David Fletcher's Government and Technology Weblog : news & perspectives from a long-time egov advocate
Updated: 3/3/2003; 7:00:36 AM.



Tuesday, February 25, 2003
Statewide Systems - Making Sense of the Enterprise

I just came across Terry Kirkpatrick's article on IT complexity or How to Stave off Chaos.  The case study focuses on Novell with its 6,000 employees.  The case becomes much worse for state or federal government.  Novell's mission looks fairly monolithic compared to what a state faces in supporting a wide variety of missions and functions that are each supported with a myriad of systems, hardware and software.  Making sense of it at the enterprise level is an enormous task.

Novell claims to have saved about half a million every quarter in employee productivity, new-hire setups, help-desk work and other costs through an XML-based systems integration projection.  That's certainly possible, but also represents a tremendous challenge which Don Morrison initially called "a political nightmare."  Government's are certainly aware of that.  Even when we make progress there are costs that are paid and sometimes just the effort to begin such an effort exacts a tremendous toll which is why some are loathe to initiate such an effort. 

Utah does have a head start in some areas.  I compiled a list of our enterprise systems the other day:

  • FINET - a centralized financial system, AMS-based
  • Facility Focus - supports management of a significant inventory of the state's building space
  • Fleet Anywhere - management of the state fleet of over 7,500 vehicles
  • Email - although it is not centralized, over 90% of state government uses Novell Groupwise as an enterprise solution for correspondence and scheduling
  • Payroll - supports payroll for all of the state's 20,000+ employees
  • HR - DHRM supports all personnel management through a single consolidated system
  • Incident Management - All agencies will use eTeam for emergency incident response
  • State Fuel Network - Centralized mangement for access to over 500 public and privately operated fuel sites that consolidates the sale of over 18 million gallons of fuel to all state agencies and over 50% of local government and school districts in the state
  • 800 MHz Voice Radio - UCAN supports an interoperable system for state, local, and federal agencies in the state
  • State Wide Area Network -
  • Statewide Geographic Information Database (SGID) - central repository for all GIS data in the state
  • State Risk Management System
  • Statewide Claims System

These are only a few, I won't name them all, but it gives us a basis for interoperability that we can grow from.  These systems provide ways to evaluate and aggregate common activities which occur throughout the enterprise.   (Some extend only across state government, others extend into local government and education) Their development and enhancement during the nineties yielded significant productivity gains that have not been thoroughly analyzed.  We need to continue to find ways to leverage what we have to develop efficiencies that can free resources for new, value adding initiatives - to do so requires some understanding of the complexity which is difficult to achieve because of the need for most of the world to focus on their piece of the puzzle rather than the whole thing.

3:00:57 PM    
Homeland Security and GIS

An article in GovExec, Mapping a More Secure Future, emphasizes the importance of GIS in support of homeland security efforts.  It is certainly a valuable tool in the area of incident management and eTeam has made a good start towards integrating GIS into homeland security.  Here's a few ideas about how GIS can be used to address specific homeland security issues

  • Risk Assessment
    • Identify and evaluate potential hazards, risks, and probabilities.
      • This may relate to infrastructure protection by graphically identifying potential targets and vulnerabilities in ways that facilitate planning and preparedness.
    • Determine mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery needs.
  • Mitigation of Risk and Vulnerability
    • Mitigate risk by planning and deploying resources in ways that reduce the risk.  GIS helps you recognize vulnerabilities and preposition relevant resources
  • Preparedness
    • Compile federal/state resource inventories.
      • A GIS enabled database is used in eTeam to quickly respond to emergencies with necessary resources
    • Install early warning and detection systems - Biosensor and detection systems 
    • Perform training and mobilization exercises.
    • Predetermine emergency response forces.
    • Stockpile vital food and medical supplies.
  • Response
    • Support of search and rescue, emergency shelter, medical care, mass feeding.
    • Maps that identify affected areas to prevent further injury, looting, or other problems.
    • Damage Assessment.
  • Recovery
    • Following two separate tornato incidents, AGRC mapped the path and damage to provide visual information to FEMA and insurance companies

Utah State University is working on a number of key technologies such as sensor networks and antiviral research for homeland security.  Here's a summary of some of their research and activities.

Marginally related: An interesting presentation by NASA discussing  the use of nano-scale inputs for the remote detection of complex geobiological systems.

1:55:29 PM    
Ray Matthews is Collaborating with Jenny Levine!

Jenny Levine (the Shifted Librarian) and Ray Matthews of the Utah State Library will both be making presentations on the use of RSS at an upcoming GILS conference.  I am glad to see that Ray is involved since he has done a marvelous job of helping to promote the use of RSS in Utah.  I'm glad to see the collaboration that is taking place.  Jenny's goals for Illinois are very similar to ours:

What I'd really like to see is the RSS-ification of all library and government news (for starters), plus the creation of a news aggregator that can be branded by each individual library. The library would give away the software (or access to a web site), hand-pick a set of default, localized feeds, and then promote the aggregator to its residents while working with local government to RSS-ify the whole town! Ray and I both think NewsMonster has potential for this type of application since it claims to handle news sites that don't provide their own RSS feeds, but neither of us has had a chance to play with it yet. If nothing suitable has developed by August, I'd like to apply for grant funds to create such a beast (along with the bookmarklets + OPAC search toolbar).

I've established a goal with the Utah Product Management Council for every agency to have its own RSS feed.  We've got a long ways to go, but I believe that some progress is being made.

7:56:21 AM    

© Copyright 2003 David Fletcher.

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Blogs in the Utah Blog Cluster

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Help link 3/3/2003; 6:45:32 AM.