E-govts focus on people and process

Discussions with other administrations at the Microsoft Corp.-organized Government Leaders’ Summit in the U.S. last month confirmed to the New Zealand representative that the real challenges in e-government relate more to change management and people issues than the technology.

E-government unit chief Brendan Boyle, who attended the conference in Microsoft’s home town of Redmond, found ample opportunity to talk to other government representatives in the three-and-a-half-day timetable.

“Most of the presentations were not on the technology per se, but more around the process of offering e-services,” he says. Boyle did not make a presentation.

Addresses from Canadian, U.S., U.K. and European representatives gave valuable updates on the state of practice in such critical areas as authentication, he says.

There was also an opportunity to “get views from Microsoft on the future”, Boyle says, but he declined to discuss these, saying much information was already issued by the company.

On a related topic, Boyle says it is not the role of the e-government unit to evaluate the merits of new software products for the information of government agencies. Last month Computerworld reported his comments that no such evaluation had been done of Microsoft’s Windows Server 2003.

A report from Boyle on open source software, which sparked a statement from State Services Commissioner Michael Wintringham alerting agencies to the open source option, was on a different level, he says.

“That was a policy matter, not a question of evaluating technology.” Forums such as Govis, the government IS managers’ forum, provide a more appropriate arena for evaluation and discussion of the fit of individual products to government needs, he says.