Scope of Work
Government is all about information and service delivery. The World Wide Web, offering virtually unlimited access and almost instant feedback, seems perfectly suited for government work. By transcending time, place, and distance, the Web removes barriers that often hamper effective service. For these reasons, most government organizations are eager to use the Web to deliver services to citizens and to conduct internal business.
However, the Web abounds with examples of premature, ineffective attempts to take advantage of its power to visualize and communicate information. Developing a service delivery strategy that incorporates the World Wide Web is neither simple, nor straightforward, nor inexpensive.
In late 1995, dozens of New York state and local government agencies identified a long list of learning objectives that became the agenda for the Internet Services Testbed Project at CTG. Over the first six months of 1996, the Center worked with seven state and local agencies to assess the feasibility, costs, and benefits of Web-based services. The agencies included:
- Division of Housing & Community Renewal
- Division of Military & Naval Affairs
- Empire State Development
- Governor's Traffic Safety Committee
- Hamilton County
- Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Services
- Office of Real Property Services
The project activities were focused in two areas. First, to develop, test, and evaluate prototype Web sites for each agency and to identify the technology, management, and policy barriers they encountered and the lessons they learned. Second, to develop practical tools based on the project experience that would assist other organizations in their efforts to provide Web-based services.
Six of the seven agencies successfully completed prototype Web sites during the project. Five sites were released on the Web by August of 1996, with the sixth following in January of 1997. The development and evaluation process uncovered a number of obstacles that the agencies worked to overcome. Those barriers and the key lessons learned are the main focus of this project report.