David Fletcher's Government and Technology Weblog : news & perspectives from a long-time egov advocate
Updated: 8/1/2003; 2:57:29 PM.



Wednesday, July 23, 2003

In November of this year, we will celebrate the 10th anniverary of Governor Leavitt's visionary Electronic Highway speech.  The challenges from that speech, I have engrained in my head:

  • I challenge all of us to change the way we think. Operating in the information ecosystem will require a new mindset. We must be willing to change, to restructure and re invent. I submit that a whole world of possibilities is opened when two people or many more can sit at separate locations and look at and work on the same documents, see each other, transmit large amounts of information back and forth, and quickly access other people and other data bases. The ramifications for citizens services, for business services, for telecommuting, for reducing highway congestion, for reducing pollution, and so forth, are enormous. But we must begin thinking technology, thinking new applications and ways of doing things, if we are to make this vision a reality.
  • I challenge employees and department and division leaders to focus more on technology and less on bricks and mortar.  We must find money through reallocation, not through higher taxes.
  •  I challenge you to think specifically of ways we can deploy technology to increase our productivity and provide easier access to state information and services to citizens. We must put the state of Utah at citizens' fingertips...  Can we develop a system whereby a citizen with a computer, a modem, and perhaps a smart card, can register and incorporate a business, renew a drivers' license, purchase a fishing license, pay taxes and fees, and so forth? I challenge you to review the services your agency provides, the interaction you have with citizens, and determine how you can make those services available electronically.
  • I challenge you to make available electronically the enormous amounts of information state government collects. Obviously, we must not violate anyone's privacy and we must maintain security.  agencies have data that is valuable to citizens and businesses, things like the Utah Code, state administrative rules, daily status of bills in the Legislature, attorney general opinions, court rulings, public event calendars, job listings, consumer information, business listings, state and federal procurement opportunities, training courses, weather information, licensed day care providers, and much more.
  • I challenge you to encourage a strong competitive environment among the private communications companies that are providing the basic infrastructure for the information highway.

Overall, we have made significant improvement, particularly in responding to the specifics of this challenge - even though it happened slower than many would have liked.  Another challenge where we haven't done quite as well: "We must be as efficient and effective as possible. We must work with other education and government entities. We must avoid turf battles and infighting. We must look at the citizen as a customer of the whole state, not the customer of just one state agency."  However, this past year has yielded some progress - still not enough.  We have still have 3 1/2 months until November 8th.

3:10:54 PM    comment []

A new report from the Western Rural Development Council, Fiscal Crisis in State Government, addresses the root causes of the recent budget crises in western states.  The report suggests that revenue diversification is critical to weathering this type of crisis:

Diversification is a cornerstone of personal financial management. Most of us understand that by owning different kinds of assets we can increase financial stability. When stocks are down, bonds or real estate may be going up. By the same token, diversification in state and local fiscal structures can promote stability in tax receipts.

It's a simple thesis to a significantly more complex issue.

A new report from iSociety, SmartGov: Renewing Electronic Government for Improved Service Delivery, explores both sides of the UK's egov initiative.  A quote:

"For e-Government to be credible, it must be used."

The report suggests the following barriers are inhibiting more widespread adoption of e-government services in the UK (read the report for more definition):

  • Social exclusion
  • Familiarity
  • Expectancy
  • Ease-of-use
  • Benefits
  • Costs
  • Solemnity

11:47:41 AM    comment []

Front page article in the Boston Globe: 'Blogs' shake the political discourse

in last week's Washington Post: Dean Flaunts His Internet Edge as Guest 'Blogger'

Law professor / blogger Lawrence Lessig discusses his visit with Dean

Article in today's Chicago Tribune on workplace blogging (requires registration)

11:26:39 AM    comment []

The Utah Courts System recently produced an Annual Report to the Community.  Page 9 of the report discusses how Utah's courts are using technology.  The courts website receives about 2,500 visitors per day.  I checked Utah.gov stats also.  On June 30, the site had 69,685 visits.  The most popular services are currently the Business Entity Search, Renewal Express, Payment Express, Agent Hunting and Fishing License (allows vendors to buy licences online), Business Name Availability, Online Driver License Renewal, and UCC Search.

ITS is developing a new operations portal to communicate status and metrics to its customers.

The Utah Education Network has made major changes to its website.

Recent radio and newspaper spots about Utah.gov have been talking about 108 online services.  There are actually many, many more than that, but they're not all listed on Utah.gov under online services.  I am sending an update to UII today of a couple of dozen services that need to be added.  There are dozens more agency specific services that I'm not sure we'll ever add to Utah.gov, but which are very useful for individual users.

This happened yesterday just a few blocks from my home.

American Fork's broadband network is beginning to add customers.

8:58:55 AM    comment []

© Copyright 2003 David Fletcher.

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