At E-Gov, it's all about the data

An industry titan telling government agencies they need to buy fewer of his company's technologies? A product that tracks Web traffic not only on an agency's site, but also follows surfers the rest of the time they're logged on, all the while protecting their privacy?

As farfetched as those concepts might seem, both could be seen and heard about at last week's E-Gov 2001 trade show in Washington, D.C.

Government and businesses must avoid "information fragmentation" to truly prosper in the Digital Age, said Larry Ellison, chairman and chief executive officer of Oracle Corp., in his keynote address.

The best way to do that is to use fewer, larger databases, he said. "We're in the business of selling databases, and you're buying too many of them," Ellison said. "Every year, if you're not reducing the number of databases, you're making data fragmentation worse. You need fewer, larger databases every year."

Ellison cited the health care industry as an example. Of the $1.5 trillion spent annually in the United States on health care, about $500 billion is spent on recordkeeping. The cost could be reduced by establishing a national database that contained all Americans' health records and could only be accessed by doctors or other authorized providers, he said. Such a system would cost about $100 billion, according to Ellison.

Useful Information

GovScore, an Internet audience meas.urement tool, enables government agencies to see not only how Web surfers use their sites, but also what pages they visit the rest of the time they are logged on to the Internet.

ComScore Networks Inc. developed the product specifically to help analyze e-government initiatives, said Tammy Jaffer, general manager of the company's government solutions group. It is the only Internet audience measurement service designed to serve agencies' needs by providing timely insight into the behavior of the millions of visitors to government sites, she said.

GovScore uses comScore's global network of more than 1.5 million users to capture Internet traffic and transaction activity through federal, state and local government Web sites. In exchange for volunteering to participate, the users receive free download-accelerator software and can win sweepstakes prizes, according to the comScore Web site.

An E-Gov attendee from another company said agencies fed up with static information held in their traditional file folders should have their heads examined, or more precisely, their "brains." TheBrain Technologies Corp.'s new tool was designed to help transform data into knowledge usable throughout the organization.

BrainEKP is an enterprise knowledge platform that connects disparate information and then delivers it in a visual interface that lets the user see all the other data and people connected to that subject, said Shelley Hayduk, the company's director of public relations.

"The integration platform connects all layers of disparate information systems and connects them all in one place," Hayduk said, "but it doesn't stop at integration because that would be a portal. It also creates a knowledge model and demonstrates how the information is created and used."

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