State E-Government Strategies: Identifying Best Practices and Applications
State E-Government Strategies:
Identifying Best Practices and Applications
July 23, 2007
Jeffrey W. Seifert
Specialist in Information Science and Technology Policy
Research, Science, and Industry Division
Glenn J. McLoughlin
Specialist in Technology and Telecommunications Policy
Research, Science, and Industry Division
State E-Government Strategies:
Identifying Best Practices and Applications
Although electronic government (“e-government”) is currently one of the
leading approaches to government reform, a lack of coordination or communication
between various initiatives increases the risk of creating more so-called “islands of
automation” and “stovepipes” within and between levels of government. To address
these issues, Congress is actively overseeing e-government initiatives and is
attempting to work with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and state
governments to identify best practices, standards, and strategies.
This report is based on research conducted under contract by the Lyndon B.
Johnson School of Public Affairs as a Policy Research Project (PRP). For this
project, graduate students in the Masters of Public Affairs program at the LBJ School
of Public Affairs undertook a two semester research program in 2005-2006 to
identify some of the best practices in e-government strategies and management being
carried out by state governments. Surveys were sent to all 50 states and the District
of Columbia, yielding 38 completed surveys. The study also included site visits to six
case study states: California, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Texas, Utah, and
Washington. A set of core questions was used for each case study interview along
with state-specific questions. Based on the results of the surveys and interviews, the
students identified several critical factors that influence state e-government programs.
They are summarized below:
!Strategies are essential to e-government formulation because they
provide objectives for state agencies and governments. The report
identifies and analyzes numerous types of strategies.
!Outsourcing is a controversial issue in many states, with a spectrum
of policies represented across the country, ranging from prohibiting
outsourcing, to near total adoption of outsourcing.
!Funding is an important issue because IT projects are costly and
success is uncertain. Legislatures must choose between programs
and, in many cases, e-government competes with other priorities.
!State politics and culture can impede or support e-government
development. While IT can alter employee and agency functions,
such enhancements do not typically cause agencies to be eliminated.
!Strong leadership can support e-government programs and drive IT
improvements by encouraging and promoting new projects.
!The degree of centralization or decentralization is a key component
in e-government management because it affects the level of
interaction between agencies. Web portal centralization is a common
trend among many states, and it is often separate from agency
organization and decision making. E-government performance
measures are essential in evaluating the success of programs,
identifying challenges, and addressing specific formulation and
This report will not be updated.
In troduction ......................................................1
Critical Factors for State E-Government Evaluation.......................5
State Culture and Politics....................................7
Centralized/Decentralized Technology Management..............8
Phases of E-Government Development.........................9
Analysis of Strategy Documents and Survey Results.....................10
Influence of Federal E-Government Initiatives..................12
Strategy Development and Management.......................13
Legal Issues and Security...................................15
Usage and Performance Measures............................16
Written Strategy Documents................................18
State Case Studies................................................20
Centralized/Decentralized Technology Management.............23
Centralized/Decentralized Technology Management.............29
Five Divisions of DIR.....................................36
Centralized/Decentralized Technology Management.............38
Centralized/Decentralized Technology Management.............42
Centralized/Decentralized Technology Management.............46
Findings: Nationwide Trends and Best Practices........................48
Centralized/Decentralized Technology Management.............50
In troduction .................................................51
Critical Factors for State E-Government Evaluation..................51
California Case Study.........................................52
Kentucky Case Study..........................................53
Massachusetts Case Study......................................53
Texas Case Study.............................................54
Utah Case Study..............................................55
Washington Case Study........................................55
List of Figures
Figure 1. Percentage of Outsourced State Portal Content..............12
Figure 2. Federal Government Relevance in E-Government Initiatives...13
Figure 4. E-Government Utilization and Performance Measures........17
Figure 5. State Update of Strategic Documents.......................19
List of Tables
Table 1. Delivery of E-Services: Technologies and Examples by Stages of
This report is based on research done by the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of
Public Policy at the University of Texas at Austin. For questions or further
information, please contact Jeffrey W. Seifert (7-0781) or Glenn J. McLoughlin
(7-7073), who served as the project officers and editors for this report at the
Congressional Research Service.
State E-Government Strategies:
Identifying Best Practices and Applications
This report, State E-Government Strategies: Identifying Best Practices and
Applications, is based on research conducted in 2005-2006 under contract by the
Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs as a Policy Research Project (PRP).
PRPs are designed to give students a realistic policy research experience, culminating
in a final research product for a client. This PRP involved nine students from the
Masters of Public Affairs Program. Professor Sherri Greenberg served as the faculty
Electronic government (“e-government”) is currently one of the leading
approaches to government reform, with initiatives being carried out at the local,
tribal, state, national, and international levels. However, frequently there is little
meaningful coordination or communication between various e-government
initiatives. As a result of independently maturing technologies, there is a risk of
creating more so-called “islands of automation” and “stovepipes” within and
between levels of government. These problems are further exacerbated by human
and financial resource constraints. To address these issues, Congress is actively
overseeing e-government initiatives and is attempting to work with OMB and state
governments to identify best practices, common standards, and successful strategies.
Due to their variation in geography, demographics, and infrastructure, states
serve as laboratories of experimentation for e-government. Federal policymakers
may find aspects of state e-government planning and implementation useful
examples for future decisions regarding the integration of federal information and
services. To that end, graduate students from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the
University of Texas at Austin undertook a two semester research program to identify
some of the best practices in e-government strategies and management being carried
out by state governments.
For the purposes of this report, electronic government is defined as the use of
information technology (IT) to integrate government information and services for
citizen, business, government, and other institutional uses. Many consider
e-government as part of the evolution and extension of traditional governance. Just
as in earlier times when the telephone and fax machine were innovations for
government transactions, so is e-government today.
Overview. Increasingly, e-government is an important component in the study
of governance. Its role in providing services in a quick, efficient manner to people
who may not have had a direct connection to governing institutions in the past makes
it a ripe subject for study. In addition, federal and state e-government programs have
evolved considerably since their inception in the early 1990s, and are now much
more prevalent. These changes parallel the ever-changing technological environment
and shifts in attitudes regarding the relationships between government, and citizens
In this report, the students identified several critical factors that influence state
e-government programs. They are summarized below:
!Strategies are essential to e-government formulation because they
provide objectives for state agencies and governments. The report
identifies and analyzes numerous types of strategies.
!Outsourcing is a controversial issue in many states. The students’
research revealed that state governments develop a spectrum of
outsourcing policies from balancing in-house projects with
outsourced projects, to prohibiting outsourcing, to promoting
!Funding is an important e-government issue because IT projects are
costly and their success is uncertain. Legislatures must choose
between multiple programs during the budget process and, in many
cases, e-government competes with other needs for funding.
!State politics and culture can impede or support e-government
development. Public agencies are often averse to IT changes because
they can alter employee and agency functions. However, IT
enhancements do not typically cause agencies to be eliminated.
!Strong leadership can support e-government programs and drive IT
improvements by encouraging and promoting new projects among
civil servants and citizens.
!The degree of centralization or decentralization is a key component
in e-government management because it determines the level of
interaction between administrative agencies involved in IT projects.
Web portal centralization is a common trend among many states,
and it is often separate from agency organization and decision
making. E-government performance measures are essential in
evaluating the success of programs, identifying challenges, and
addressing specific formulation and implementation challenges.
Surveys and site visits can provide valuable information regarding e-government
management and strategies. The students at the LBJ School of Public Affairs created
the survey by researching similar surveys, contacting e-government experts, and
consulting with CRS specialists. They sent 51 surveys to all 50 states and the District
of Columbia and received back 38 completed surveys. They conducted site visits in
six case study states: California, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Texas, Utah, and
Washington. A set of core questions was used for each case study interview, along
with state-specific questions.
The survey results also provide general understanding of e-government
differences among the states. The survey trends indicate that most e-government
leaders have access to the state governor as needed. Questions about outsourcing
show that most states either outsource the majority of their projects (75 — 100%) or
outsource very little (0 — 25%). The most frequent leader in state e-government
initiatives is the state Chief Information Officer (CIO). However, there are multiple
departments involved in e-government, including Finance and Accounting Offices,
IT Departments, and Information Resources Departments. States finance
e-government from a variety of sources, including operating budgets, federal funds
and grants, user fees, and capital funds. The majority of states use at least these four
funding mechanisms in addition to secondary sources. Some states voice
e-government security concerns for citizens and agency employees. Survey results
show that many states are aware of legal restrictions on certain e-services, whereas
other states are unaware. States use multiple performance measures to track
programs; the most popular methods are customer satisfaction surveys and web
tracking using specified metrics for evaluating site and service use online. The types
of strategy documents used by states vary widely. Documents named in the survey
include IT Plans, information management plans, and IT business plans, among
The case study site visits elicited insightful information about interagency
management strategies and decision-making processes. States vary in how they
conduct e-government initiatives. Some governments, such as Texas, prefer to
outsource software and applications development to consulting firms, while other
states, such as Massachusetts, emphasize in-house development. Some states, such
as Kentucky, encourage public-private partnerships and work closely with
community leaders, while others use only intra-agency methods to create
e-government programs. Each case study in the report includes state specific
information on leadership, strategy documents, implementation, outsourcing,
funding, centralization, and state politics and culture. In addition, this report contains
a best practices section for each state case study that discusses successful program
attributes such as effective communication on all levels, pilot projects for specific
applications, and diversified methods of funding.
The findings section of the report discusses the importance of strong leadership
in furthering e-government initiatives. Devising a strategy is important, but not all
states follow the same process. State e-government strategies vary significantly.
Through the survey results and site visits, it was found that multiple entities are
involved in the e-government implementation process, ranging from educational
institutions to government agencies. In addition, survey respondents contend that
there is a trend towards creating centralized systems and procedures for citizens to
obtain information through state web portals and other forms of enterprise
architecture. Survey evidence also found that funding sources in many states are
diverse. While e-government is often implemented as a measure to provide
efficiencies and to save costs (e.g., reducing the need for employees to perform some
routine tasks such as customer service), actual dollar savings are not always realized
by the states. However, e-government presents management challenges, and cost
savings typically do not occur until the later phases of e-government implementation
when at least a 30% adoption rate is realized.1
Identifying e-government planning and management concepts can facilitate a
comparative analysis of state programs. In addition, strategies and management at
the state level may provide important “lessons learned” for potential federal
President George W. Bush has described new goals and policies for government
reform that include citizen-centric online governance and the establishment of the
E-Government Fund.2 This federal mandate proposes to “shift power from a handful
of leaders in Washington to individual citizens” by increasing interagency
cooperation and reducing redundant applications and procedures. Chief among the
federal government changes is the establishment of USA.gov (formerly
Firstgov.gov). This portal acts as the official gateway to federal government
information and services, and facilitates citizen interaction with the federal
Furthermore, e-government is one of the primary oversight jurisdictions of both
the U.S. House Committee on Government Reform and the U.S. Senate Committee
on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Members of Congress will
continue to propose and contemplate legislation regarding e-government. Future
legislation could address a number of e-government issues, such as: citizen privacy
and safety, national security, intergovernmental coordination, funding and
In addition to federal transformation, states also have implemented changes in
governance. Many state governments started instituting e-government programs
nearly a decade ago to improve interactions with citizens and customers. This report
examines the e-government policies and strategies of state governments to provide
effective practices and processes. While the public face of e-government tends to be
a web page, the larger focus of this report is on management and strategies.
Although service provision and site design are critical for effective e-government
implementation, management structures and government culture define the direction
of the e-government development process.
Methodology. This report includes an examination of existing e-government
research to determine critical factors for state e-government evaluation. The students
at the LBJ School of Public Policy devised a survey to obtain information on e-
government practices which was sent to state Chief Information Officers (CIOs) or
equivalent positions. In addition, the report provides a detailed review of the six case
1 Val Oveson, CGI-AMS Consultant and Former CIO of the State of Utah, Presentation at
the Government Technology Conference, Austin, TX. February 2, 2006.
2 A Blueprint For New Beginnings — IX. Government Reform [http://www.whitehouse.gov/
3 See [http://www.USA.gov].
study states that were selected for site visits: California, Kentucky, Massachusetts,
Texas, Utah, and Washington.
The students reviewed other surveys related to e-government management,
service provision, and policy implementation. The research team communicated with
university professors and CRS policy specialists to develop and refine survey
questions that met the objectives of this study.
The students discussed among themselves and with CRS specialists different
methods for determining case study states, and researched which criteria would be
the most helpful in identifying potential “e-government best practices and
applications.” They used the following factors, based on agreed upon categories for
evaluation: e-services, integration, centralized versus decentralized systems,
e-democracy, and online help. They assigned a number from 1 — 5 (1 being “poor,”
5 being “excellent”) for each criterion and calculated the sums of each state. The
states in different regions were chosen based on evaluation results and CRS guidance.
In addition, they considered geographic dispersion, population and demographics in
selecting the case study states. They conducted interviews with public officials and
contractors using a core set of questions, with additional questions particular to each
case study state. Finally, they devised a case study outline format for the final report,
which was presented to CRS in July 2006.
Critical Factors for State E-Government Evaluation
A number of factors contributed to the functioning of state e-government
programs. Identifying the factors and using them to evaluate programs helped to
draw distinctions and make comparisons. Although state e-government programs are
markedly different from one another, the factors below are essential in understanding
the e-government formulation and implementation process.
Strategies. States utilize different techniques in designing strategies to
accomplish their e-government goals. Case studies and research in this report convey
a broad spectrum of formal and informal strategies. The documents collected from
states include intra-agency communication documents, IT plans, and other documents
which do not appear to be “e-government” specific plans, but have e-government
goals and strategies embedded in them. Some states may adopt formal published
documents, while others may use fluid guidelines or flexible plans which may be
augmented as needed. Still other states do not distinguish between “e-government”
and “government.” The diverse set of strategies among states indicates that there is
no single successful formula. While vision is critical to any program, defined
processes, strategies, and performance measures also are necessary to achieve
4 Schedler et al., Managing the Electronic Government: From Vision to Practice
(Information Age Publishing Inc., 2004), p. 9; Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene,
Powering Up: How Public Managers Can Take Control of Information Technology
(Congressional Quarterly Press, 2001), p. 66.
Outsourcing. The process of outsourcing, or contracting with an outside firm
to develop IT projects, is often contentious.5 The decision to outsource may depend
on the complexity of a new program. Programs that are simple to develop can be
administered in-house, or within the public agency. However, “If the system is
complex … governments generally have to rely on expertise from the private and
nonprofit sectors. This involves some loss of control and decline in autonomy on the6
part of the bureaucratic agency.” Some public officials may choose outsourcing over
in-house development because they believe outsourcing reduces the government7
payroll and improves accountability in the public sector. For some public officials
the incentive to outsource is financial: since many technology tasks are now routinely8
administered, they are ‘commoditized’ and inexpensive. At times, outsourcing is
necessary because governments may lack sufficient funding or expertise to complete9
projects in-house. Technology companies that have already developed software
applications may be less expensive to use because they do not incur the initial10
research and development costs that an in-house IT department would incur. Also,
agencies may lack jurisdiction to provide particular services that are deemed outside11
of their legal bounds.
Additionally, there are no guarantees that outsourcing projects will lead to
successful applications and programs. Although many observers believe
e-government will yield high savings, “the upfront investment costs of new
technology are substantial and costs savings do not emerge until enough users start
taking advantage of electronic delivery systems that government can save money
through traditional bricks-and-mortar delivery systems [e.g., traditional office12
functions associated with service provision].” Moreover, due to the immense costs
of many e-government projects, the competitive bidding process, and competition
among private vendors in the awarding of contracts, outsourcing has become highly
politicized.13 Contracting problems associated with certain governors and public
agencies, often revealed through critical media sources, can undermine the original
goals of e-government programs and change the public’s perception about the
5 Darrell West, Digital Government: Technology and Public Sector Performance (Princeton,
NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005), p. 35.
6 Ibid., p. 37.
7 Ibid., p. 36.
8 Ibid., p. 35.
9 Barrett and Greene, op. cit., pp. 88-89.
10 Blackstone, Erwin A., Michael L. Bognanno, and Simon Hakim. Innovations in
E-Government: The Thoughts of Governors and Mayors. Lanham, Rowman & Littlefield
Publishers, Inc., 2005. p. 7.
11 John A. O’Looney, Wiring Governments: Challenges and Possibilities for Public
Managers (Westport, CT: Quorum Books, 2002), pp. 58-59.
12 West, op. cit., p. 30.
13 Barrett and Greene, op. cit., p. 20.; West, op. cit., p. 40.
government’s ability to administer and provide e-services.14 Thus, outsourcing and
the publicity associated with failed e-government programs can create controversy
within administrations and among citizens.
Funding. Governments fund their e-government programs in a variety of
ways. These include user fees, financing through a general fund, and public-private
partnerships. The financing options may rely on a single funding stream or a
combination of multiple funding streams. According to Darrell M. West, a leading
expert on digital government, “When economic times are good and governments
have abundant resources, tax revenues are a popular way to pay for e-government.”15
However, when resources are limited, “spending on e-government must compete
with expenditures for education, health care, and welfare.”16 As a result, proponents
of e-government may find it difficult to prioritize e-government over basic social
services and other public goods that may be considered more important.
State Culture and Politics. Public officials can enable or hinder the
development of state e-government programs. The organizational culture of a public
agency often can resist dramatic change within a short amount of time. In addition
to organizational factors, the technology field changes very quickly creating a
challenges for the public sector to keep pace with innovations. Hence, “public
agencies are sometimes reluctant to change course and alter their way of doing
things.”17 While state legislatures may mandate specific missions, and technology
sometimes can facilitate these objectives, it often is difficult to use new programs and
retrain staff in the alternative techniques of a new system.18 Even with a
comprehensive strategy document, lack of agency approval and enthusiasm for new
IT programs presents a challenge for executing e-government objectives.19
Leadership. Execution of e-government objectives requires strong leadership
that champions e-government and works to increase buy-in among stakeholders.20
Adoption of IT reforms is possible when a leader in the management chain has the
power, in terms of political will and capacity, to impose change on the current21
system. Public officials must operate with long-term vision, overcome
implementation challenges, and reinforce the agency’s mission.22 They must mitigate
the immediate challenges of agency buy-in and potential resistance. Leaders must
14 Barrett and Greene, op. cit., p. 93; West, op. cit., p. 40.
15 West, op. cit., p. 33.
17 Ibid., p. 31.
19 Jane Fountain, Building the Virtual State: Information Technology and Institutional
Change (Washington D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2001), p. 14.
20 Barrett and Greene, op. cit., p. 70.
21 Bhatnagar, E-Government: From Vision to Implementation: A Practical Guide with Case
Studies, (New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2004), p. 93.
22 Barrett and Greene, op. cit., p. 66.
identify, articulate, and advocate the benefits of e-government and its programs. The
difficulty for leaders lies in changing the status quo within the office and encouraging
employees to “think outside the box” in how they provide services to the public and
Centralized/Decentralized Technology Management. The degree of
centralization in e-government refers to the administrative structure that manages
e-government as well as to the specific infrastructure and presentation of information.
The concept of centralization of e-government programs is best understood as a
continuum where a system may have both centralized and decentralized processes for
implementing and executing agency e-government goals, but may lean more toward
one end of the spectrum. The pendulum may swing back and forth, and programs
may be more centralized or decentralized depending on state culture, politics, and
agency cultures. Neither system guarantees “success” of e-government programs;
rather, both systems have advantages and disadvantages.
Usually, centralized administrative systems can allow IT requests to be filtered
through one agency or private firm, reducing the variation and duplication in
e-government systems. In terms of presentation of e-services and information, states
with centralized systems often use a web portal, or a “one-stop-shop,” as a way to
promote a fully integrated, user-friendly system.
Arguably, states with decentralized e-government systems allow individual
agencies more control over e-government administration and content. Agencies can
choose which firms to use when they outsource e-services. Some agencies also share
the view that decentralized information is considered more accurate because it is24
provided as close to the source as possible. Decentralized systems arguably can
provide agencies with a sense of ownership that can encourage better site25
management and design. The decision to develop a centralized or decentralized
e-government system depends on the economic and political circumstances within
a state and the objectives stated in e-government strategies.
Performance Measures. Applying performance measures is essential to
evaluate whether e-government is cost efficient, is serving stakeholders, and is being
used effectively by government agencies, staff, citizens, and businesses.26 Depending
on the mode of e-government service delivery, agencies can use various quantitative
and qualitative output measures to evaluate their e-government programs, including
the number of hits on a site, user contact sessions, number of downloads, amount of
time spent on site, information accessed most frequently, and number of times forms
23 West, op. cit., p. 31.
24 Franzel and Coursey, “Government Web Portals: Management Issues and the Approaches
of Five States” in David G. Garson and Alexei Pavlichev, Digital Government: Principles
and Best Practices (Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing, 2004), 68.
26 Fountain, op. cit., p. 41; Schedler et al., op. cit., p. 62.
are completed.27 In terms of cost measures, agencies can evaluate cost savings
related to overhead and operating costs, such as paper use, postage, and
transportation costs that are incurred through traditional modes of communication.
They can also evaluate how employees manage caseloads through face-to-face
interaction in contrast to e-government interaction. Performance measures need to
be implemented on a regular basis to allow for comprehensive evaluation.28
Agencies may develop detailed performance measures or they may choose to develop
broad measures that can be transferred within the agency among multiple
These critical factors are fundamental to e-government program development
and implementation. The survey analysis and case study sections describe
differences in them on a state level, and elaborate on their specific affect in managing
e-government. Future e-government programs must take these factors into account
while considering economic and political constraints that inevitably shape
Phases of E-Government Development. The evolution of e-government
programs can be conceptualized in a number of ways. Given a state’s political and
economic circumstances, programs can develop and change quickly, sometimes
“skipping” a developmental phase. In contrast, programs may remain in a particular
phase for a longer period due to funding constraints or political pressure to maintain
the status quo. A Gartner Group Report from 2000 identified four phases of
e-government development that considered the level of information technology used
by the government to relay information online (see Table 1).29
The Gartner Group report identified key development stages for e-government
programs describing the level of technological advancement, information and
communication abilities, and the kinds of services offered in each phase. The report
also noted that there are few countries in the final stages (“transformation”) for a
number of economic and political reasons. Contrasting and comparing different
programs on this level may help researchers and policymakers understand what the
next step is for their particular program. It may also enable them to guide the
development process toward a more integrative e-government program that allows
for more communication and interaction between agencies and citizens and
27 Stowers, Genie N.L., Issues in E-Commerce and E-Government Service Delivery in
Pavlichev and Garson (Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2003), p. 175.
28 Barrett and Greene, op. cit., p. 67.
29 Sood, Rishi, The Four Phases of E-Government in the Public Sector Market (Gartner
Group Report, 2000). Cited in Pavlichev, Alexei, and G. David Garson, Digital
Government: Principles and Best Practices (Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2003), p. 173.
30 Another way to conceptualize e-government development comes from a 2002 United
Nations (U.N.) report that specifically identified e-government service capabilities at each
phase of development. It also accounts for the level of sophistication of websites and
describes the kind of information available at each stage. Ronaghan, Stephen A.,
Benchmarking E-Government: A Global Perspective, Assessing the Progress of the UN
Table 1. Delivery of E-Services: Technologies and Examples by
Stages of E-Government Developments
Stages ofExamples of E-Government
E-GovernmentService Delivery ModesServices-Internet or Intranet
Presence- Information access andProviding names and phone
deliverynumbers of government
officials. Allow access to
government documents.- Document access and
- Online Mapping/GIS
Interaction and- Communication withEmail forms to allow citizens to
Communicationofficialssend requests for services to
Multimedia presentations- Multimedia-Streaming and
- Interactive discussions
Transaction- Online databasesE-commerce transactions such
as the purchase and renewal of
licenses, and the purchase of- Online forms
government data or documents- E-Commerce Applications
Transformation- Online Mapping/GISSmart permitting involving
Applicationsonline request submissions,
GIS, document management,
3D modeling of proposed- E-Permitting/Wireless
projects, wireless applicationsApplications
Source: Sood, Rishi, The Four Phases of E-Government in the Public Sector Market (Gartner Group
Report, 2000), as cited in Alexei Pavlichev and G. David Garson, 2003, Digital Government:
Principles and Best Practices (Hershey, PA: IGI Global), p. 173.
Analysis of Strategy Documents and Survey Results
In this section, the report addresses a number of issues related to identifying
recurring themes in e-government implementation. These issues include leadership,
outsourcing, influence of federal e-government initiatives, strategy development and
management, funding, legal and security issues, usage and performance measures,
and written strategy documents. Information about these issues was collected by the
LBJ students from a review of state government documents and surveys that were
Member States, as cited in Pavlichev and Garson, op. cit., pp. 38-39.
mailed and e-mailed to each state’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) or
equivalent. Roughly 75% (37 states and the District of Columbia) completed and
returned the survey.
Leadership. Leadership is defined as the will of political leaders,
management, and line staff to support e-government implementation as a strategy to
provide electronically government services to states’ clients. These leaders may
include the governor, lieutenant governor, house and senate leaders, CIO, agency
secretaries (governor’s cabinet), agency managers, and IT staff. Leadership may take
different forms, such as: governor’s IT council, IT boards, IT agencies, or
information systems departments, among others.
As a leadership factor, the survey asked, “Does your state have an e-government
strategy?” Sixty-three percent of respondents indicated that their states have written
e-government strategy documents. Thirty-four percent reported not having a
While leadership may come from different government positions, the following
questions focused on the state CIOs’ interactions with their governors. The survey
asked, “Do you have direct access to your governor,” and “If yes, how often do you
have access to the governor?” Nearly 60% of the responses affirmed direct access
to the governor, while 38% indicated they did not have direct access. Regarding
contact frequency with the governor, 21% reported meeting weekly with the
governor, 13% reported meeting monthly, and 21% reported “other,” meaning that
these states have a different meeting schedule. Approximately 80% of the
respondents reported meeting with the governor regularly.
Outsourcing. IT outsourcing is defined as the use by state governments of
contracts with private sector companies to provide a host of IT-related services.
These services may include website maintenance, database maintenance, state portal
website design where visual representation of information is consistent, purchasing,
or help desk functions.
The survey asked, “What percentage of your e-government services are
outsourced?” Thirty percent of the responding states reported that none of their e-
government services were outsourced. Thirty-four percent of the responding states
reported outsourcing up to 25% of e-government services. Over 20% reported
outsourcing from 75 to 100% of e-government services. Another 5% reported
outsourcing levels somewhere between 25 and 75% (see Figure 1).
Figure 1. Percentage of Outsourced State Portal Content
What percentage of your state portal
content is outsourced?
It appears that most states either engage to a large extent in outsourcing or use
little to no outsourcing. Additional research could provide greater understanding of
outsourcing issues. Specifically, it may be useful for congressional policymakers
to know which e-government services states outsource, and the reasons that these
services are outsourced, when considering federal initiatives.
Influence of Federal E-Government Initiatives. In 2001, President Bush
initiated the President’s Management Agenda (PMA), a collection of five
government reform efforts with the goal of making the federal government more
results-oriented, efficient, and citizen-centered.31 One of the five PMA key elements
deals with expanding e-government in an effort to use IT investments for improving
government response time to citizens and businesses. In light of these developments,
the survey explored the potential effect of federal e-government initiatives on state
e-government formulation and implementation. A look at the relationship between
the two could show what kind of influence, if any, the federal government has on
state e-government programs.
Question 4 asked whether the survey respondent was familiar with the federal
government’s e-government strategy. Thirty of the 38 survey respondents answered
this question (respondents were given the option to skip to Question 8 if they did not
have a written e-government strategic document). Even though not all respondents
were state CIOs, many were still senior-level authorities in IT offices (e.g., Deputy
Secretary of Information Technology, State Portal Manager, IT Manager, etc.). Out
of 30 respondents to this question, ten of them (30%) were not familiar with the
federal government’s strategy.
Figure 2. Federal Government Relevance in
How important is the role of the federal government in
your e-government intiatives?
Extremely ImportantVery Important
Of the 29 states that responded to question #5, the 15 states (52%) responded
that the federal government was only “Somewhat Important,” and 4 states said “Not
Important.” Of those 19 states that responded either “Somewhat Important” or “Not
Important,” 10 states did not know what the federal government’s e-government
initiatives entailed (from Question 4). Thus, even though a response of “Somewhat
Important” is open to interpretation and could vary from state to state, the survey
results strongly suggested that the role of the federal government is not significant
for many states (see Figure 2).
Based on these two questions, the results suggest that federal e-government
formulation and implementation has been important to relatively few states’
e-government planning and execution.
Strategy Development and Management. There are many different
players involved in the establishment of e-government strategy, which is represented
by Question 7 of the survey. Some states have one person draft the strategy; some
states form IT councils; other states have multiple departments working together.
The most common model is shared by only 5 states; thus, most states have their own
Six out of the 38 respondents had one actor establishing e-government strategy.
In five states that actor is the CIO, and in the sixth state the governor established the
strategy. It is interesting to note that this particular state is also the only state that
reported the role of the federal government to be “Extremely Important,” and has the
most daily unique site visits to its state portal. Other entities involved in
e-government strategy include the Department of Finance, the State Legislature or
Executive branch, the Council on Electronic Commerce, and the State Treasurer’s
Similarly, Question 8 asked about the players involved in the day-to-day
management of state e-government, with a wide range of actors being reported.
Again, the most frequent manager is the state CIO, but for many, the management of
e-government is carried out by someone other than the CIO. The range of responses
included private contracted businesses, the Comptroller, the Department of
Accounting and General Services, the Department of Administration, and the
Department of Budget and Management.
Despite the presence of many unique models, there was still a clear
representation of two heavily involved departments in e-government strategy and
activities: information technology and finance/accounting. The two departments or
offices nearly rival each other in their roles in e-government. Such a close
relationship to financial departments indicates that perhaps e-government is generally
still in the stage of providing online services and transactions such as renewing
drivers’ licenses or filing taxes.
Funding. Transforming and streamlining e-government services and
applications for citizens, businesses, and public agencies can be an expensive
enterprise. As cited earlier, IT projects often are overlooked when more pressing
social concerns, such as health care and social welfare, are at hand. Question 11 of
the survey asked how e-government initiatives are funded. The survey focused only
on methods of funding and did not ask for the dollar amounts spent on each service
A limitation of this survey question is the inseparable nature of IT programs.
For example, e-government necessitates acquiring equipment such as computers for
departments to carry out projects. This report is not concerned with how much
funding is secured for computer hardware supplies such as replacement keyboards
or new LCD monitors, but instead is directed toward e-government initiatives and
implementation. However, the nature of IT requires a large expenditure of time and
resources in maintaining and upgrading computer-related supplies, so IT equipment
acquisitions and e-government initiatives are most likely combined in many
governments’ financial statements.
Figure 3. Funding for E-Government Initiatives
How are e-government initiatives funded?
20 of S
P riv F ede S ta No n-f P ri v Use Ca pi Ope No t Oth
ate ratewiedeaters' fetalrati Surer
Invel funde taral graes budng be
s r ants
An examination of the results shows that the state general fund/operating budget
is the most common source of funding (32 out of 38 respondents), and that numerous
states use two or more types of funding. Out of the six states that do not draw
resources from the general fund, four of them have completely different funding
models. One is categorized as a business-type activity, since it is a self-funding
model that generates revenue through convenience, transaction, and subscription
fees. Another state’s financing structure is completely decentralized, since it does
not have a state IT agency. Hence, individual agency IT departments are forced to
fund their own initiatives (see Figure 3). An unconventional funding model reported
by one state, relies on data sales such as licensing data to private industries (Texas).
The second most common funding source is the federal government (26 out of
38 respondents). Federal e-government initiatives may not substantially influence
state e-government programs, but federal funding certainly has a large impact on state
resources, as evidenced by the survey results.
Another significant funding model relies on user fees, employed by 22 out of 38
respondents. User fees are the simplest way of generating revenue, and, with an
increasing trend of citizen and business adoption rates, a user fee only model
arguably could support most e-government transactions. However, only a little over
half of the respondents utilize user fees to finance their e-government initiatives, and
in some cases instigating user fees may cause a short-term decrease in adoption rates.
Legal Issues and Security. Security concerns regarding personal
information have increased as people rely increasingly upon the Internet for
transporting sensitive and personal data. For state governments, this is an important
issue because many e-government services require the entry of personal information
to complete the transaction. Almost one-fourth of the respondents stated that
50-100% of their portal management is outsourced. Thus, there is a potential need
to know who is storing the personal information and where it is stored. Some states
require legislative action to address this concern, while others have left the decision
to state CIOs or their equivalents.
The survey included a question regarding the actions states have taken to ensure
the privacy and security of citizen information. Almost every state reported
employee training and encryption among their top security measures. Furthermore,
although there is no recognized universal standard for digital signatures, 50% of
respondents say they currently use digital signatures.
Over 40% of the respondents did not have, or were unaware of, legal restrictions
on online e-government activities. However, there are certain states that do have
statutes specifically limiting what they are able to offer online. For example, the state
of Iowa describes the hurdles to providing certain services online:
The ramifications of signature requirements provide a legal hurdle for the
adoption of more online services. The practices of the credit card industry and
their requirements in relation to general financial practices of state government
also provide impairments. Privacy, security, and identity issues are always
addressed by state governments in online services and can provide obstacles for32
government to implement certain services online.
In stark contrast, Idaho states:
Currently, none of our planned services are restricted due to legal barriers. There
are, however, a number of documents and applications that are not made
available online due to privacy or security considerations. Additionally, statute33
currently requests handwritten or notarized signature for certain filings.
Connecticut said that, in the past, its primary barrier to online services had been
financial; fees for services are set by statute. Therefore, agencies would be required
to assume the costs of credit card transactions and may not have the funds available
to do so.34
Although many states do not require legislative authority, the key legal barrier
reported in the survey results was providing e-services through secure channels,
especially for documents that require signatures. Legislation has typically dealt with
the financial structures of e-government, with some limiting what an agency is
allowed to charge for online services because of costs associated with credit card
Usage and Performance Measures. This section of the survey focused
on how states market their web presence and how they measure performance.
Measuring the value of the return on investment in e-government is difficult without
knowing the usage and adoption rates for online services and applications. States
32 State of Iowa Survey Response.
33 State of Idaho Survey Response.
34 State of Connecticut Survey Response.
attempt to promote their online existence and measure their performance in a number
Promoting an online presence is essential for state governments to accomplish
goals of increased usage by citizens, businesses, and public agencies. According to
survey results, the majority of respondent states use print advertising and e-mail
announcements. Over half of the survey respondents still use radio, television, and
direct mail to increase awareness of state web portals. Alternative methods include
printing the portal web address on license plates and using billboard advertisements
to promote the state portals. Marketing specific applications towards target groups
appears to be an effective marketing strategy. For example, Kentucky Interactive
educates lawyer associations, doctors, and other groups about renewing their licenses
Figure 4. E-Government Utilization and Performance Measures
Which performance measures do you use?
86. 8 4%10 0%t io n
20%c e n t
0%P e r
Cost BenefitReturn onOther FinancialE-GovernmentCustomer
States used multiple performance measures. Eighty-six percent of the
respondents used customer satisfaction surveys and feedback as a performance
measure. Almost 74% reported using e-government specific web traffic metrics,
which are defined as tools used by those who manage and implement web portals to
gather data on the amount or type of traffic on a website or web portal (see Figure 4).
Such tracking may include most visited sites and the frequency and duration of visits.
About half of the respondents reported using cost benefit analyses and looking
at return on investments. It appears that tracking which pages are visited the most,
and actually listening to customer feedback using exit surveys and citizen requests
are the most beneficial means for continuous improvement because they allow
government to address citizen needs more effectively.
Oregon is a state that publicly monitors its online presence. It has a specific web
page for web traffic metrics, showing the number of visitors by week, number of
visits, the amount of time spent per visit, top five entry and exit pages, and the top
five downloads. Knowing this information allows Oregon to adjust its web portal to
35 Lee Thompson, interview by Renaetta Nance and Lewis Leff, January 26, 2006.
citizens’ needs and measure citizen response to different forms of advertising and
Another important performance measure is adoption rates. Adoption rates
measure the usage of online services by comparing the number of transactions
processed via the online service with the total number of transactions processed
through the phone, web, mail, and at the counter during the same time period. The
percentage completed online is the adoption rate for the service. Tracking adoption
rates is important to ensure that the e-government service is meeting customer
expectations. A marketing plan can drive up adoption rates. However, states must
ensure feedback on the service and functionality of online applications.37
Written Strategy Documents. A key question in this study is how states
use strategy documents to plan and implement e-government initiatives. After
researching all 50 states’ websites and conducting interviews with high-level state
officials in the case study states, it was determined that there is a wide range of
beliefs regarding the importance and usefulness of strategy documents.
Over 60% of the responding states have comprehensive IT strategic plans and
policy documents. Some of these plans provide insight to specific e-government
goals and strategies, but the majority of the plans are general IT strategies. A wide
variety of plan authors exist, including technology councils, offices of CTO/CIO,
governors’ offices, and even private businesses. Information technology strategic
plans, enterprise IT plans, e-government strategic plans, statewide IT policies,
information management plans, and IT business plans are among the types of
documents received from states or found on state websites.
These documents are used to track progress by defining the IT plan and
continually monitoring government agencies to ensure the plan is on track. This
report reviews documents available from state websites and the documents received
with our survey responses. Most states have annual or biennial update periods, but
some states have strategy documents that are currently more than two years old (see
36 Oregon E-Government Program Web Traffic Metrics. December 8, 2005,
[http://egov.oregon.gov/DAS/IRMD/ EGOV /web_traffic.shtml].
37 Information Resource of Maine, Adoption Rates. 2005, [http://www.maine.gov/informe/
state/marketing/ adoption.htm] .
Figure 5. State Update of Strategic Documents
How often does your state update its
Qua r te r lyMo nthly
M ont hl y Q uart e rl y A nn ual l y O t her
A few of the individuals interviewed during the case study site visits said that
the strategy documents were not able to keep up with the speed of technology
development. One Kentucky official said that it is not worth the time and effort
required to write and maintain “glossy” strategy documents when considering the
quickness of new program innovation and implementation in real-time.38 Utah
officials said it is not a guiding principle, but the documents do help to keep the
agencies better coordinated. Other states clearly put a great deal of effort into their
strategy documents because they believe that it helps to measure progress and meet
goals. Based on survey responses and case study interviews, there is no universal
strategy document or planning process for e-government programs. While strategy
documents may be a variable in planning, success also depends on effective
implementation, state culture, and state e-government stakeholders.
38 Former Commissioner Mike Inman, interview by Renaetta Nance and Lewis Leff,
Commonwealth Office of Technology, Kentucky, January 26, 2006.
State Case Studies
Our goal is a simple one: We want to do IT right.39
Leadership. Despite recent IT procurement problems in California, the state
has never stopped planning and implementing e-government initiatives. On May 31,
2001, the California Department of Technology Services (DOIT) contracted with
Oracle to provide costly software for all state employee computers. However, the
$95 million Oracle contract was awarded as a no-bid contract without conducting a
departmental needs assessment, and problems ensued. As a result, the governor
suspended the state CIO on May 2, 2002; the California Legislature eliminated the
DOIT on June 30, 2002; and the State of California canceled the Oracle contract.
The following news report relays the gravity of the offense and the demise of
The Oracle computer software scandal claimed another casualty Friday when the
Department of Information Technology bowed out of state government, closing
its doors for the last time.... The demise of the technology oversight body
represents a rare — if not unique — case of the sun actually setting on a state
department.... ‘This is unprecedented, definitely,’ said Assemblyman Dean40
As a result of the Oracle situation and the California Legislature’s termination
of the DOIT, the governor of California drafted an executive order on July 1, 2002,
reassigning duties from the DOIT to other state agencies. In 2003, the state
legislature and the Office of the Governor began reconfiguring IT in California.
Support from the Office of the Governor, legislature, and cabinet secretaries is
important for the successful implementation of e-government services. The Office
of the Governor, following the Oracle problems, appointed a CIO on September 20,
2002. Currently, the state CIO does not head an agency and does not have budgetary
authority or formal policy authority. There was a consensus among those interviewed
that the state CIO should have IT budget and policy authority. Otherwise, the CIO
has limited control over implementation of the state’s e-government plan.
Strategy Document. Planning for IT programs in California resumed in
The first strategic plan was released in 2004 and included six goals:
!Make services more accessible to citizens and state clients.
39 Clark Kelso. California State Information Technology Strategic Plan, 2005,
[http://www.cio.ca.gov/PDFs/IT_Strategic_Plan_R2.pdf] (April 3, 2006).
40 Emily Bazar, Oracle Scandal Shuts the Doors at Agency. The Sacramento Bee, June 29,
!Implement common business applications and systems to improve
efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
!Ensure state technology systems are secure and privacy is protected.
!Lower costs and improve the security, reliability and performance of
the state’s IT infrastructure.
!Develop and rebuild our technology workforce.
!Establish a technology governance structure.41
The 2006 strategic plan maintains the same goals as the 2004 plan and its 2005
update,42 and is a five-year strategic plan with the ultimate goal of “doing IT right.”
The plan reflects the “collective research and judgement of literally hundreds of the
State’s IT and program leaders.” As part of the effort to accomplish the six strategic
goals, a number of other objectives are also outlined. Some of these objectives
include promoting interagency and intergovernmental data sharing; leveraging the
state’s geospatial information assets; promoting the development of a health
information exchange; expanding broadband access; developing an integrated
financial management system; instituting processes to preserve digital materials;
adopting statewide information security and privacy standards; adopting a statewide
enterprise architecture; providing for succession planning; investing in personnel; and
implementing performance measures. The 2006 strategic plan provides specific dates
by which action items are to be initiated or completed, and claims to demonstrate that
California has “transitioned from planning to execution.”43
Implementation. The IT Council makes recommendations for
implementation of statewide IT initiatives. Membership on this council consists of
information officers and other representatives from a number of state agencies. After
projects are reviewed by the IT Council, each representative returns to his or her
respective agency to commence implementation. However, uniformity of
implementation is difficult to assess because of California government’s high level
California offers a variety of online services, such as filing of income tax
returns, payment of income taxes, filing of sales and use tax returns, setting of
Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) appointments, and settling of traffic citations.
Before the DMV offered online appointment-setting, Californians stood in long lines
to complete DMV transactions. In general, Californians responded to these improved
online government services favorably. The following article captures this sentiment:
41 Office of the California State Information Officer. California State Information
Technology Strategic Plan, November 2004. [http://www.cio.ca.gov/pubs/pdf/
IT Strategi cPlan_111704.pdf].
42 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Clark Kelso, California State Information
Technology Strategic Plan: Update to the 2004 Plan, November 2005,
[ h t t p : / / www.ci o.ca.go v/ pubs/ pdf / IT _ St r a t e gi c_Pl an_R2.pdf ] .
43 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Clark Kelso, California State Information
Technology Strategic Plan: Update to the 2005 Plan, November 2006,
[ h t t p : / / www.ci o.ca.go v/ pubs/ pdf / 2006St r at egi c Pl anFi nal .pdf ] .
… Sacramentans have found it to be a timesaver. Tom Rankin, who lives in the
Bay area but works in Sacramento, said he tried calling the El Cerrito office
many times, but could not get through…. “When I called here (Sacramento), I
got through right away, on the first call,” Rankin said at the 24th Street44
headquarters office Tuesday.
One of the goals of the state CIO is to reduce the amount of time constituents spend
completing government transactions.
At the time that the interviews were conducted, 100% of vital records were
provided online, while rough estimates of the percentage of transactions customers
can complete online range from a low of about 25% to a high of about 60% to 70%.
Most of these services are transactional. For example, a customer may apply and pay
for a driver’s license online while also checking the status of the applications.
The Department of Education provides another example explaining why state
agencies implement electronic systems. The department has special reporting and
performance requirements. For example, the federal No Child Left Behind law
requires tracking of academic achievement for individual students. Therefore, the
department developed a system to track this data. Enacted in September 2002,
Senate Bill 1453 established the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data
System (CALPADS), which calls for unique student identification numbers for all
students. The longitudinal data collected via this program is linked to achievement
standards. Reports are provided to public schools, districts, elected officials, and the
general public, as well as to comply with federal reporting requirements.
Outsourcing. Laws and collective bargaining contracts limit the state’s ability
to outsource. The California State Employees Union (CSEU) is a significant force.
The CSEU successfully negotiated with the state to ensure that outsourcing is utilized
Interviewees indicated that collective bargaining unit contracts are obstacles to
outsourcing IT projects. Policy and process modifications are suggested to give the
state more outsourcing flexibility. The current process for outsourcing involves the
Department of Finance, Department of Personnel, the CSEU, and the department
recommending outsourcing. The collective bargaining unit contracts delineate
specific timelines, and require consensus before final action may be taken. This
process can take up to two years to complete, and advocates for changing the
approval process indicate that newer technologies, which are better suited for the
project, may become available before approval occurs.
44 DMV Appointments Boon to Some Drivers, The Sacramento Bee, August 15, 1984, p. B3.
45 California State Employees Union, SEIU Local 1000, Unit 01 Contract, 2003-2005.
[http://www.seiu1000.org/docUploads/FinalBU1-2003-2005.pdf] (February 27, 2006). In
its collective bargaining unit contracts, “[t]he union has presented evidence that State
departments are presently contracting out work appropriately done by Unit 1, 4, 11, 14, 15
and 20 employees, and that said contracting results in unnecessary additional costs to the
Funding. Financing IT projects in California is similar to other states.
Projects are funded by a state agency through the state’s budget process and finance
department. Prior to its elimination, the DOIT reviewed most statewide information
technology initiatives. However, since the department’s demise, this responsibility
is now delegated to each state agency. Thus, funding is very decentralized.
To continue implementing IT plans and raising support for IT, ongoing
collaborative research is conducted by subgroups of department CIOs. These
subgroups forward their recommendations to the full IT Council. If approved by the
IT Council, each department is responsible for implementation of the subgroup’s
recommendations. An important note here is that the IT Council’s decisions are
advisory in nature. However, the lead person for each agency serves on this council
and has decision authority in their agency.
Once the IT Council agrees that a project should move forward, the Department
of Finance (DOF), the state legislature, and governor approve funding through the
budget process. The Department of General Services (DGS) does the procurement
for state IT services. However, technology changes at a rapid pace and the DOF must
screen new programs through a lengthy benefit/cost analysis process. This process
may take up to two to three years before technology can be purchased. By this time,
prices may increase or newer and better technology may become available.
E-government initiatives also are financed by means other than state funding.
In the case of the Department of Education, some programs are funded with federal
formula assistance or through competitive grant programs. For example, the
California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System is funded with Title VI
federal formula assistance. Additional funding was received through competitive
Centralized/Decentralized Technology Management. In its current
configuration, California’s IT system is highly decentralized. One interviewee
indicated that centralization may be an appropriate IT governance structure in smaller
states, but not for California. However, to develop a similar website look and feel,
each agency has a CIO who is a member of the IT Council. The IT Council’s
mission is to provide guidance to the State CIO, make IT recommendations for
implementation by executive agency departments, and consider issues initiated by the
IT issues are presented to the IT Council for its consideration. All agency CIOs then
work on completion of the approved IT initiatives. This is one manner in which the
state CIO is able to effect change without formal budgetary or policy authority.
!Planning: California state leaders identify planning as the first step
of e-government development. After consensus is built around a
plan, implementation is focused on accomplishing the goals set out
in the plan.
!Buy-in Strategies: In promoting the plan within the state legislature,
e-government leaders in California argue that it is important that IT
remain a non-partisan issue.
!Collaboration: Due to the decentralized nature of e-governance in
California, there is strong intra-agency collaboration that
successfully implements e-government strategies by acknowledging
different agency goals and circumstances.46
!IT Council: Collaboration is exemplified in the IT Council that
includes high-ranking agency officials and agency CIOs from a
variety of different areas in the public sector. The IT Council allows
California agencies to develop a common language for conveying
expectations and goals in online service provision and intra-agency
!High-Level Leadership: The governor supports e-government
leaders, enabling the state to advocate and promote initiatives within
different levels of government with strong backing from the top.
Garnering the governor’s support bolsters IT and
e-government-friendly legislation and prioritizes IT initiatives.
!Consolidation: Consolidation of California’s two largest data
centers has been one of the top issues for the governor and state CIO47
in recent years. Despite the historical independence of the two data
centers, consolidation is underway with the support of the current
governor and state CIO.
Though Kentucky’s recent progress has been swift, there remains much to be
accomplished. If we do not act on our dreams, we are destined to remain at the48
bottom of most technology rankings.
Leadership. Enterprise portal projects benefit from strong enterprise support,
particularly when this support comes from all three branches of government. Strong
support at all levels of government, or at minimum from one leader such as the
governor, can initiate broader acceptance, support, and faster growth. In Kentucky,
Governor Ernie Fletcher has emphasized the potential economic benefits of Internet
46 Susannah Patton, “Reforming California IT,” CIO Magazine, 1 December 2004,
[ h t t p : / / www.ci o.com/ a r c hi ve / 120104/ r e f o r m.ht ml ] .
48 ConnectKentucky, Daviess County Strategic Technology Plan,
[ h t t p : / / www.connect ke ntucky.org/NR/rdonlyr es/C9FA37EC-F 174-4C0F-8 F66-
EC9FE6CA81FD/ 0/ 1_DAV IE SSST RAT E GICT ECHNOLOGYPLAN.pdf ] .
broadband availability through his Prescription for Innovation plan.49 The plan is
used to help channel the activities of vested parties, from the local level to the
Commonwealth Office of Technology (COT), to develop services and encourage
citizen use of computers.
Strategy Document. Kentucky does not have a single statewide
e-government-specific strategy document. However, the governor’s Prescription for
Innovation, in conjunction with the individual county strategic plans facilitated by
ConnectKentucky, appears to many to be an appropriate overall strategy for the
Commonwealth. Kentucky Interactive, ConnectKentucky, and the COT may have
different responsibilities and internal strategies, but they are interconnected through
the governor’s Prescription for Innovation.
Mike Inman, the COT Commissioner until August 2006, explained that his
overarching strategy for better government was guided by four IT factors: improving
security, improving services to citizens and government, reducing the cost of IT
while enhancing value to business and government, and the governor’s Prescription
for Innovation.50 ConnectKentucky also refers to the governor’s plan to develop
e-government strategy. Prior to drafting the Prescription for Innovation, the
governor met with Brian Mefford, CEO/President of ConnectKentucky, to discuss
ConnectKentucky’s role in facilitating the plan. From the grassroots level to the
Commissioner of Technology, groups work together to implement the Prescription
The governor’s plan stands as a framework, or living document, that is used as a
guide by all planning groups. It establishes aggressive goals for broadband
deployment and technology adoption, including:
!Making broadband available to all citizens, businesses, and local
governments by 2007;
!Dramatically improving adoption of computers and the Internet;
!Developing meaningful online applications for local government,
businesses, educators, and other sectors;
!Establishing local “eCommunity Leadership Teams” in every county
to promote technology growth for local government, business,
education, healthcare, agriculture, libraries, tourism, and city-based
49 Governor Fletcher’s Prescription for Innovation: Broadband for a 21st Century Kentucky,
50 Commissioner Mike Inman, interview by Renaetta Nance and Lewis Leff, January 26,
51 ConnectKentucky, Daviess County Strategic Technology Plan,
[ h t t p : / / www.connect ke n t u c ky. o r g/ N R / r donlyr es/C9FA37EC-F 174-4C0F-8 F66-
As a largely rural state, an important challenge for the governor and other
e-government leaders has been to increase the availability of broadband and develop
a stronger government presence online. The governor’s plan has proven to be
successful. According to a recently released report from the FCC, Kentucky leads
the nation in its rate of broadband adoption growth over the past two years. In 2003,
approximately 60% of Kentucky households had the ability to subscribe to
broadband. At the end of 2005, an estimated 77% of households could access
broadband.52 This is an increase of more than 240,000 households over a two-year
time period.53 During this same time actual home broadband usage increased from
Governor Fletcher’s Prescription for Innovation is being implemented through
ConnectKentucky in partnership with local community leaders. The individual
county strategic plans, developed by the local technology leadership teams,
complement the recent surge in broadband adoption. These documents serve as
roadmaps for technology-based growth and economic development.
ConnectKentucky assists community leaders with the development of county plans
by engaging in many strategic activities, including benchmarking current uses of
technology, recommending a strategic approach to adopting appropriate applications,
researching applications that will enhance the economic vitality of the community,
providing project management to ensure successful implementation, and encouraging
investment from providers such as cable or telecommunications companies and
Implementation. Kentucky’s approach is based on the collaborative efforts
of government, citizens, businesses, educational institutions, and the private sector.
However, the core of this relationship is three-tiered. It is comprised of the COT;
Kentucky Interactive, LLC; and ConnectKentucky.
The COT is Kentucky’s primary technology organization for providing
leadership and governance of all aspects of information technology. The
commissioner’s priorities are for an efficient, effective, and economical
administration of IT and related sources. In a more practical sense, the COT oversees
all IT projects and focuses on back-end system management, including IT security,
redundancy, data storage, server hosting, and voice communication networks.
EC9FE6CA81FD/ 0/ 1_DAV IE SSST RAT E GICT ECHNOLOGYPLAN.pdf ] .
54 ConnectKentucky, Broadband Adoption and Barriers, [http://connectkentucky.org/NR/
rdonlyr es/2F6BAAC1-A6D0-4 DD7-BEDF-385030488D6C/0/CK docSRS
BroadbandAdoptionBenchmarks.pdf], August 2006.
55 ConnectKentucky, Daviess County Strategic Technology Plan,
[ h t t p : / / www.connect ke nt ucky.or g/ NR/ r donlyres/ C9FA37EC-F174-4C0F-8 F66-EC9FE6C
A81FD/ 0/ 1_DAV IE SSST RAT EGICT E CHNOLOGYPLAN.pdf ] .
With more than 500 employees and three main offices, the commissioner of the
COT organizes and manages the infrastructure of e-government while granting a
large amount of autonomy in the area of portal management to the state’s private
partner, Kentucky Interactive. For example, if a state agency wants to develop a
particular service online it has two channels. It can file a request through the COT
or it can go to Kentucky Interactive/Kentucky.gov directly. If it goes directly to
Kentucky Interactive, the portal manager must share that information with COT.
However, the portal manager will prioritize the project under the oversight of the
Commissioner’s office and begin to develop it with a lot of independence from the
COT. When it is a project that will require back-end modifications or mainframe
integration, there is a collaborative approach between the COT and Kentucky
Kentucky Interactive is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NIC, Inc., a publicly held
company that builds and manages official government websites and e-government
services. Kentucky Interactive is responsible for the development, management,
hosting and marketing of the state portal on behalf of the Commonwealth of
Kentucky. Awarded the contract in February 2003, Kentucky Interactive’s goals are
to expand the base of users who can access public information, increase the amount
of public information available, and provide more opportunities for online
transactions with the Commonwealth of Kentucky.57
The third player is ConnectKentucky, a not-for-profit “alliance of leaders in
private industry, government, and universities,” formed in 2000 by then-Governor
Paul Patton.58 ConnectKentucky and Governor Patton met once a quarter to work on
behalf of the legislative and executive branches as a consulting-type resource. Both
parties tracked the progress of technology use in Kentucky, investigated upcoming
innovations, and benchmarked Kentucky with other states. When Governor Fletcher
came into office, ConnectKentucky was asked to lead his Prescription for
Innovation, one of his main policy initiatives. Today, ConnectKentucky serves as a
unified effort to drive technology policy and e-government initiatives.
A notable feature of ConnectKentucky’s methodology is the grassroots nature
of its approach. Whereas many states develop top down approaches to e-government
strategy, Kentucky starts at the bottom to generate vision and support for the larger
state plan. The governor’s state IT plan becomes increasingly effective as more
citizens on the county and local levels develop a sense of ownership.
At the local level, the process of building an online presence for local
government normally begins with a kick-off event in each county. ConnectKentucky
lays out what is happening in macro terms, transfers ownership of the state initiative
to local leaders, and generates excitement about projects. Teams are comprised of
local and county leaders, educators, hospital CEOs, local businesses, county judges,
and mayors, among others. The team monitors county plans through self-evaluation
56 Lee Tompkins, interview by Renaetta Nance and Lewis Leff, January 26, 2006.
57 See [http://www.kentucky.gov/about/faqkygov.htm].
58 See [http://www.connectkentucky.org/about/].
and development of a business plan tailored to the needs of the specific county.59
Through this innovative strategy, citizens at the local level are empowered to explore
how e-government can improve their lives and communities through decisions that
delineate services most appropriate for their county.
Outsourcing. Brian Mefford, the President and CEO of ConnectKentucky,
believes that independence and the public/private partnership model are critical to the
success of e-government in Kentucky. The main state portal, Kentucky.gov, is a
government service administered for the good of the public that also benefits from
the entrepreneurial spirit and efficiencies found in private business. It exemplifies
a true public-private partnership between the Commonwealth and Kentucky
A benefit of this particular private partnership derives from the fact that
Kentucky Interactive is a subsidiary of a larger company, NIC, which works in 17
other states across the United States.61 Thus, Kentucky Interactive can share
knowledge about application development and execution. This works to the
advantage of the state because Kentucky.gov is able to integrate proven applications
in a shorter time frame than those states that must finance their own research and
development of new applications.
Funding. During the bidding process, one of the most important factors was
the no-cost, self-funding financial component. Primary funding for the portal comes
from the assessment of enhanced access fees for a select set of commercially valuable
services without the use of any tax dollar appropriations. Leveraging enhanced
access fees for a small number of services that are traditionally coupled with fees
(primarily high-volume business applications) allows Kentucky Interactive to
develop a tremendous range of free services that provide a public good.62
According to Kentucky Interactive, the self-funding model encourages the
private partner and the Commonwealth to build online services that the constituents
want, works efficiently to identify and create new online services, and invests in
marketing activities to drive e-government adoption.63 Increased online service
adoption is essential to the private partner because fees drive the return on
investment. However, “99% of all information and services available on
Kentucky.gov are free to the public.”64
In February 2005, the Commonwealth renewed its e-government services
contract with Kentucky Interactive for two more years. Under the procurement and
budget process of the Commonwealth, the contract may be renewed for three
59 Brian Mefford, interview by Renaetta Nance and Lewis Leff, January 27, 2006.
61 See [http://www.nicusa.com/html/].
62 See [http://www.kentucky.gov/about/].
64 See [http://www.techlines.ky.gov/2007/jun/].
additional two-year periods. It is important to note that, if the contract is not renewed
and either awarded to another private party or managed in-house, Kentucky
Interactive can grant the Commonwealth a perpetual use license so that the
software-based applications can still be used. However, Kentucky Interactive will
own the intellectual property rights to the software and would have to transition the
applicable assets per the contract to the Commonwealth while continuing to receive
revenue from the applications it developed during the term of the contract.
Centralized/Decentralized Technology Management. The “All State
Agency Contract” with Kentucky Interactive allows a wide range of public agencies
and offices to use the contract without going through a request for proposal (RFP)
process every time they want to provide a new service to their constituency. In many
cases, an RFP can take as long as six months or more to process. The all agency
contract allows state agencies and local government to work directly with Kentucky
Interactive to develop their services. Kentucky Interactive provides a template of the
agency’s main business elements, and works with the agency to develop and
personalize its webpage and services.
All state websites are encouraged to exhibit a “common look and feel.” The end
result is an aesthetically fluid state portal with the new state brand incorporated on
nearly every page. Furthermore, intention-based navigation, combined with topical
and organizational navigation, provides a view of Kentucky government as a single
entity, not as a series of independent agencies and support processes. The portal
provides a consistent, intention-driven way to access government information and
Kentucky Interactive creates the websites for state or local government agencies.
It also manages the content on the larger sites, including the portal, or it provides
enterprise content management tools and training to individual agencies so they can
manage their own content and site. Kentucky Interactive trains agencies to use the
tools so they can quickly and efficiently maintain the content on their state or local
government site. Following a free training session on the content management tool,
a public employee may manage the site’s content in various ways. Employees can
make graphic image changes, generate press releases, and update photo galleries,
speeches, or event calendars on their websites without filing an RFP or contacting
!Public/Private/Non-profit Partnership: The partnership with NIC
provides access to many shared resources at no cost to the state.
This partnership allows Kentucky’s e-government programs to keep
up with technology through an efficient and effective private
business model while avoiding traditionally slow bureaucratic
!Existing Infrastructure: Kentucky has the basic technology
infrastructure in place for expanding e-government.
!Secure Systems and Widespread Access: Kentucky is committed
to maintaining a high-level of security, redundancy systems, and
high-speed Internet access for most citizens.
!All-inclusive Strategy: The state has a far-reaching strategy with
strong support from the governor that includes a wide range of
interested parties: local and state government, universities, private
businesses, and citizens.
!Regional Approach: Kentucky’s approach is regional as opposed
!Target Marketing: Kentucky Interactive markets and promotes
applications for agencies to help them drive the adoption of their
online services and specifically targets the users benefitting most
from the services to drive adoption rates. ConnectKentucky’s style
of marketing frames the issue with the five ‘As’: availability,
affordability, awareness, applications, and adoption at the tip of the
The continued effectiveness of state government depends on the health and66
strength of the state’s information technology foundation.
Leadership. In Massachusetts, the executive branch consists of four
independently elected constitutional officers (Attorney General, Auditor, Secretary
of State and Treasurer) and the executive department (the governor, lieutenant
governor, and the executive offices and agencies reporting to the governor).
Under the Executive Office of Administration and Finance, the CIO has the
“responsibility to set IT standards; review and approve secretariat and department IT
strategic plans; be involved in the planning, design, and operation of IT systems; and
manage central IT systems, as well as the Commonwealth’s mailing operations” for
Executive Department agencies.67 The subdivisions within the Information
Technology Division (ITD) that report to the CIO and/or Deputy CIO are Operational
Services, Portal and Customer Outreach, Applications Services, Human Resources,
Project Management, Enterprise Security, and Technology Finance. Each of these
65 ConnectKentucky, Daviess County Strategic Technology Plan,
[http://www.connect ke nt ucky.or g/ NR/ r donl yr es/ C9FA37EC-F174-4C0F-8 F66-EC9FE6
CA81FD/ 0/ 1_DAV IE SSST RAT E GICT ECHNOLOGYPLAN.pdf ] .
66 Office of the CIO, Information Technology Division of the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts, Message from the CIO. 2006, [http://www.mass.gov/
67 Office of the CIO, Information Technology Division of the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts, 2006, [http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=itdmodulechunk&&L=1&L0
=Home&sid=Aitd&b=termi nalcontent&f=_or ganization_administration&csid=Aitd].
functional groups has a group manager. Each group also has its own management
The ITD coordinates e-government initiatives within the executive department
via the Mass.Gov portal and other means. However, executive department
e-government planning decisions do not influence IT planning in other branches and
constitutional offices due to the constitutional separation of powers.68 Still, the ITD
and the other branches and constitutional offices have worked together to produce
uniformity, and the ITD has “sponsored or supported several successful multibranch
efforts to reach across branches to address IT issues.”69 Although the ITD and the
CIO exist within the Executive Department, the CIO is not, in itself, a cabinet-level
position. Nevertheless, the CIO reports directly to the Secretary of Administration
and Finance, and in such a manner can influence key policy initiatives.
Although the ITD has a CIO as the head of the division, IT leadership is far
from a single-person effort. All those with a vested interest in the enterprise have a
say in IT governance initiatives. For instance, the IT Commission — a joint
public-private effort — advises the CIO on matters concerning future direction and
management.70 Additionally, former CIO Peter Quinn created an informal “kitchen
cabinet” with the goal of involving the large Executive Department agencies that had
a major stake in the success of e-government. He gathered major players from the
Department of Revenue, Massachusetts Highway Department, and Health and
Human Services, to name a few. Since clients would now have access to
e-government services, the CIO realized the need to incorporate unique agency needs.
Strategic Documents. In March 2001, a 75-member cross-branch,
public-private E-Government Task Force, led by the governor, Administration and
Finance, and the ITD, published the “E-Gov Strategic Plan.” This document, the
result of several months of work, provided the long-term vision, strategic intent, and
conceptual direction for the Commonwealth’s e-government future. The “E-Gov
Strategic Plan” noted the benefits of e-government, the then current environment of
e-government, new investment opportunities, and a roadmap for future project
development. The Commonwealth is still working to implement components of this
comprehensive plan. Additional direction on e-government is prescribed by the
Enterprise Technical Reference Model (ETRM). The ETRM “[provides] an
architectural framework used to identify the standards, specifications and71
technologies that support the Commonwealth’s computing environment.” This
document notes issues pertaining to domain management, technical advancement,
and other disciplines essential to the administration of the e-government portal and
services. Additionally, the IT Commission’s “Enterprise IT Strategy” provides
68 Linda Hamel, Esq., General Counsel, e-mail message, April 28, 2006.
70 Claudia Boldman, Director of Policy and Architecture, e-mail message, May 12, 2006.
71 Enterprise Technical Reference Model Version 3.5, Information Technology Division of
the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 21 September 2005, [http://www.mass.gov/
?pageID=itdsubtopic&L= 4 & L0 = H o me & L1 = O p e n + In itiatives&L2=Policies&L3=Enterp
rise+T echnical+Reference+Mode l+-+V ersion+3.5&sid=Aitd].
direction for the Commonwealth’s IT initiatives. For example, the document notes
that improvements and additions to IT face certain challenges: mainly, (1)
expectations by constituents for e-government services; (2) the emphasis on
homeland security; (3) the current economic environment; and (4) transitions in
l eadershi p . 72
Implementation. Recently, Massachusetts has made efforts to better
coordinate the numerous governmental agencies both within branches (vertical
coordination) and cross-jurisdiction (horizontal coordination). Most notable in this
endeavor is the establishment of open standards. In its Open Standards Policy, the
“[government] must ensure that its investments in IT result in systems that are
sufficiently interoperable to meet business requirements of its agencies and to73
effectively serve its constituents.” By establishing this standard, the ITD maintains
a degree of uniformity in technology and decision-making across agencies. In the IT
Acquisition Policy, the Commonwealth notes a responsibility to provide IT solutions
based on “best value after careful consideration of all possible alternatives including74
proprietary, public sector code sharing and open source solutions.” Thus, the
Commonwealth recognizes that certain solutions may not be available or
cost-effective from private vendors. At such a point, the Commonwealth may
explore open source solutions. Open source refers to software “built upon the
principle that end users should be given source code and should be free to use, share,
modify and enhance software products, with the goal of widespread interoperability75
and permissive incorporation into new technology.”
In terms of benchmarks and performance measures, Massachusetts has no
defined targets. Nevertheless, a few subjects interest the government and have a
bearing on how agencies manage Mass.Gov and e-government. The simplest mark
to determine usage is a traffic count. However, this measure fails to explain project
successes, as it does not quantify user satisfaction and ease of operation. In the past,
the web portal had a user survey link, but Mass.Gov no longer uses the questionnaire.
Mass.Gov serves as an aggregator of services and information. Individual agencies
may have their own performance measures. In addition to measuring within the site,
Massachusetts also realizes the importance of searching beyond its borders. It
acknowledges other state e-government projects, with Utah, Texas, and Virginia
72 Executive Summary, Enterprise IT Strategy, IT Commission, Commonwealth of
Massachusetts, February 2003.
73 Enterprise Open Standards Policy, Information Technology Division of the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, January 13, 2004, [http://www.mass.gov/
74 IT Acquisition Policy, Information Technology Division of the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts,13 January 2004, [http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=itdterminal
&L=3&L0=Home &L1=Policies%2C+Standards+%2 6 + L e ga l &L2=Open+Standards&sid
75 Open Sources, Information Technology Division of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,
October 16, 2003, [http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=itdsubtopic&L=3&L0
serving as peer examples. Maine and Rhode Island offer expertise in New England.
Individuals interviewed in the Mass.Gov offices particularly favored the manner in
which Fairfax County, Virginia, has established its framework for e-government.
Outsourcing. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts employs a combination
of in-house and outsourced approaches to IT project implementation and
management, depending on the size and scope of the project. For instance, the
Commonwealth recently established an office within the Application Services group,
which can take on small to mid-sized development efforts using a team of individuals
with various open-source and proprietary skill sets. However, there are many other
instances where the Commonwealth does not possess the necessary resources or skill
sets to implement a particular IT solution. In those situations, the Commonwealth
engages the services of IT vendors, who are chosen through pre-established
competitive procurement guidelines. However, the Commonwealth does not
outsource jobs that can be done by state employees, pursuant to the 1993
Privatization Law (sometimes referred to as the Pacheco Law, in reference to State76
Senator Marc Pacheco, who introduced the legislation).
Funding. Another concern for e-government is adequate funding. The chief
concern of government and IT agencies is demographic change. Massachusetts has
an aging population with approximately 1.85 million citizens 62 years or older.77
This population comprises roughly 30% of the Commonwealth’s estimated 6.3
million citizens. Given this demographic sector, more money from the annual budget
will be earmarked for Health and Human Services to meet growing medical costs in
future years. As a result, the ITD must search for creative methods to adequately
provide services to citizens with the possibility of receiving smaller budget
allotments. Currently, ITD finances its projects through a combination of direct
legislative appropriations, IT bonds, and charge-back fees. The ITD is constantly
researching and implementing strategies to more efficiently meet the IT needs of its
agencies. One recent initiative is the development of a framework of guidelines and
open standards aimed at long-term interoperability.
Centralized/Decentralized Technology Management. In Massachusetts,
the branches of government have little cross-agency interaction and conformity. This
type of government leads to an entrenched agency or branch identity, and makes it
difficult to integrate e-government services under a uniform standard. In order to
obtain the desired interoperability, agencies need to understand the mission of
e-government and, in particular, the concept of open standards. The implementation
of e-government is decentralized. However, it is moving toward greater integration.
Similarly, e-government management also is decentralized. While the CIO and the
ITD strive to coordinate agencies, they have yet to convince all agencies to get on
board. According to interviewees, agencies will be more convinced when they begin
to see the effectiveness of the open standards initiative.
76 Linda Hamel, Esq. General Counsel, interview by Michael D. MacVay and Jon Lee,
January 23, 2006.
77 Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 2000. Census 2000, The Commonwealth
of Massachusetts, [http://www.nmcog.org/Census/General_Demographic_2000.htm].
!Mass.Gov: For Massachusetts, the idea of electronic governance is
based on efficiency and facilitation. ITD sees Mass.Gov as a way to
“enable a citizen, or business, to work with several different
government organizations at the same time from within a single web
!Open Standards: The ITD believes an open standards policy7980
prevents having to “re-architect” as new problems arise. Open
standards allow for an interchangeability of solutions and promote
coordination across the entire enterprise.
!Streamlining Government and Cost Effectiveness: Massachusetts
searches for efficient solutions to IT problems. The solutions may
involve the use of private vendors or the possibility of open source
software providing flexibility to meet changing circumstances.
!In-house Decision Making: The ITD does not outsource any of its
management workload, and only the processing of transactions
involving money transfers is outsourced. By retaining the
management of its electronic government, the ITD believes that it
maintains the core-competency of government.
!Easy Access to Services: Mass.Gov attempts to ease access to
services most frequently requested through a short-list on the
portal’s home page with an end goal that all state government
services be included within the portal. These services are the
“low-hanging fruit” that attract most transactions.81
!Cross-Agency Coordination: The ITD and its portal management
at Mass.Gov have a goal to create a highly mobile exchange across
jurisdictions, so its vision of open standards and cooperation can82
take hold. The ITD seeks to overcome the healthy mistrust
amongst the different governmental agencies and branches.
78 Task Force Workgroup Reports, Information Technology Division of The Commonwealth
of Massachusetts, 2006, [http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=itdterminal&&L=4&L0
=Home&L1=IT + Planni n g+ % 2 6 + F i n a n c e & L 2 = S t r a t e gi c + P l a nning&L3=E-Gov+ Strategi
c + P l a n &s i d = A i t d &b = t e r mi n alcontent&f=publications_6_workgr oup_rep o r t s &c s i d = A i t d ] .
79 Re-architect: refers to redesigning infrastructure, policy, or software to fit the needs of
new policies or departments.
80 Lawrence Gilmond, Chief Applications Officer, interview by Michael D. MacVay and Jon
Lee, January 24, 2006.
81 Bob Nevins, Chief, Portal and Customer Outreach, and Susan Parker, Director of
Mass.Gov, interview by Michael D. MacVay and Jon Lee, January 24, 2006.
82 Lawrence Gilmond, Chief Applications Officer, interview by Michael D. MacVay and Jon
Lee, January 24, 2006.
Effective planning and management are key to judicious use of taxpayer funds83
by state government for IT initiatives.
Leadership. The Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) directs
and implements IT initiatives that assist the state government in reaching
constituencies and efficiently performing governmental operations. The primary
mission of the DIR is to develop and manage a clear vision of IT-enabled
government. In a more practical sense, the department supports agency needs through
IT procurement and service development, coordination of enterprise-wide projects,
and active communication with the state legislature.
Primary leadership for state IT initiatives is vested in both the Chief Technology
Officer (CTO), Larry Olson, and a group of gubernatorial appointees from the private
sector, non-profit environment, and academia. They constitute the DIR Board of
Directors. Board members meet on a quarterly basis to review strategy and monitor
performance. Together, the CTO and the Board provide the leadership and vision
required to successfully implement such a large enterprise portal project.
The governor acts as an interested participant, often sharing ideas and vision
with the DIR, but does not take an active public role in leading the charge. Unlike
other states that have a centralized cabinet under the executive branch, DIR Director
Larry Olson (who is also the CTO for the state) and other state agency directors are
semi-independent agencies in the executive branch. In spite of this decentralized
system, the DIR and other agency directors maintain an open working relationship
with the governor’s office. Ideas about IT and e-government are shared for mutual
benefit. In other words, “[the director] has the Governor’s offices’ ear.”84
Strategic Documents. The DIR has authored the State Strategic Plan
FY2005-FY2009, an internal document with basic targets, directions, and goals for
fiscal years 2005-2009. The document sets a mission, vision, and philosophy, and
also reveals statewide goals and benchmarks. The Strategic Plan FY2005-FY2009
also discusses organizational structure, financial aspects, economic variables, and
legal issues and statutes.85 In addition to addressing issues specific to the department,
the State Strategic Plan also sets statewide direction with respect to information and
communications technologies. Texas Technology, a magazine produced by
83 Department of Information Resources, Agency Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2005-09,
[http://www.dir.state.tx.us/dir_over vi ew/stratplan2005-9/index.htm] .
84 Larry Olson, interview by Renaetta Nance, Mike MacVey, and Ladi Mosadomi, February
85 Department of Information Resources, Agency Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2005-09,
[http://www.dir.state.tx.us/dir_over vi ew/stratplan2005-9/index.htm] .
eRepublic, is a quarterly publication offering regional news and best practices
germane to state and local government.86
Implementation. For any large decentralized state, a clear and effective
division of labor is key to successful implementation of public initiatives. The DIR
executes the Board of Director’s initiatives through five specialized divisions:
Strategic Initiatives, IT security, Telecommunications, Service Delivery, and
Statewide Technology Operations. Service improvement and design is very
important to both the DIR and BearingPoint, the consulting company that the state
primarily contracts with for e-government application research and development. The
DIR utilizes a wide variety of user input mechanisms to refine its applications,
including a general design and function road map that is heavily constituent-based.87
Moreover, a customer service team works with agencies to develop satisfactory
practices and applications while the Executive Director of the agency works with
each DIR division.
Five Divisions of DIR.
!Strategic Initiatives Division: This division of the DIR is primarily
responsible for the research and development of IT throughout the
state. One of its primary responsibilities involves the development
of the state strategic plan for information resources management.
This plan is heavily influenced by research on IT trends, periodic
policy and standards reviews, and best practices noticed within the
!IT Security Division: IT Security currently is a top priority for the
DIR, and this division is responsible for working with state agencies
on the security of their data, portals, and information systems. It
also is responsible for assessing and implementing statewide online
security, communicating emergency alerts, and periodic threat
!Telecommunications Division: This division maintains the 211
networks for information for the state and is vital in providing
communication services to citizens. Among other tasks, the division
maintains the Capital Complex Telephone System and the statewide
telecommunications network, TEX-AN 200. This division of the
DIR was integral in enabling the routing of 211 calls around the state
during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
!Service Delivery Division: This division is responsible for
overseeing the implementation of statewide initiatives. As the
supply-chain implementer, this division does the contracting and
procurement for IT for education, state government agencies, and
86 Larry Olson, interview by Renaetta Nance, Mike MacVey, and Ladi Mosadomi, February
local government agencies. It also maintains customer service with
the agencies and other public-sector customers. The Service
Delivery Division is the primary group responsible for administering
the TexasOnline contract.
!Statewide Technology Operations Division: This division is
responsible for the consolidation of statewide data to increase
security, improve disaster recovery speed, and enable agencies to
share data. It is also responsible for statewide email and messaging
The DIR allows each state agency to operate at its own pace, while attempting
to bring all agencies under a shared web portal. Individual agencies maintain control88
of their portal and are the hosts and managers of their own content and applications.
When necessary, an agency will inform BearingPoint of particular online needs, and
work with the company to develop online services and applications to execute state
services more efficiently.
The CTO strongly believes that the mission of a state agency is not to concern
itself with IT infrastructure functions and needs. Instead, the core missions of the
agencies should be to execute their mission strategy, while sharing common IT
services. The DIR equips state agencies with the proper tools for successful
execution of their strategies, including, but not limited to, the provision of data
management systems, security, networking, performance measurement, shared
applications, interoperability, and commodity procurements. The DIR is accountable
for the procurement and management of technical services to facilitate the execution
of individual agency missions, thereby reducing overall costs of daily operations.89
Outsourcing. Texas maintains an interesting relationship with the private
sector in terms of the management of its online content. To keep the costs of
developing and maintaining IT infrastructure and applications low and to avoid any
up-front investment, the DIR has contracted with BearingPoint, a private consulting
company. Speaking on behalf of the DIR, the CTO maintained that the partnership
is an efficient relationship in which BearingPoint maintains financial incentive to
improve e-government services for Texas and the state maintains ownership of those
The public-private contract exit strategy is unique to Texas. This exit strategy,
engineered with the winning bidder and designed to expire in 2009, gives Texas
ownership, while still generating significant revenue for the state. By offering
incentives, this fundamental business concept provides Texas with a win-win
partnership designed to improve its services.
88 Ryan Coates. interview by Renaetta Nance and Mike MacVay, February 23, 2006.
89 Department of Information Resources, Message From the Director,
[http://www.dir.state.tx.us/dir_overvi ew/director.htm] .
Funding. TexasOnline assesses user fees for online service transactions
(approximately 800 online applications). Through May 2004, users conducted more
than 25.6 million payment transactions online. The DIR anticipates that cumulative
revenue collected via the portal will top $3.4 billion by September 2006, and the site90
currently receives more than two million unique visitors each month. The DIR will
have collected over $35 million dollars for the state of Texas in unappropriated91
general revenue by 2009. More importantly, non-revenue generating services, like
veteran’s affairs, governmental business, and voter registration projects, are
supported through the revenue generated by other fee-for-service transactions.
Texas House Bill (HB) 1516, passed by the 79 Legislature in 2005 and signed
into law by Governor Rick Perry on June 18, 2005 (effective 9/1/2005), mandates
that the DIR negotiate statewide contracts for commercially available items like
hardware, software, and technology services with outside vendors. By centralizing
procurement statewide, the DIR can “leverage the purchasing power of all state
agencies when negotiating contracts with the vendor community.”92 Aggregating the
state’s commodity purchases through common contract vehicles is intended to (1)
reduce IT costs, (2) decrease administrative costs, (3) maximize value, (4) develop
common IT procurement processes, and (5) create an advocate on an enterprise level.
The legislation is a cost-effective measure because it also requires all state agencies
to procure necessary and related items only through DIR centrally-negotiated
contracts. In fact, the Texas Legislative Budget Board estimates that HB1516 will
have a two-year net positive impact of $15,436,963 towards the state’s general
Centralized/Decentralized Technology Management. The public face
of Texas state government is the state’s online portal. However, the portal is a
collaborative effort stemming from the partnership of public and private enterprise.
Based on the State Constitution, the State of Texas has a highly decentralized
governance system, since the governor does not have a cabinet. Unlike other
governments where agencies are integrated within branches and are accountable to
cabinet authorities, Texas agencies have great autonomy and personal accountability.
This governance style has created roadblocks in coordinating state technological
initiatives. For the last year and a half, the DIR has been able to gather different
bodies under shared applications, while maintaining individual agency
self-determination. Prior to that point, overcoming strong bureaucratic identities
made integration of technology very difficult.93
90 Department of Information Resources, Agency Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2005-09,
[http://www.dir.state.tx.us/dir_over vi ew/stratplan2005-9/index.htm] .
91 Larry Olson, interview by Renaetta Nance, Mike MacVay, and Ladi Mosadomi, February
92 Department of Information Resources, IT Commodity Purchasing Program-Guidelines and
93 Department of Information Resources, IT Commodity Purchasing Program-Guidelines and
Management within the DIR is centralized, but the relationship between the DIR
and BearingPoint creates a more decentralized overall structure. As explained
previously, the internal hierarchy consists of a head, the CTO, and five main
divisions. The private vendor houses data, manages the day-to-day portal activities,
and is responsible for marketing the site. While BearingPoint appears to function
with a great deal of autonomy, the DIR and its Board of Directors have the final say
on budgets and all new portal projects.
!DIR Board of Directors: This appointed body provides leadership
through input from the public and private sector, non-profits, and
!Division of Labor: The DIR delegates responsibility to smaller
internal bodies in order to create a more precise focus on the Board
of Directors’ initiatives.
!Public-Private Partnership: The relationship with BearingPoint
allows the DIR to focus on management and decision-making
without the concern of data maintenance. Also, the DIR achieves
cost minimization and “profit” maximization through its partnership
!Securing Property Rights: Although the DIR outsources some of
the labor, the department maintains control over intellectual property
!Limited Control of Other Agencies: The DIR allows state agencies
to pursue their core mission objectives by providing adequate
technical support for those mission objectives.
!Understanding of Cost Savings in E-Government: Texas has
completed a number of studies of online services that identify how
much the state could save if citizen adoption rates were to reach
different levels. For example, for online tax services, the state could
save up to $1.9 million if “they achieved a 30 percent take-up rate,
but fully $6.3 million if the adoption rate was 100 percent.”94
Additionally, the Texas Department of Agriculture has studied
adoption rates in relation to cost savings.95 Thus, Texas state
agencies are aware of the potential cost savings that occur when
adoption rates pass a certain threshold.
94 Cost-Benefit Study of Online Services, Texas Online Authority, Department of
Information Resources, January 2006. [http://www.dir.state.tx.us/TIC/dir_info/dirpubs.htm]
As cited in “Cutting Fat, Adding Muscle: The Power of Information Technology in
Addressing Budget Shortfalls,” Deloitte Research Public Sector Study, 2006. p. 19.
95 Presentation by Victor Gonzalez, Chief Information Officer, Texas Department of
Agriculture, Government Technology Conference, Austin, TX. February 2, 2006.
We document the State of Utah’s IT strategic direction based on the articulated
strategies and business plans of State officials, Agencies, and other key
stakeholders, coupled with ongoing understanding of IT industry and technology
trends.... Our goal is to maintain an IT Strategic Plan that optimizes both96
State-wide needs and the priority local needs of State Agencies.
Leadership. Former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt championed the
incorporation of e-government in state governance as early as 1993. Under his
direction, the Utah Information Technology Commission (ITC) was created to
include the three branches of government, as well as citizens and businesses. The
commission was established to review and propose legislation enabling transparent,
efficient, and accessible government. Over time, this group has been adjusted to
form the Utah Technology Commission (UTC), with a similar agenda. An Executive
Branch committee, referred to as the Product Management Council, is a collection
of product managers from state agencies. These managers are dedicated to
facilitating cross-agency collaboration, offering input to the CIO regarding agency
e-government initiatives, and providing recommendations to the CIO and business
on e-government directions. Some of the most relevant actors in the e-government
strategy development process are the Product Management Council, business leaders,
and the CIO. Currently, the CIO coordinates with the Product Management Council
in developing the state’s overall e-government strategic process. Together, they take
recommendations from agencies and make suggestions to agencies on
The CIO and Product Management Council monitor state services from the
centralized Department of Technology Services (DTS) and agency perspectives. In
2005, House Bill 109 established the DTS as a centralized IT agency. State agencies
are responsible for developing their own e-government strategies and using those
strategies to drive product delivery in their business models.
Strategy and execution of the e-government process is managed by experienced
individuals with a history of government work. Information technology is critical in
executing the e-government process; technological infrastructure is necessary to offer
services. Utah adheres to management and planning processes with the goal of
improving governance to drive its e-government strategy. Actors within the DTS, the
governor’s office, and an integration partner, Utah Interactive, are committed to
managing “Utah.gov” and its domains to the best of their abilities, making the site
user-friendly and relevant to constituents.
Strategy Document. Utah has several e-government strategic documents that
define its operating parameters and guide the progress of e-government initiatives,
including IT strategy and enterprise architecture documents, which will continue to
evolve throughout the DTS transition process. The IT plans are created within the
executive branch agencies and summarize each of the agencies’ unique IT and
96 Foundational Requirements and Guiding Objectives for DTS. Department of Technology
Services Transition Team, State of Utah. November 29, 2005.
e-government plans. The document “Foundational Requirements and Guiding
Objectives for DTS” provides guidance for development of e-government goals and
During the research period in January 2006, Utah was modifying its formal
information technology strategy. Before July 1, 2005, agencies maintained authority
to execute their business services electronically using in-house IT personnel and
resources. Since January 2006, Utah has been transitioning away from this system
and creating an optimized IT department, the DTS, to consolidate all of the state
agencies’ IT functions into a single department.97 The goal of the optimization is to
increase the number and quality of services offered without increasing the costs of
Implementation. Utah’s successful e-government program is largely the
result of sound leadership and decentralized agency strategy execution. Former
Governor Mike Leavitt sponsored the GRAMA (Government Records Access and98
Management Act). This legislation mandated requirements for the digitization of
records and the use of online communication; both tools were essential for
transforming government into a more transparent entity. By 1995, Utah pioneered
an early web presence and soon after began winning awards recognizing its99
In 1999, the state contracted with Utah Interactive, a subsidiary of NIC, Inc., to
privately manage the web portal and centralize Utah’s major online operations and
applications. Agencies, which are responsible for executing their services, negotiate
with Utah Interactive in developing their services. Since 1999, over 400 services
have been brought online to the “one-stop shopping” portal. The state’s
e-government actors emphasize customer service in the e-government strategy
Utah uses performance measures, including returns-on-investment; increasing
services, but not budgets; e-government web trafficking matrices; and customer
satisfaction and feedback. Each agency utilizes additional agency-specific
performance measures to evaluate its business models. These measures include
tracking repeat usage, adoption, and efficiency (compared to private markets).
Utah’s overall e-government strategy is framed with agencies’ business goals in
mind. Each agency has input into what applications and services are offered to best
serve its customers. New agency portals accessed through Utah.gov undergo
extensive testing by new and old users to measure ease of navigation and relevance
of information. Extensive marketing to promote brand familiarity is also conducted.
Expanding suites of services and service improvement remain top priorities for
97 Randy Hughes and David Fletcher, interview by Sumaya Saati and Oladimeji Mosadomi,
98 Rich North, Policy Analyst and Utah Technology Commission Member, interview by
Sumaya Saati and Oladimeji Mosadomi, January 24, 2006.
99 Presentation by David Fletcher, eGov Summit, Salt Lake City, Utah, January 23, 2006.
Outsourcing. Utah Interactive develops user-friendly, self-funding
applications and services at no cost to the state. As a subsidiary of NIC, Inc., the
entity focuses on e-government portal management, successful initiatives, and has
an advantage of institutional knowledge and replicable models. If Utah Interactive
is unable to provide cost-effective services, an agency is permitted to outsource
projects with the permission of the CIO, who is also the Executive Director of the
Funding. Since agencies are responsible for their own e-government
initiatives, agency budgets cover expenses for new online projects supported by the
DTS. An internal service fund finances the central IT department, eliminating the
need to increase taxes or request more funding from the legislature. Since the
creation of the DTS involves the re-organization and streamlining of existing
positions, the state should not incur new costs.
Centralized/Decentralized Technology Management. As of January
2006, the state was undergoing a transition whereby roughly 1,000 ITS employees
would be converted into DTS employees and given the option to convert from merit
career civil-service status to at-will status. Relocating IT staff from individual
agencies to a centralized structure while simultaneously altering individuals’
employment status caused early concern for some employees, which was offset by
incentives for those wishing to convert. The difficulty of altering 1,000 job
descriptions, re-training employees, and eliminating positions was compounded by
the lack of additional funding. House Bill 109 outlined the structure for IT in the
state, but did not allocate new dollars to the process. The financial burden rests on100
agencies to develop contracts with the new state agency, the DTS. Many state
actors anticipate this strategy will be cost effective because IT services are provided
by employees from one department rather than individual agencies.
The Product Management Council encourages collaboration between agency
product managers on e-government initiatives.101 For example, a product manager
at the DMV can execute the department’s mission statement by collaborating with
sister agencies and Utah Interactive to develop online applications with the technical
assistance of the DTS. Cooperation between the CIO’s office, DTS, and agencies is
summarized by the DTS Mission: bringing value and innovation to Utah through
service and technology.
!Streamlined and Uniform Agency Platforms: Coordinating the IT
functions of numerous state agencies is facilitated by the Product
Management Council. While the CIO and E-government Director
play vital leadership roles in approving initiatives, various councils
100 Rich North, Policy Analyst and Utah Technology Commission Member, interview by
Sumaya Saati and Oladimeji Mosadomi, 24 January 2006.
101 Electronic Product Management Council. 2004, [http://path.utah.gov/tipofmonth/
comprised of agency heads, citizens, businesses and lawmakers
collaborate to share information and pool resources.
!Improvement-focused Agencies: Agencies’ individual mission
statements are dedicated to efficiency in delivering services and
information, often incorporating the use of technologies for service
expansion. E-government initiatives utilized by each agency are
summarized into “Plan IT” and shared throughout the enterprise.
!Strong Leadership: Support for e-government adoption comes
from government leadership in both the legislative and executive
branches. Agency heads are able to effectively communicate
strategies and provide resources to their own agencies.
!Efficiency and Cost-effectiveness: Utah focuses on efficiency by
providing more services at the same or reduced costs. House Bill
109’s consolidation of government employees is expected to result
in a more flexible agency able to support other agencies’ IT needs
with fewer employees and more resources.
!Enabling Legislation: Utah enacted legislation mandating digitized,
open, and transparent government utilizing electronic technology to
accomplish such goals. The GRAMA Act paves the way for
e-government adoption by authorizing the exploration of
!Uniting Agencies and Technology: Utah aligns the business model
of the state agency with IT capabilities to enhance or create
e-government solutions. This forms a unique partnership across state
government that transforms the method in which business is
Effective Government - The Pacific Northwest is one of the most technology
savvy areas in the country. To ensure that we meet the expectations of our
citizens and deliver the most effective government possible, we must maximize
our investment in technology, share infrastructure across government102
jurisdictions and evaluate and challenge business assumptions continually.
Leadership. The current governor, Christine Gregoire, and her predecessor,
Gary Locke, made technology a high priority in their administrations. Their actions
gave the necessary resources and power to the CIO and Department of Information
Services (DIS) to make huge advances in technology, trailblazing the way for
e-government. The CIO also serves as the Director of the DIS. The dual role allows
102 Washington State Department of Information Services, 2005-2007 Strategic Plan May
for strategy and policy formation as well as for implementation and service
Washington has instituted a program called GMAP (Government Management,
Accountability & Performance) that establishes a management panel chaired by the
governor, with participation by agency directors from the Finance Department,
Personnel Department, and the CIO, among other agencies.104 The panel considers
the management of state programs, and how well state programs are meeting
performance objectives. Information technology is a key component of GMAP
program management and service delivery.105
Information technology strategy is based on the priorities of government (POG)
established by the state so that all investments of public resources go to projects and
services that are considered the highest priorities. The model is designed to bring
together agencies with complementary services, and establishes interagency groups
to determine the most efficient use of resources. The governor then uses that
information in establishing budget priorities.106
Strategy Document. The DIS produces a Strategic Plan that is updated
biennially. The former CIO released the 2005-2007 plan on May 1, 2004.107 The108
guiding concepts of the plan are “Reliability” and “Effective Government.”
Washington, in its Strategic Plan, recognizes that technology is vital to the provision109
of government services in the most “responsive and accountable” manner. Some
core values include “ethics and integrity, innovation, valued employees and customer110
service.” The strategic objectives and future direction include:
!Ensure business continuity for major IT systems;
!Continue digital government leadership through innovation;
!Balance stewardship and innovation with effective oversight
!Encourage and enable collaboration;
!Seek additional cost advantages for DIS customers;
!Continue sound, strategic business practices to improve efficiency
and effectiveness; and
103 Gary Robinson, interview by Eve Richter and Bill Moreno, January 3, 2006.
104 Christine Gregoire, Government Accountability, 2005, [http://www.governor.wa.gov/
107 The most recent plan (2007-2009) was released in May 2006, after the research for this
report was completed.
108 Washington State Department of Information Services, 2005-2007 Strategic Plan May
!Attract, develop and retain human resources for continuity.111
The goals and strategies enumerated in the Strategic Plan are consistent with the
information gathered from the interviews and from Washington’s e-government
success. The plan includes an assessment of performance and accomplishments from
the previous iteration, and lays out goals for the next two years in the form of
“Objectives, Strategies and Direction.”112
Implementation. Washington treats its e-government initiative like a
business, and employs continuous improvement strategies to ensure that customers
are receiving the service that they need in a convenient manner. The Digital
Properties and Interactive Technologies staff conducts focus groups and surveys of
users to constantly collect and use feedback to improve service delivery. Rather than
assuming or guessing how customers are using services or what improvements they
need, they use data to strategize and make changes as needed. Customer service
provides FAQs, self-guided online help, and live chat assistance, which is
outsourced. Through this process, the state has determined that it has a 64%
satisfaction rate among citizens, but lower scores (in the 50s) among business113
users. This disparity has led to a renewed focus on improving provision of services
to businesses. A business portal initiative is underway to address this deficit and
better serve the business community in Washington. Washington uses benchmarking
extensively, against FirstGov, the American Cancer Society, and certain government114
websites. Washington strives for a customer satisfaction rate of 68% or above.
To improve citizen and business usage of online-provided services, Washington
conducted a large media campaign in 2005. The media campaign lasted two months
and included bus ads, radio spots, web ads, and local TV commercial spots. Digital
Properties staff attends trade shows and cross-advertises with agency websites.
Cross-advertising serves agencies and the state as visitors to an agency site are
directed to the state site, and visitors to the state site are reminded of individual
agency sites. A usage increase was evident during the peak of the media buy. While
the success and impact of the campaign is unknown, the state has a largely tech-savvy
population, and Department statistics indicate that adoption rates of e-government
services are fairly high for both citizens and businesses.115
All branches of government appear to work well together in Washington. The
legislature, judiciary, governor, and CIO cooperate to strategize and provide
113 Rhonda Polidori and Laura Parma, interview by Eve Richter and Bill Moreno, January
e-government services. For the most part, when legislative solutions are needed, the
legislature is responsive and willing to accommodate.116
Washington maintains a data warehouse offsite recovery center in the eastern
part of the state. If the center has an outage, the state can get back up and run at the
offsite location. Critical state services are a top priority for backup capability, and the
state employs a common standard for emergency communication interoperability.
The DIS offers consolidated enterprise disaster recovery management. The
department works with agencies to identify needs and the governor approves the
plans.117 The Data Center is “one of the largest in the Northwest, processing 92.1
million online mainframe transactions each month.”118 Financial processing is one
of the critical operations performed at the center, so reliability of the center is
Outsourcing. All portal and web services are provided by in-house technical
staff, with some targeted outsourcing for search, help center, and translation services.
Eighty percent of all DIS expenditures are to purchase services from the private
sector, including telecommunications services and large application development.
Only small to medium-sized applications are developed “in-house.” The Digital
Government Web Properties division at the DIS maintains primary responsibility for
the web portal, and, with a relatively small budget, a small number of staff manages
the operations of the portal and web services applications.120
Funding. Most DIS activity is supported by revolving accounts that fund the
utilization of department services and are allocated to agencies in the budget. The
agencies then “purchase” needed services from DIS at a price that includes the actual
cost of the provision of services, depreciation calculations, and a margin. The excess
above cost is used by the DIS to finance investments in new technology and
infrastructure. The DIS strives to provide enterprise solutions that can be used by
numerous agencies. Typically, infrastructure is provided by DIS, and funds to
develop specific applications are obtained through the budget process. Some projects
are financed traditionally through the budget process. In those cases, the legislature
must decide directly if a project is worth the investment of the state. At times,
transaction fees cover the costs of applications, as with hunting licenses.121
Centralized/Decentralized Technology Management. Washington is
centralized to a great degree, and is focused on centralizing even more through
enterprise strategies. The DIS has dual responsibility for providing services and
116 Gary Robinson, interview by Eve Richter and Bill Moreno, January 4, 2006.
118 Washington State Department of Information Services, 2005-2007 Strategic Plan May
120 Gary Robinson, interview by Eve Richter and Bill Moreno, January 4, 2006; Rhonda
Polidori and Laura Parma, interview by Eve Richter and Bill Moreno, January 4, 2006.
121 Gary Robinson, interview by Eve Richter and Bill Moreno, January 4, 2006.
strategy, standards, and project oversight. Therefore, DIS shares responsibility with
any given agency for the success or failure of any technological undertaking. Through
its enterprise approach, DIS has been working with agencies to consolidate services
and information, not just for the efficiency and convenience of the government, but
also for the citizens and businesses that utilize government services. The
consolidation of services and data, as well as the provision of services in new ways,
has allowed agencies to better serve citizens. Improvements for e-government users
and traditional users occur because employee time is freed up. Thus, employees can
offer better service to all customers.122
An interesting process used by Washington is the Digital Academy, wherein
representatives from numerous agencies are brought together to solve an
agency-specific problem. The problems are chosen so that the solution may be used
by other agencies in similar situations. The representatives then work together over
a period of days or weeks to develop a solution that can be packaged and shared
among other agencies. The cooperation between agencies allows for greater buy-in
to cooperative solutions and for more creative problem solving. Agencies feel a sense
of ownership and participation that can potentially increase utilization of
enterprise-wide solutions. This level of cooperation and sharing of solutions is a
hallmark of Washington’s e-government strategy.123
!Leadership: Washington has strong leadership at the executive and
agency level that places a priority on furthering e-government on all
levels. Washington shows a proven and consistent commitment to
e-government and the use of technology on all levels of government.
!Cooperation and Collaboration: Washington employs a
cooperative/collaborative model that encourages both interagency
and top-down activities.
!Continuous Improvement: Similar to modern businesses working
to improve their business model, Washington employs a continuous
improvement strategy to improve its offerings and methods.
Washington actively seeks to benchmark its performance by
employing performance measurements at all levels and consistent
reevaluation of performance.
!Risk-Taking: E-government leaders in Washington are willing to
take risks, to fail in order to do better in the future, and insist on
using the most cutting edge technology available.
!Bold and Innovative Programs: Programs like Digital Academies
and packaged enterprise solutions help keep Washington at the
forefront of technology and interagency cooperation.
123 Dave Kirk, interview by Eve Richter and Bill Moreno, January 4, 2006.
!Centralization & Enterprise Solutions: Infrastructure and services
are centralized to the greatest extent possible and enterprise
solutions are widely employed throughout the state.
Findings: Nationwide Trends and Best Practices
The survey and case studies elicited a number of concluding observations
regarding nationwide trends and best practices. Findings in several noteworthy areas
are detailed below.
Leadership. States that are leaders in e-government show strong support at
all levels of government or, at minimum, from one publicly popular leader such as
the governor. Strong leadership with an evident priority for the advancement of
e-government can provide for broader acceptance, support, and faster growth of
e-government programs. Those states that exhibit steadfast leadership and solid
working relationships between those responsible for decision making and those
responsible for e-government implementation tend to be leaders in e-government
strategy and implementation. Therefore, it appears that leadership is a critical
element to the advancement of e-government in a state. Strong and competent
leadership by CIOs or their equivalents can also influence the success or failure of
e-government. State CIO positions should be filled by professionals with relevant
credentials. They should have similar authority in comparison to other cabinet-level
positions. It should be noted that many states experience frequent turnover in the CIO
position, which may make consistent strategizing and implementation difficult
throughout numerous transitions.
Strategy Documents. Based on survey results and interviews, there are
many innovative ways to accomplish a strategic vision for e-government that do not
involve the distribution of one key strategic plan. For example, Kentucky’s
Prescription for Innovation, in conjunction with the individual county strategic plans
facilitated by ConnectKentucky, could arguably be a better overall strategy for the
Commonwealth and other similar states. In addition, the type of strategic document
relied upon by different states varies widely from IT plans to enterprise architecture
plans and express e-government strategies. Although e-government program strategy
and planning is essential for performance measurement and benchmarking, the type
of strategy or planning process varies and does not appear to affect the success,
failure, or advancement of state e-government strategy and implementation. Thus, as
evidenced in this study, states can develop a range of documents that span from
traditional formal documents to a variety of other strategies and still plan
e-government effectively and efficiently.
Implementation. Cooperation, communication, and collaboration are vital
to the e-government program implementation process. Performance measures and
constant evaluation of e-government programs and services are essential to the
planning and implementation process. Regardless of state leadership, there needs to
be a constant focus on the implementation of the state’s e-government plan. The
collaborative efforts of government leadership, citizens, businesses, educational
institutions, and the private sector are ideal, but not always feasible. Some states find
that the sheer size of their constituencies and decentralization of agencies impede
collaboration in e-government initiatives. Depending on state-specific situations,
risk-taking can be very beneficial. States such as Washington that are willing to take
risks and start trends tend to be at the forefront of technology and in the
transformational e-government phase. Other states that are more risk-averse are more
likely to wait until e-government technologies are proven and, thereby, safer to
implement. Many states agree that marketing specific services to a targeted
constituency is the most efficient and effective form of increasing the adoption rate
of online services. In terms of e-government development, most states are in the
transactional phase of e-government as mentioned in the research and methodology
section of the report. However, states are moving toward the transformative phase,
as evidenced in the increased desire to have “one-stop-shopping” operations on
primary state portals and enterprise architecture development strategies.
Outsourcing. The trend in outsourcing tends to be toward all or nothing, with
states either contracting out the majority of their services to a private vendor or
providing all e-government and web portal services in-house. Outsourcing and
contracting out e-government and portal services are becoming more commonplace,
along with the attendant benefits and risks. Some states could find themselves tied
to contractors who retain ownership of the systems they produce. Other states, such
as Texas, maintain more flexibility in their contracting arrangements and ensure that
the state has ownership of all web properties. The contracting field is narrow, with
a few major players establishing a presence in many states and in some ways
centralizing (or standardizing) portal development. With only a few providers of
e-government contracting services, state e-government services could approach
greater uniformity, as additional states contract with the same providers.
Outsourcing can be controversial due to the high costs of IT projects related to
e-government programs and contracting issues. Problems with contracting and
purchasing processes can influence the public’s perception of IT investment and strip
power from responsible parties such as state CIOs and IT directors who initiate
e-government programs. Costly, unsuccessful programs can influence a CIO’s ability
to maintain consistent funding because state legislatures may be more skeptical in
supporting future e-government projects.
Funding. Financing is of primary concern to most states and the issue is dealt
with in a number of ways, including revolving accounts, transaction fees, general
operating funds, capital funds and federal funds. Many states rely on a combination
of general funds, capital funds, and user fees. Contracting agreements for
e-government services can provide alternative methods for financing by reducing
implementation costs and start-up costs. Some of these methods allow for revenue
sharing in the implementation phase of the e-government process. Many respondents
report that state budget or finance divisions have direct control over e-government
day-to-day management. E-government oversight and management involves multiple
entities, including budget and finance offices.
While e-government is considered a cost-saving measure, reducing the need for
employees to perform some customer service tasks, actual dollar savings or cuts are
often not realized. However, e-government may allow a state to do more with the
same amount of resources. Customers who do not take advantage of e-government
services need the services of employees for their in-person or mail utilization of
services. These customers still realize gains from e-government, as employees are
better able to serve their needs. Some states find that e-government allows them to
slow employment growth because workloads are shifted and reduced. Other states
realize savings from reductions in staffing.
As evidenced in various agencies in Texas, adoption rates that cross the 30%
threshold often indicate cost savings from online service provision. As adoption rates
increase, savings can occur in many areas such as more staff time for new projects,
a decrease in transportation and postage costs, and a greater capacity to manage high
caseloads. E-government web portals may not increase revenues, but they are
increasingly viewed as a necessary mechanism of information delivery to respond to
public and private sectors that demand information and services.
Centralized/Decentralized Technology Management. The
institutionalization of enterprise architecture planning seems to be the goal of many
states, often leading to some form of centralization in terms of management of
e-government programs and web portals that offer many services through one site.
Centralization may be in the form of data sharing, application sharing, or even data
consolidation. Moving toward a centralized structure works to benefit many states
by avoiding overlap, allowing for cooperation and data sharing, and streamlining
processes. In some large states, centralization is not always possible or desirable. In
these states, enterprise orientation can still be part of the thinking and planning
process. The “silo mentality” of agencies, a desire to be independent and to resist
change, is a major obstacle for many states that desire greater centralization.
Enterprise architecture planning is becoming more widespread and can be beneficial
to e-government efforts.
Val Oveson, CGI-AMS Consultant and Former CIO of the State of Utah,
Presentation at the Government Technology Conference, Austin, TX. February 2,
A Blueprint For New Beginnings — IX. Government Reform,
[ http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/usbudget/blueprint/budix .html] .
About USA.gov, [http://www.USA.gov/About.shtml].
Critical Factors for State E-Government Evaluation
Barrett, Katherine and Richard Greene. Powering Up: How Public Managers Can
Take Control of Information Technology. Congressional Quarterly Press, 2001.
Bhatnagar, Subhash. E-Government: From Vision to Implementation: A Practical
Guide with Case Studies. New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2004.
Blackstone, Erwin A., Michael L. Bognanno, and Simon Hakim. Innovations in
E-Government: The Thoughts of Governors and Mayors. Lanham, Rowman &
Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2005.
Curtin, Gregory G., Michael H. Sommer, and Veronika Vis-Sommer. The World of
E-Government. New York: The Haworth Press, Inc., 2003.
Fountain, Jane. Building the Virtual State: Information Technology and Institutional
Change. Washington D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2001.
Garson, David G. and Alexei Pavlichev. Digital Government: Principles and Best
Practices. Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing, 2004.
O’Looney, John A. Wiring Governments: Challenges and Possibilities for Public
Managers. Westport, CT: Quorum Books, 2002.
Schedler, Kuno, Lukas Summermatter, and Bernhard Schmidt, Managing the
Electronic Government: From Vision to Practice. Information Age Publishing Inc.,
West, Darrell M. Digital Government: Technology and Public Sector Performance.
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005.
California Case Study
Agarwal, P.K. Interview by Eve Richter and Bill Moreno. Director of Department of
Technology Services, January 12, 2006.
Armani, Andrew. Interview by Eve Richter and Bill Moreno. Deputy Secretary, State
and Consumer Services Agency, Office of Information Technology, January 9, 2006.
Ashley, Keric. Interview by Eve Richter and Bill Moreno. Director of Data
Management, Department of Education, January 11, 2006.
Kelso, Clark. Interview by Eve Richter and Bill Moreno. California State Chief
Information Officer, January 9, 2006.
Marchand, Vince. Interview by Eve Richter and Bill Moreno. Senior Consultant,
Office of Senator Liz Figueroa, January 12, 2006.
Tansey, Kate M. Interview by Eve Richter and Bill Moreno. Executive Policy
Assistant to the Secretary, California Labor and Workforce Development Agency,
January 13, 2006.
Bazar, Emily. “Oracle Scandal Shuts the Doors at Agency.” The Sacramento Bee, 29
[ h ttp://www.sacbee.com/content/politics/story/ 3387929p-4418355c.html] .
California State Employees Union. SEIU Local 1000. 2006.
[ http://www.seiu1000.org/ onthejob/ourcontracts.cfm] .
Kelso, Clark and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, “California State Information
Technology Strategic Plan: Update to the 2004 Plan,” November 2005.
[ h ttp://www.cio.ca.gov/PDFs/IT_Strategi c_Plan_R2.pdf] .
Office of the California State Information Officer. California State Information
Technology Strategic Plan, November 2004.
[ h ttp://www.cio.ca.gov/PDFs/ITStrategicPlan_111704.pdf] .
Office of the California State Information Officer. California State Information
Technology Strategic Plan, November 2005. Online.
[ h ttp://www.cio.ca.gov/PDFs/IT_Strategi c_Plan_R2.pdf] .
Kentucky Case Study
Inman, Mike. Interview by Lewis Leff and Raenetta Nance. Former Commissioner
of the Commonwealth Office of Technology, January 26, 2006.
Mefford, Brian. Interview by Lewis Leff and Raenetta Nance. President and CEO of
ConnectKentucky, January 27, 2006.
Tompkins, Lee. Interview by Lewis Leff and Raenetta Nance. General Manager,
Kentucky Interactive/Kentucky.gov, January 26, 2006.
ConnectKentucky, About ConnectKentucky. 2006.
[ h ttp://www.connectkentucky.org/ about/] .
ConnectKentucky, “Daviess County Strategic Technology Plan.”
[ h ttp://www.connectkentucky.org/ NR/rdonl yres/C9FA37EC-F174-4C0F-8F66-E
C9FE6CA81FD/0/1_DAVIESSSTRATEGIC TECHNOLOGYPLAN.pdf] .
Kentucky Interactive LLC, February 17, 2006.
Massachusetts Case Study
Gilmond, Lawrence. Interview by Michael D. MacVay and Jon Lee. Chief
Applications Officer, January 24, 2006.
Nevins, Robert and Susan Parker. Interview by Michael D. MacVay and Jon Lee.
Chief Director of Mass.Gov Portal and Customer Outreach, and Director of
Mass.Gov, January 24, 2006.
Enterprise Open Standards Policy, Information Technology Division of the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 13 January 2004.
[ h ttp://www.mass.gov/? pageID=itdterminal&&L=3&L0=Home&L1=Policies%2c
+Standards+%26+Legal&L2=Open+Standards&sid=Ai t d &b = t e r m i n a l c o n t e n t&f=
Enterprise Technical Reference Model — Version 3.5, Information Technology
Division of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 2006.
[ h t t p ://www.mass.gov/? p ageID=itdsub t o p i c & L= 4 & L0 = H o m e & L1 = O p e n + In itiati
ves&L2 =Policies&L3 =Enterprise+Technical+Reference+ M o d e l + - + V e r s ion+3.5&
Millard, Elizabeth. “Microsoft Challenges Massachusetts on Open-Format Plan.”
eWeek.com, September 14, 2005.
[ h ttp://www.eweek.co m/article2/0,1895,1859172,00.asp] .
Office of the CIO, Information Technology Division of the Commonwealth of
[http://www.m a s s . gov/ ? p ageID=i t d m odul echunk&&L=1&L0=Home&sid=Aitd&
b=terminalcontent&f=_organiz ation_administration&csid=Aitd] .
Office of the CIO, Information Technology Division of the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts, “A Message from the CIO.” 2006.
[ http://www.mass.gov/? pageID=itdutilities&L=1&sid = A i t d &U = c i o_gutierrez _me
Open Sources, Information Technology Division of the Commonwealth of
[ h t t p : / / www.m a s s . gov/ ? p ageID=i t d s ubt opi c&L=3&L0=Home&L1=Open+Initiati
ves&L2 =Open+Source&sid=Aitd] .
Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 2000. Census 2000, The
Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
[ http://www.nmcog.org/ Census/General_Demographic_2000.htm] .
Task Force Workgroup Reports, Information Technology Division of The
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 2006.
[ h ttp://www.mass.gov/? p ageID=itdter minal&&L=4&L0=Home&L1=IT+Planning
+%26+Fi nance&L2 =S t r a t e g i c + P l a n n i n g & L3 = E - G o v +Strategi c+P lan&sid=Aitd&
Texas Case Study
Olson, Larry. Interview by Mike MacVay, Oladimeji Mosadomi, and Raenetta
Nance, Chief Technology Officer, Department of Information Resources, February
Coates, Ryan. Interview by Mike MacVay, Oladimeji Mosadomi, and Raenetta
Nance, Managing Director, BearingPoint, Inc., February 23, 2006.
Documents and Presentations:
Deloitte Research Public Sector Study, “Cutting Fat, Adding Muscle: The Power of
Information Technology in Addressing Budget Shortfalls,” 2006.
Department of Information Resources, “Agency Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years
[ h ttp://www.dir.state.tx .us/dir_overv iew/stratplan2005-9/index .htm] .
Department of Information Resources, “Message From the Director,” December 8,
[ h ttp://www.dir.state.tx .us/dir_overview/director.htm] .
Department of Information Resources, “IT Commodity Purchasing Program-
Guidelines and Instructions.” Last updated June 13, 2006.
[http://www.dir.stat e.tx .us/commodities/program.htm].
Department of Information Resources, “Cost-Benefit Study of Online Services,”
TexasOnline Authority, January 2006.
[ http://www.dir.state.tx .us/TIC /dir_info/dirpubs.htm] .
Presentation by Victor Gonzalez, Chief Information Officer, Texas Department of
Agriculture, Government Technology Conference, Austin, TX. February 2, 2006.
Utah Case Study
Clark, David. Interview by Oladimeji Mosadomi and Sumaya Saati. Utah State
Representative, January 23, 2006.
Fletcher, David. Interview by Oladimeji Mosadomi and Sumaya Saati.
E-Government Director, January 25, 2006.
Hughes, Randy. Interview by Oladimeji Mosadomi and Sumaya Saati. State
Technical Architect, Department of Technology Services, January 24, 2006.
North, Rich. Interview by Oladimeji Mosadomi and Sumaya Saati. Policy Analyst
and Member, Utah Technology Commission, January 24, 2006.
Fletcher, David. Presentation at 2006 eGov Summit. E-government Director, State
of Utah, January 24, 2006.
Gott, Carrie. Presentation at 2006 eGov Summit, General Manger, Utah Interactive,
January 24, 2006.
Washington Case Study
Kirk, Dave. Interview by Eve Richter and Bill Moreno. Digital Academy Manager,
January 4, 2006.
Polidori, Rhonda and Laura Parma. Interview by Eve Richter and Bill Moreno.
Digital Government Web Properties Manager and Assistant Director, Department of
Information Services, January 4, 2006.
Robinson, Gary. Interview by Eve Richter and Bill Moreno. Director, Department of
Information Services Chief Information Officer, January 4, 2006.
Gregoire, Christine. “Government Accountability,” 2005,
[ http://www.governor.wa.gov/gm ap/] .
Washington State Department of Information Services, 2005-2007 Strategic Plan
[ http://dis.wa.gov/news/publications/05-07strategicplan.pdf] .