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Preview: David Fletcher: eGovernment

David Fletcher: eGovernment

Electronic Government

Last Build Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2005 00:26:44 GMT

Copyright: Copyright 2005 David Fletcher

The Social Web and Open Identity

Tue, 12 Apr 2005 00:21:00 GMT

Tony Blair is set to launch his Digital Britain initiative as a way to cut the cost of government.

I just ran across this six-month old Burton group report on the federal eAuthentication initiative.  Craig Burton is still talking about authentication and his meeting with Kim Cameron of Microsoft who is discussing the possibility of Mozilla support for Open Identity.  Kim thinks of nothing but identity (from Drummond Reed):

"I just want to go on record that Kim is 100% the real thing. I’ve never met anyone like him. The Laws didn’t come from any preconceived agenda or marketing spin, they came straight from the heart of Kim’s lifetime of messaging and metadirectory experience and his passion for creating a true Internet-wide identity infrastructure that will finally usher in what he calls “the big bang” – the explosion of new applications that will be possible with authenticated online trust relationships"

Drummond collaborates on an extremely interesting article about the Social Web.

Tom Adelstein just published his latest article on Linux in Government.

Accenture's latest survey on eGov, entitled "Leadership in Customer Service: New Expectations, New Experiences," is out.  You'll have to register on their site to access it.

Al Bredenberg reports on TMCnet's initial podcast.

The Arizona Republic reports on that state's concerns about losing ground in technology.


Thu, 03 Mar 2005 14:09:21 GMT

Carlos Guadian from Spain mentions e-Parliament, a new online institution to bring together elected officials from around the world into a global forum to help build a better world.  I am encouraging some Utah legislators to participate.  It looks like an interesting e-democracy experiment.

eGovernment News

Mon, 06 Dec 2004 23:20:28 GMT

China's Zhejiang province is cracking down on civil servants who chat using instant messaging services during work hours.  I'm not sure how that differs much from chatting on the phone, except that it's a little easier to multi-task.

Speaking of China, 65% of all households in Hong Kong are now connected to the internet.  Almost 29% now use government online services.

The state of Jigawa is extending broadband services into rural Nigeria to support egovernment initiatives.

The city of Boise just selected Percussion's Rhythmyx ECM package for their portal.

New Oklahoma Portal, Innovative Funding Strategies

Tue, 30 Nov 2004 13:53:09 GMT

Oklahoma Governor, Bob Henry, announced his state's new portal yesterday.  Although there are still a few issues with the site and it still suffers from a shortage of high impact online services, even I must admit that it is a vast improvement from their previous version - not Best of the Web material yet however.  Too many states, including Hawaii and Indiana, have a big headstart on them.  And Ohio has a new business portal.

Since (image) , let's see how long it takes for them to update their site with the new director.

Alice Marshall's post, Tech on the Potomac, has some great links to some of the latest in Federal tech developments, including the Colab Community Wiki where I ran across GSA's latest newsletter on innovative funding strategies.  Check this out, there's some good ideas here.

Local eGov

Tue, 16 Nov 2004 14:52:06 GMT

The ICMA has compiled an interesting survey on e-government in cities and counties.  One barrier for smaller towns has been the lack of an IT staff.  That's apparent if you were to visit this Sanpete County (Utah) website.  Local government in Utah should know that there are several sources of help to develop websites and online services, including the Utah Division of Information Technology Services and Utah Interactive.  For example, here is the new site that ITS created for the town of BrianHead.

eGov on a Roll

Fri, 08 Oct 2004 14:15:49 GMT

I think there are several paths to excellence in government technology.  The UK's Ian Watmore is team-building as he attempts to refocus governmentwide efforts:

"I have ideas and priorities to put into the debate but I want to listen to what other people want to do - there is plenty of time to influence, I want to understand first"

Hawaii has joined Utah in offering a one-stop business registration service.  They're calling it Hawaii Business Express.  In fact, they've redesigned the whole state portal since I last looked.  They've also added Live Help.  But what is pahoehoe?

The US Dept of Agriculture has also improved its portal.  This week, Secretary Ann Veneman announced for those who want to personalize their USDA experience.  I guess that's something maybe farmers would be interested in.

The bovine genome database is now available through a map viewer at NCBI. This is a subset of GenBank.  Japan has established its own online DNA databank.

There has been a lot happening this week here in Utah.  The eGovernment Product Management Council meet Wednesday and had a chance to review the Dept. of Commerce's new Controlled Substance Database that will be available to practitioners and pharmacists.  Various wireless initiatives are moving forward.  A new state search engine RFP is almost ready to hit the street.  And I'm very interested in using DCML (if it is ready) to reduce the silos that exist within our own data center operations.

The FDA has a mammography facility database that is searchable online.  Forty-seven facilities can be found in Utah.

The National Geodetic Survey is working to expand positioning services nationwide.  UDOT is spearheading an initiative here in Utah.

The deadline for voter registration is fast approaching.  Here's what you need to do.

Governor Ernie Fletcher announced his plan to get broadband to all Kentuckians by 2007, "Prescription for Innovation: Delivering Broadband Technology for a 21st Century Kentucky."   His extensive initiatives to reorganize just about all of state government are also quite interesting.

Brown Survey of State eGovernment

Wed, 22 Sep 2004 19:58:40 GMT

Brown University Taubmann Center announced their 2004 e-government winners.  The top five are:

  1. Tennessee
  2. Maine
  3. Utah
  4. New York
  5. Illinois

Tom mentions this in his GovTech Blog.  Tom, the reason why Utah is not mentioned in the Center for Digital Government Best of the Web list is that Utah won last year and were not eligible for this year's competition.  We'll do our best for 2005.  Brown looked at 1,569 sites in their state survey which amounts to over 30 sites per state so it's a fairly broad survey.  I am also much more impressed this year with the depth of the survey.  On glaring problem they pointed out for Utah is the lack of titles on web pages (they identified 413).  Other states had problems with other types of metadata, including keywords and alt tags.  The key to this survey is getting the entire state to pay attention to detail in web design.  There is some great data here that we will address in our next eGovernment product management council meeting on October 6th.

Utah ranked very high for the percent of sites with online services, behind only Illinois.  Illinois surprises me as does the fact that Virginia and Washington, who I tend to view as two of the top five digital states dropped to 23rd and 24th in this fairly comprehensive survey.

Here's the complete survey

Taiwan the best at e-government

Fri, 17 Sep 2004 23:53:30 GMT

According to Darrell West of Brown University, Taiwan is now the top ranked e-government.  The Brown Center for Public Policy surveyed almost two thousand websites in 198 countries.  This year's report is not yet available on the Center's website, but Singapore was ranked 2nd and the U.S. 3rd.  I'm wondering about the the Scandinavian countries who traditionally place very high. 

The small town of Keizer, Oregon has a new website.

A Louisiana columnist complains about that state's failure to use technology to more effectively communicate prior to and during the hurricane evacuation.  Time for a self-evaluation.  And state CIOs will be meeting in New Orleans in a couple of days.

San Diego is the most connected via Broadband according to Nielsen ratings.  Salt Lake City makes the top ten for narrowband connections.

And former California CIO John Thomas Flynn has joined the Center for Digital Government.

Accident Information in Kansas

Fri, 03 Sep 2004 13:35:17 GMT

(image) Kansas is now posting its accident logs to the web in a nicely arranged service.  Utah has been doing this for some time, but I really like the GIS front end to the Kansas service.  We could do more here.  The nice thing is that the data is coming in from all the dispatch centers through standard XML, so to display it in different ways is relatively simple - and it includes a lot of local data as well.

Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS)

Wed, 18 Aug 2004 16:28:54 GMT

It's great to have a governor that is supportive of technology initiatives.  Governor Walker met last week with members of the Utah Information Technology Association which is an association of officials from Utah technology companies.  She had this to say,

"I hope that we are pushing the technology envelope in the state's services to the point where technology advances our ability to provide top-notch customer services instead of limited bureaucracy. We need to make sure that our government is not creating barriers for good technology. So far we are doing things that other states tell me are impossible. We have about 200 services available online and that number is growing everyday. For instance, technology has helped our Department of Workforce Services better integrate with other state departments to better serve potential employees. We must be using technology right when people can get fishing licences at 3:00 am."

So, if there is anyone that doubted Governor Walker's dedication to e-government, they should not anymore. 

EPA administrator Mike Leavitt has a new project he's excited about.  It's called the Global Earth Observation System of Systems.   I see why he's excited.  This is a federal "enterprise project" that involves 11 agencies in an effort to monitor the globe and enhance the effort to predict floods, drought, disease, pestilence, and global warming.  This kind of global resource has applicability in dozens of areas.

The Open Group has published presentations from their Enterprise Information Management conference held at the end of July.  There's some great stuff here.  Very applicable what states are trying to do with their enterprise architecture initiatives.  Keep drilling down, it gets even better...

Hurricane Charlie in the Florida Portal

Mon, 16 Aug 2004 14:00:44 GMT

I always check to see how states respond to a major disaster on their state portals.  Florida has clearly made hurricane Charley information a priority, clearing away the center of their portal and filling it with information on contacts, resources, etc.  They've added a banner for an online reporting system to report price gouging in the aftermath of the hurricane.  None of the Florida government headlines deal with the hurricane, however, which indicates to me a shortcoming that many government sites have in the way that they handle news.  It would be nice if they had an RSS news feed with news and information related specifically to the hurricane and response issues.  If it were done right, it would also make it easier for state agencies to post news and they could also add news coming in from other supporting agencies like FEMA.

Weatherbug has been onsite with Charley and has a blog, along with an news feed.

Marketing eGov

Tue, 10 Aug 2004 21:24:30 GMT

This article in Always On a few weeks ago points out the problem with many e-government initiatives: marketing (or lack of). has only received 327 of an expected 15,000 applications.  Utah has invested in a variety of marketing initiatives for its services, with I think some success.  Services like have over 70% adoption, while others such as Renewal Express have witnessed more gradual, but steady growth.  Marketing methods have included bus boards, radio, web-based, and press releases.  All have helped, especially the establishment of the brand.

Pam Perlich, formerly with the Governor's Office in Utah (Planning and Budget), recently published this excellent report on how immigrants are transforming Utah.

Jerry Mechling to speak on Cross-Boundary Integration

Mon, 09 Aug 2004 18:04:52 GMT

Jerry Mechling, the primary author of Eight Imperatives for Leaders in a Networked World, and instructor of the Leadership for a Digital World course at Harvard, will be in Utah on August 19th to speak about cross-boundary integration.

Jane Fountain, also with the Kennedy School, has an interesting article on eGovernment on page 29 of the 2004 Taubman Center Report.  She offers this warning:

" is becoming clear that the new technologies will be used as much for surveillance, monitoring, control, and disinformation as they are to further transparency, accountability, and access to information that promotes human development."

The National Center for Digital Governance has launched a website to share information between state and local governments who use DNA in the criminal justice system.  Jane Fountain is the Center's Director.  Lin Salisbury of Utah Interactive recently gave this presentation as part of the Center's workshop on data engineering.

Bill refers to California's review of technology alignment which points out a lack of good portfolio management.  This statement could refer to many states, not just California:

Despite its value to the state, there are currently no statewide policies, guidelines or evidence of adoption of best practices for technology portfolio management practices. For the most part, policy-makers are still not thinking of technology projects as a portfolio of investments for achieving a shared vision for how the state should serve the people, as pointed out by the Little Hoover Commission in 2000.

The report says that California's vital technology programs are in crisis.    It contains several very specific recommendations for improving the management of technology in the state.  I'll be interested to see how they get implemented.  The entire report was made available online last week.

It would have been interesting to have someone attend APCO's annual convention this year as we initiate our statewide E-911 governance committee.  I wish there was someone there who would blog the sessions.

National Electronic Health Information Plan

Wed, 21 Jul 2004 14:58:57 GMT

From HHS:

"Today HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson released the first outline of a 10-year plan to build a national electronic health information infrastructure in the United States. The report, "The Decade of Health Information Technology: Delivering Consumer-centric and Information-Rich Health Care," lays out the broad steps needed to achieve always-current, always-available electronic health records (EHR) for Americans."

Several key initiatives are part of this plan:

  • Within 10 years, most Americans should have online access to their health records.  This should also help facilitate the transfer of information between hospitals and physicians.
  • The records will be available through a Medicare beneficiary portal.

The plan was prepared by the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.  This position was created by executive order near the end of April.

Government Immunity Act Database

Tue, 13 Jul 2004 14:32:02 GMT

Senate Bill 55, passed by the 2004 Utah legislature, requires that the Utah Division of Corporations maintain an electronic index of contacts for state and local government where claims against that entity can be filed.  The Government Immunity Act Database is now available online as a result of that bill.

Ben's Blog

Tue, 06 Jul 2004 21:12:44 GMT

Check out the new blog of Ben Casnocha, a youthful entrepreneur from San Francisco who founded Comcate, an e-government solutions provider.  Ben's company was recently featured in Western City magazine.

Salt Lake County Citizen Review Panel website and othe eGov news from Utah

Fri, 18 Jun 2004 22:42:17 GMT

There has been a lot of press involving the misuse of vehicles by Salt Lake County employees, including the County Auditor, who resigned last month.  I was involved in setting up a statewide fuel network over 10 years ago that tracks all fuel usage by vehicle.  This data was used by the county to identify abuses.  County Mayor, Nancy Workman, has commissioned a review of county policies which are all available online at this new Citizen Review Panel website.

More coverage of live help and Utah's portal by Government Technology.

Maine has now added drivers license renewal to their list of online services.

(image) Utah is among twelve states participating with the EPA in the National Environmental Information Exchange Network which officially went live this week.  Also, check out the new home of the Environmental Data Standards Council (EDSC).

Southwest Carbon Sequestration and

Thu, 17 Jun 2004 20:41:35 GMT

(image) Potters Ponds (shown at right) is one of many scenic sights along the Skyline Drive in Central Utah.  It is also one of dozens of Utah campgrounds available to reserve online through ReserveUSA.

I attended the June meeting of the Utah Technology Commission this morning.  Issues on the agenda included Matrix, open source, and technology governance.  Richard North presented a "top ten" list of technology issues in Utah.

The Southwest Carbon Sequestration Partnership has a new website. is a location for sharing business and technical components available as part of the Federal Enterprise Architecture.  XML guidelines for the federal government's eTravel and integrated acquisition projects were shared at yesterday's meeting of the XML Working Group, along with an update on XQuery.

Do we need someone like SiloSmashers to help us break down the barriers to integrated government services?

The 911 Commission has been on the news all day today.

After relatively little activity, the OASIS eGov Technical Committee is scheduled to meet next month.

I received a welcome surprise Monday when I logged onto my Yahoo mail and found that the limit had been increased from 6 MB to 100 MB.  Thank you GMail!  I've had my yahoo mailbox for almost 10 years (it was previously Geocities) but have always been frustrated by that limit.  I also created a GMail account last month with its 1 GB of storage. (Yes, I received my invite through Blogger)

Illinois Atlas

Thu, 27 May 2004 12:55:57 GMT

(image) Illinois Atlas is an excellent resource for maps of that state.  The maps each portray an important story and are very consistent and high quality in their presentation.  Categories are very clear and understandable.  This resource appears to be heavily supported by Northern Illinois University's Center for Government Studies, an excellent example of cooperation  between higher education and government.

The state of New Hampshire has made some significant improvements to their portal since I last looked.  They have added new services, changed the look to something more 21st century, made it more dynamic.  At the same time, if you look at the arc, it is clearly not very smooth, the state seal graphic is quite unclear, the menu system is somewhat slow in responding.  In spite of those issues it is a major step forward from where they were previously.

Federal Process Improvement Systems

Fri, 21 May 2004 13:47:07 GMT

The U.S. federal government is a BIG enterprise.  With that in mind, OMB and FEAPMO have created the Federal Enterprise Architecture Management System (FEAMS).  FEAMS is supposed to help agencies during the budget process discover other e-government initiatives within the federal enterprise that might be leveraged by a given agency.  In a large enterprise, this is very important.  Agencies often do not know what their peers are doing which limits the development of cross-agency and enterprise initiatives.

The latest quarterly federal report cards came out last week.  It shows that almost every agency is making progress in eGov.  However, only State and AID made enough progress to improve their overall egov status grade.  Both moved from red to yellow.

In conjunction with FedBizOpps, the federal government has created the Business Partner Network. refers to itself as the "single source for vendor data for the Federal government."  BPN hosts the Central Contractor Registration system (CCR).

Check out this flash training on FEDLOG, a logistics support system that has increased search productivity by a factor of 60.  Quite effective.

An Assistant Secretary of State gave this address yesterday on carbon sequestrationAGRC and ITS are supporting several regional carbon sequestration projects.  This report from the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum provides some interesting background information.

Colorado Internet Portal Authority

Mon, 17 May 2004 13:55:07 GMT

Colorado has created the Colorado Statewide Internet Portal Authority.  They are charged with bringing Colorado into the 21st century and begin to offer services that many other states have been offering for years.  The Colorado Deputy CIO refers to the existing Colorado portal as "a (year) 2000 or 2001-ish definition of a portal."  I think he may even be generous with that.

more on this topic from the Rocky Mountain News

Here's the bill that creates the "internet portal authority".  They have about two months to get a plan in place:

"The commission on information management shall adopt a preliminary plan for implementing the statewide internet portal no later than July 1, 2004.  The commission shall develop the plan utilizing the commission criteria and standards for review of communication and information resources, communications and information resources technologies, and data processing systems."

Looks like a very bureaucratic way to get the portal going.  ...whatever works

Oh, it looks like Leroy's already got a plan ready.  That's good.  The plan says that they reviewed portals identified in the Digital State Survey and the Best of the Web.  "States evaluated for this effort included: Washington, California, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Indiana, Arizona and Texas."  Hmm, no mention of the 2003 Best of the Web first place finisher.  I think that fits with the Colorado attitude that nothing good can come from Utah...

Here's another interesting quote from the Colorado plan: "Few state portals are enterprise initiatives."  Huh? What are they then.  And then there's this:  "Texas is the best example of an external authority being created to operate the statewide portal initiative (TexasOnline)."  No, I think that would be Virginia.

Also according to the plan, "It is irresponsible for the state to develop, support, and maintain multiple ‘state portals’. State entities must participate in the portal, and be restricted from construction of redundant capabilities through legislative mandate or executive order."  Do they really have to mandate this?  If the portal is first class, I think agencies would want to participate.

Compare the Colorado state portal to Denver's portal.  I think Denver is light years ahead - except for the fact that Denver is using a dot org URL.  Let's see if the state can catch up.

A New Vortal

Fri, 14 May 2004 13:18:30 GMT

Bonj, who works for the State of Missouri, is excited to get a new blade server so he can move applications off system 390.  My employees get excited about getting new blades also.  Bonj stayed several years ago in almost the same hotel room that I was in for NASCIO.

Last week, Doug Chandler mentioned that the first regional 700 MHz plan has been accepted by the FCC.

I met with the Utah Business Portal committee yesterday.  We are working out plans for phase 2 of that portal.  Another group is working collaboratively on a new vortal,  It will be available around November.

The LinuxInstallFest is scheduled for tomorrow in Sandy, UT.  Sounds like fun.

Utah Attorney General, Mark Shurtleff, announced dramatic success in fighting methamphetamie during last week's Republican state convention.  Missouri has a new methamphetamine website.

Tim Bridgewater came by my home last night.  It looks like he is kicking his primary campaign into high gear.

The Utah Campaign Reporting System makes it really easy for you to see who is contributing to various political campaigns.  For example, I noticed that Jon Huntsman, one of the two governor candidates that will face a primary next week, received a contribution from Nancy Lieberman.  I wonder if that is the same Nancy Lieberman who was a great basketball player.

California's State Comptroller announces $37.5 million savings through various e-government initiatives.  Way to go!

Singapore's new Commercial-look Traffic Portal

Thu, 13 May 2004 13:37:23 GMT

Singapore's government, which typically ranks near the top in e-government, has just completed a new traffic portal.  It breaks substantially from the typical government appearance and is managed through a private partnership.  Take a look.

E-Gov Top Ten

Tue, 11 May 2004 14:40:27 GMT

Accenture's Top Ten 1 Canada 2 United States 3 Singapore 4 Australia Denmark Finland Sweden 8 France 9 United Kingdom Netherlands 11 Belgium Ireland Japan Canada was ranked first in Accenture's recent e-government study with the United States and Singapore coming in second and third.  Here are a couple of sites which I think demonstrate the strength of Canada's egov services: Budget 2004: New Agenda for Achievement List of RSS feeds from Canada's government.  The Prime Minister could use an RSS feed on his news site. Commentary on the rankings from: The Guardian Globe and Mail Computer Weekly Government of Canada Information Week GovExec (which, by the way, has a new format) FCW[...]

Bush Outlines Technology Goals

Mon, 03 May 2004 13:34:10 GMT

Last week, President Bush spent a few minutes talking about technology:

"...if we want the people to be working here at home, this country's got to stay the leader in innovation and change and the government can help."

He specifically mentioned increasing government spending on R&D, encouraging private investment in R&D through tax credits, developing a new energy strategy that reduces dependence on foreign oil, overhauling the medical system through the use of electronic records (here's his goal, "Within ten years, every American must have a personal electronic medical record. That's a good goal for the country to achieve. The federal government has got to take the lead in order to make this happens by developing what's called technical standards. In other words, there needs to be standards.")

Finally, this: "One, increase access to federal land for fiberoptic cables and transmission towers. That makes sense. As you're trying to get broadband spread throughout the company, make sure it's easy to build across federal lands. One sure way to hold things up is that the federal lands say, you can't build on us. So how is some guy in remote Wyoming going to get any broadband technology? Regulatory policy has got to be wise and smart as we encourage the spread of this important technology. There needs to be technical standards to make possible new broadband technologies, such as the use of high-speed communication directly over power lines. Power lines were for electricity; power lines can be used for broadband technology. So the technical standards need to be changed to encourage that.

And we need to open up more federally controlled wireless spectrum to auction in free public use, to make wireless broadband more accessible, reliable, and affordable. Listen, one of the technologies that's coming is wireless."

This was an important speech for the president to make.  It has already generated a lot of talk.  Here are a few articles from the media: