States share advice on portals
- By Nicholas Morehead
- May 21, 2001
As more state and local governments switch to simplified, consolidated front-end
portal strategies, they should diversify their back-end vendors, said experts
who spoke at GTC West in Sacramento, Calif.
"No single company has the silver bullet — the single answer that will
solve all your needs and problems," said Arun Baheti, director of e-government
for the California Governor's Office. "That's not exactly what the vending
community wants you to think, but it's true."
The solution, Baheti said, is to look for the best of breed, in which
a separate vendor is outsourced for each specific need, such as security,
procurement, transactions or wireless.
"We're not tied to one single vendor for our entire portal. If one vendor
flakes on us, we can dump them. If a better vendor with more sophisticated
technology comes along, we can decide to go with them," Baheti said.
Baheti said focus groups and private-sector input are responsible for
the success of California's portal.
"Rather than think we knew what our customers wanted — as most governments
do — we went and found out what they wanted firsthand," Baheti said. "Integrating
customer input was a constant throughout the entire process."
Bob Stafford, chief information officer for the New Mexico Information
Technology Management Office, said such emphasis on communication should
be a model for other states working with municipalities.
"It's about taking away the barriers," Stafford said. "It's not about
coming in and saying, "Hey, we want you to rewrite your programs and applications
this way,' but rather, "Hey, we want to hook up with you, seamlessly, through
a common interface."