work."

Davis' remarks came at the "Customer-Focused e-Government" forum sponsored by Accenture and Siebel Systems Inc., Thursday in Washington, D.C. Many federal agencies representatives, including the departments of Labor, Agriculture, State, the Social Security Administration, the Army and the Navy, attended the event.

Davis also said that the federal government must be innovative and focus on "retraining" in its approach to recruiting and retaining qualified personnel for information technology jobs. He advocates a competency-based system rather than the current seniority-based one.

"You can't offer stock options at the federal level; no one would take them if you did," he quipped. "It takes constant retraining, and we're a long way from being there right now. If you don't retrain [workers], they become stale pretty fast. If you don't reward good people, they are going to leave."

One area where the public sector can follow the private sector's lead in progressing toward delivering true online government service is in customer relationship management, said Ken Dineen, a partner in Accenture's USA Government practice.

He cited three reasons why governments lag in CRM:

More bureaucracy is being added. Technology does not keep up with the citizens' expectations of their government. Government has too much internal focus. "CRM is not a silver bullet," Dineen said. "But it is where we ought to be going. The objective is bringing commercial business closer to government...the government closer to the people," and vice versa.

Echoing Dineen's CRM theme, Lisa Paulson, regional manager of Defense and Intelligence accounts at Siebel, laid out eight principles on how to become an effective e-government:

Know your customer. Use multiple channels for interaction. Personalize the customer's experience. Optimize each customer's value. Focus on 100 percent customer satisfaction. Develop and maintain a customer-centric e-business architecture. Leverage and extend the customer base. Cultivate an organizational culture built on e-business innovation.

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