After learning about E-Government and E-Governance for the sector presentation, I decided to do some further research on e-government in the US. On October 21, the Center for Digital Government released its Digital States Survey, an evaluation and ranking of the ICT practices of each of the 50 states. The letter takes a look at what state governments are doing to digitally connect with their constituents and assigns letter grades based on achievements in tech related service areas. The only two states to receive A grades were Michigan and Utah. Pennsylvania, California, Minnesota, Ohio, West Virginia, and Tennessee were the only states to be awarded an A-. The most improved state since the last ranking in 2010 was Indiana, while the largest dropoff state was Florida. I was interested to examine what specific actions caused the rise and fall of the two states based on knowledge of e-Government.
In the case of Indiana, it was largely a result of initiatives put in place a few years ago finally making gains in the ICT area. This reflects the idea that once the initial foundational technology is put in place, states and communities will see development as the technologies are improved upon and as people learn how to better utilize them. One aspect that contributed to improvement was the consolidation of ICTs, as enterprise IT initiatives are deployed for all 92 executive branch agencies, elected officials and the courts system. The state operates over 200 websites to serve various state functions, including more than 10 portals to ensure interagency communication and efficiency. Increased oversight also played a role in Indiana’s improvement, with performance measures implemented for each executive branch agency and results that are reported quarterly.
As for Florida, their problems stemmed from the lack of a statewide ICT leadership agency. The previous one, the Agency for Enterprise Information Technology was defunded on July 1 of this year. The proposal for a new agency to fix the ineffectiveness of the old one was shot down when Governor Rick Scott vetoed the bill. While there are plans to come up with a new state strategy in the next legislative session, the fact that this leadership vacuum was allowed to happen reflects a lack of emphasis and direction regarding ICTs at the government level. These two examples show that increased priority on digital policy implementation and a cohesive, well-defined government strategy are keys to creating effective e-Government.