State CIOs Tackle E-Gov at Baltimore Conference

State CIOs Tackle E-Gov at Baltimore Conference

By William Welsh, Staff Writer

As the National Association of State Information Resource Executives prepares for its annual meeting this week in Baltimore, its members are enjoying growing prestige in political circles arising from their skilled handling of the year 2000 problem and their aggressive pursuit of digital government.

One sign of the organization's growing importance was seen earlier this month at a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology, where NASIRE President Otto Doll was asked to provide the association's view of the Chief Information Officer of the United States Act of 2000 and the Federal Information Policy Act of 2000. NASIRE supports the creation of a federal governmentwide CIO, who would report to the president, said Doll, South Dakota's CIO.

Incoming NASIRE 2000-2001 President Aldona Valicenti said it is fitting that the association should serve as a resource on federal technology policy. "Since Y2K, we've been called upon, from a leadership perspective, to testify before Congress," said Valicenti, Kentucky's CIO.

During her term as president, Valicenti will continue to implement the strategic plan that Doll helped launch. The plan calls for establishing a national voice for the organization, enhancing service delivery through information sharing, and reinforcing the association's brand so that NASIRE speaks as whole rather than as 50 separate voices.

Lexington, Ky.-based NASIRE is the primary organization representing chief information officers and information resource executives and managers from the 50 states, six U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.

With Y2K behind it, NASIRE has turned its attention to the issues surrounding digital government. "We've started the hard work of realizing digital government," Doll said.

NASIRE will devote a substantial amount of time and energy at the Sept. 24-27 fall conference framing the issues surrounding digital government and sharing best practices on various aspects of the topic.

Panel discussions are scheduled for the conference on digital government, enterprise architecture, digital divide and IT privacy and security. Other key events are a meeting of the Washington-based National Governors' Association E-governance Taskforce and the NASIRE Corporate Leadership Council roundtable.

The latter is an opportunity for NASIRE's corporate members to share their experiences and give an industry perspective on digital government. At the roundtable, CIOs will hear their business partners discuss strategies for business models that produce both profitability for vendors and return on investment for citizens.

Doll said he believes CIOs are interested in hearing about private industry's experience with customer-client services and the ways that private-sector companies have set up collaborative relationships to work together, which states might model both internally among agencies and externally with each other.

The conference allows CIOs an opportunity to "look and see what companies have and have not done in those arenas," said Doll.

States are trying to emulate many of the same things that the private sector is doing, said Valicenti, such as re-engineering processes, enabling e-commerce through new technologies and enabling better customers.

In turn, she said she wants industry to step forward and tell their state partners what statutory or regulatory barriers stand in the way of states procuring the best technologies available.

"I think our industry partners should also challenge us where our laws are prohibiting us from doing business in a sensible way," she said. "Most of us would be willing, when we can, to get that changed. No one wants to do business in a way that is counterproductive."

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