IT Trends in State Government

Published on Friday, June 22, 2007

With the 2007 NASCIO IT recognition award submission process closed and the evaluation process in full swing, I’m anxiously awaiting the publication of the nominations from across the country. It’s always interesting to see what new and innovative practices are being applied in different state governments. With Web 2.0, blogging, wikis, multi-media, and social computing firmly established in the Internet at large (see Time Person of the Year 2006), it’s high time that this wave hits the government sector, which usually lags behind in such trends by a couple of years.

IT Trends in State Government

I’ve been catching up on blogs the last couple of days and took in a couple of interesting sites. Dave Fletcher, who I believe is the CIO or CTO of Utah, has re-emerged with a vengeance in his blogging and is to thank directly or indirectly for much of this information.

  • Kansas’s new state portal features a MyKansas page with drag-and-drop type widgets similar to what you’d find on the Web 2.0 style portals like Netvibes. The portal has some other interesting features but still belays the shallow integration with other state sites that characterizes most state portals. As is to be expected, it is likely to be a multi-decade initiative to provide deep multi-channel integration across the different state government agency service offerings.
  • The federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) looks to have really done their blogging presence right on their Pandemic Flu Leadership Blog. Well laid out, with expert contributions and a wealth of comments (albeit moderated), the site is a great example of opening up a dialog with the experts in this area and making participation and information accessible to the public at large.
  • The State of Delaware is using VoiceXML to provide telephone-accessible services to citizens across different agencies (here’s that multi-channel thing again). This directly addresses the fact that e-government doesn’t flow exclusively through the Web browser. Citizens requiring state assistance services are less likely to have access to a high-speed Internet connection, less likely to be comfortable with these services, and more likely to have some degree of physical or cognitive impairments; all of which make Web-browser based applications less than ideal. VoiceXML solutions can leverage XML technologies in existing Web-based applications and provide access to citizens through a very important alternative channel.
  • I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention some of the trends in Dave’s own state, Utah. Dave has a bunch of information in his blog. I appreciate especially the Google search function as I’ve heard anecdotally, on a number of occasions, tales of state employees bypassing their own state portals and going to Google directly when they really want to find something within their states.

In Pennsylvania, as I believe in many other states, IT consolidation is the order of the day. The recently re-issued executive order from Governor Rendell has a specific section covering IT Consolidation and Services (Section G) and has strengthened the IT review and governance processes significantly from the previous revision. BSCoE’s implementation of the Logidex product, which I’ve blogged about previously, will provide some support in the area of reuse, consolidation and measurement and will be one of the NASCIO submissions that is publicized in the next couple of months.