CIOs optimistic about e-gov

How will shrinking state budget revenues affect e-government?

That depends on which state chief information officer you talk to. A

survey of more than two dozen state officials at the National Association

of State Chief Information Officers midyear meeting April 9 showed interesting

results.

When asked whether they expected to see spending increase, decrease

or remain the same for government-to-citizen e-government solutions in their

state next year, 40 percent of the respondents said increase, 24 percent

said decrease and 36 percent said it would remain the same.

When asked the same question regarding government-to-employee e-government

solutions, 46 percent said spending would increase, 12 percent said decrease,

and 42 percent said it would stay the same.

Finally, for government-to-business solutions, 38 percent said spending

would increase, 8 percent said decrease, while 54 percent said it would

remain unchanged.

South Dakota CIO Otto Doll said he was surprised by the responses and

that they were a "little optimistic." He said some CIOs will see a change

in administrations, meaning that some will be entering a bad budget situation

because he's heard candidates talk about not raising taxes and "squeezing

efficiencies" out of government.

Eugene Huang, deputy secretary of technology in Virginia, said he is

optimistic because Gov. Mark Warner is "at heart a technologist" and believes

technology can be used to bring cost efficiencies.

CIO Charles Gerhards of Pennsylvania said there's a "basic political

reality" associated with e-government. It reaches out to the citizen and

provides them with a direct benefit they can quantify and appreciate, such

as getting driver's and hunting licenses via the Web, he said.

Because of such constituent involvement, e-government is less a "political

target" than other information technology projects in the state legislature,

Gerhards said.

Georgia CIO Larry Singer said e-government is about improving business

processes, whether it's tax collection or case management, while Aldona

Valicenti, CIO for Kentucky, said it's really about offering another channel

of service. And if it's done right, then the infrastructure change will

follow, she said.

Nevada's CIO, Terry Savage, said people won't see multimillion-dollar

IT projects anymore, but "nibbling little pieces," meaning technology applications

and programs will be implemented incrementally. He said he expects to see

an increase in government-to-citizen applications in his state, such as

revamping Web sites.

In Colorado, CIO Bob Feingold said he wants increased investment in

government-to-employee applications. He said they would measure such effects

carefully such as improved productivity and delivery of services.

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