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.
The more I use Ruby on Rails, the more I become convinced that it is damn near the perfect framework for state government Web-based applications. Ruby on Rails in State GovernmentThat said, I don’t know of a single state, local, or municipal government that is experimenting with Rails in any meaningful fashion. I have a bunch of stored Google queries that have yielded woefully little information about the penetration of Rails into state government over the past year or so. I fear that is because there really has been little or no penetration.
I’ve spent the better part of the last 6 years dealing with state government systems that manage information about citizens receiving government services. As creative as state government can be in some areas, presenting new and interesting visual metaphors for the management of citizen and case (i.e. collections of citizens) information is certainly not a forte. This problem is not solely the fault of state governments. Rather, it’s the product of state government business leaders’ lack of knowledge of the available options, educational obligation complacency on part of government’s IT partners, and the real or perceived difficulty of being visually creative in an environment where accessibility compliance is not an option.
I realize that the title of this blog post is something that one would probably not associate with a blog that purports to cover technology. Bear with me please and surf over to YouTube (or view below) to look at the video posted by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. I think you will agree that the video is very well done. Much like the partnership between Google and the Pennsylvania Tourism Office that I blogged about a couple of months back, this posting to YouTube represents some signs of forward thinking, Web-based focus, and creativity on the part of state government.
Try this on for size – the EPAct2005 is the Y2K of Y2K’07. No, this is not an anagram. No sooner is 2006 behind us and folks are already worried about “the next Y2K”, the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Between January 1st and January 3rd, I’ve received no fewer than 8 emails on this topic. These emails include everything from details about software and hardware that will require some form of remediation to EPAct2005-related business opportunities.
Over the holidays, I had the chance to catch up with some back reading and Podcasts and there was one, in particular, that caught my attention. The book / Podcast combo on transforming state governments by Deloitte & Touche provided some really interesting, innovative, no-holds-barred analysis of the problems that state governments are facing in the early 21st century. Recorded the day after the 2006 elections, Deloitte’s Bob Campbell and Bill Eggers collaborate with Deloitte advisor, former governor of Pennsylvania and first secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge to produce an excellent Podcast. The Podcast serves as a solid introduction to the more extensive analysis in their book, States of Transition: Tackling government’s toughest policy and management challenges.
I’ve added a second state government pattlet to the portfolio. This one is for the case entity. Although a bit more simplistic than our previous pattlet, Case still has some very interesting nuances, such as the use of aspect-oriented techniques to account for associating the writing of case history records with various case-related transactions.
I’ve been kicking around some ideas in this area for a while, in hope of bringing them together in some coherent fashion. The image below represents the fruits of my labors. I’m not sure that it’s prefect or that I won’t look back on this as a sophomoric effort several months from now. The visual does, however, touch on several major observations I’ve made recently and allow me to illustrate them in a fairly clear and succinct fashion. Some of the terms are heavily overloaded and thus a bit more discussion of each of these trends is provided below for clarification.
I had the extremely good fortune to stumble upon a document on XML.gov that describes the cohesion between the varying areas of state government work that I am involved in. The document, a report on the E-Government Act of 2002, Section 212, was a revelation of previously unknown relationships between many areas of my work. Despite the fact that the document was written for the federal government, it appears to be very applicable to state government as well.
I ran across some very unique work from the state of Missouri in the area of project oversight the other day. Missouri’s well documented approach to project oversight is not only a great state government practice; it is by far the best documented practice in the public or private sector that I could find in this area. The project oversight methodology was nominated for a NASCIO recognition award in 2004 under the State IT Management category.