Thursday, August 04, 2005

A Little Bit of History

I became aware of the Center For Digital Government in the 90's when I went to work for CIO Dave Moon and Governor Leavitt. Unfortunately, the state had not done a great job of bringing a lot of services online (in spite of great vision) and the website had fallen from prominence after an impressive 2nd Place showing in an early Best of the Web competition. Utah unfortunately was 35th in the country in the Digital State Survey due primarily to an out-of-date website and only three transactional services online. No hunting and fishing licenses, no motor vehicle registration, occupational and professional license, and very few web application development skills among state IT employees. Dave was hired by the Governor to do what is known in the private sector as a "turnaround," and Dave hired me. Our goals: Develop a digital state strategy. Get all the players lined up and do what needed to be done: "Make IT Happen." Without turning this into a "how to" or a history lesson we contracted with a company that had the skills in web applications development and a successful track record in other states to do rapid applications development (90-120) days using an N-tier architecture approach [I oversaw the contract] and the rest is history. By 2000 (two short years) Utah became 5th in the Nation in the Digital State Survey and put Utah on the map as a "tech savvy" state . Three components fell together naturally...the vision of the Governor and CIO, the commitment of the legislature, and frankly the competitions that benchmarked Utah against the rest of the states. We had a goal to reach for and a way to measure it. This was the piece the Center provided not only to us but all the state's. I believe the creation of the survey and the Best of the Web competitions accelerated, and continues to accelerate, digital government at the state, county and municipal levels. Next post? My new relationship with the Center.

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