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Publications & Results
Reports (4)
State-Local Technical Report Cover
The New York State-Local Internet Gateway Prototype was built to test the idea of a single point of contact for government-to-government (G2G) work among multiple state and local governments in range of policy areas. The Prototype channeled multiple G2G business functions through a secure, single sign-on, role-based system accessible through the Internet. The goal of the Prototype was to assess management, policy, technology, and cost implications likely to be associated with the development of a full-scale G2G system and to understand what would be necessary for state, county, and municipal governments to realize greater efficiency, high quality authentic data, and more consistent and coordinated services.

In the fall of 2002, the Center for Technology in Government (CTG) at the University at Albany conducted current practice research to identify and examine existing government to government (G2G) portal projects. The purpose of this research was to determine if single sign-on intergovernmental portals, that channel business functions across programmatic areas and levels of government, exist in New York State or in other states. And, if they do exist, what are the policy, management, technological, financial, and other factors that influenced their development. Further, this research was to help inform the development of an intergovernmental prototype project at CTG.

The New York State-Local Internet Gateway Prototype was built to identify, demonstrate, and evaluate key factors associated with the design, development, and deployment of a single point of contact for G2G work among state and local governments. The Prototype development was conducted in three stages. The first focused on the refinement of the idea of a gateway and the selection of applications to be included in the Prototype. The second stage was the development of a Prototype (the Gateway and three business applications), and the final stage consisted of Prototype testing and refinement. During these three stages, the project participants were organized into specialized teams and partnered with corporate software development teams. Together, they then tested the Prototype.

Results

Lessons in Intergovernmental IT Governance

December 2004 > Download PDF
CTG is a member of the national Partnership for Intergovernmental Innovation (Pi2). In July 2004, the State-Local Gateway project was presented at a Pi2 workshop on intergovernmental IT governance. The workshop report, Lessons in Intergovernmental IT Governance, was prepared by CTG Director Sharon Dawes and includes a presentation given by Program Manager Meghan Cook. It highlights leadership, culture, stakeholders, and stewardship as elements of effective intergovernmental work.

Interim Results

Ideal Characteristics, Benefits, and Barriers Associated with a State-Local Internet Gateway

Although the State-Local Internet Gateway Prototype Project is not a full system, the thinking is to work towards a vision of an ideal Gateway for G2G business relationships. Two exploratory discussion meetings were held in September and November 2002 with over 20 state and local representatives to discuss the ideal characteristics, benefits, and barriers associated with developing a perfect State-Local Internet Gateway for New York State. The following information was generated by this group (which has since been identified as the Advisory Committee):

IDEAL CHARACTERISTICS

Governance and Strategy

  • State and local organizations jointly govern the Gateway. The governing structure includes fair representation of state, county, and municipal stakeholders. It features open communication channels, participatory decision processes, and trouble-shooting and problem-solving mechanisms for resolving differences.
  • Decisions are driven by real business needs. Each application addresses the information, management, and process needs associated with a significant business function that is useful to all relevant state and local organizations. Each application offers value right from the start-up phase, even with less than full participation of all state and local agencies.
  • The Gateway is affordable to all interested participants.The costs associated with adopting and using the gateway are not prohibitive to any state agency, county, or municipality.
  • The Gateway is financially solvent. The gateway is designed to offset initial investments and ongoing costs by future cost reductions to all participants.
  • Security policies protect the Gateway from threats and misuse. Policies are in place that protect the Gateway from external threats and limit access and use according to roles associated with specific functional requirements.

Content

  • All data are high quality, accurate, and authentic. All data are cleansed, and data sources and metadata are available to check for "fitness for use" as well as authenticity.
  • Information and applications are dynamic and current. The resources and functions of the Gateway are constantly updated to provide new or improved information, tools, and services.
  • Content is modular, flexible, versatile, and open to improvement. The information and applications that are part of the gateway follow a standard set of conventions and are continually evaluated for usability and improvement under a variety of local conditions. New business-driven information resources and applications are added regularly.

Design and Usability

  • The Gateway is easy to use for people with varying levels of skill. The gateway is transparent and simple to use with a common vocabulary, single sign-on, and low technical skills required for users. It is accompanied by solid training programs and support mechanisms.

  • Applications are responsive to the needs of users. Applications are designed from the user or customer point of view and provide on-line help, and immediate, real time confirmation of the success of a transaction.

  • The Gateway is highly reliable and available to all state and local users. Useful connectivity is available to all participants, including basic infrastructure from desktop equipment and software to network speed and bandwidth.

  • Security technologies protect it from both internal and external threats. All standard security measures are in place to protect the infrastructure, transactions, and data from internal abuse and external threats.

  • The overall design is modular, flexible, versatile, and open to improvement. The design is fully envisioned, but built in a modular fashion that delivers both early and long-term benefits and does not require the full participation of all state and local agencies to operate successfully. The gateway follows an evolutionary development strategy where ongoing evaluation leads to continual improvement.

  • Takes advantage of existing efforts. Where existing projects or applications that address shared processes and business needs already exist, they are extended into the gateway or modified as needed.

BENEFITS AND BARRIERS


Benefits

  • Efficiency - It will save time and money and reduce the manual workload by achieving economies of scale. It will allow for the creative use of funds already allocated in budgets. It will be built as much as possible on existing IT and communication systems. It will also promote quicker dissemination of information at all levels of government.

  • Improved Coordination and Consistency - Shared processes, common data definitions, and more logical programmatic connections would support better coordination between the state and local levels, more consistency in program design, and a more consistent level and quality of service delivery.

  • Data Quality and Access - Well-defined, consistent, complete, accurate, and shared data will allow the re-use of the same information to satisfy multiple demands and support greater data integration and use for multiple users. Improved data management will reduce costs and promote wider responsibility for information stewardship across the government.

Barriers

  • Cost - There are serious concerns about the size of the initial and ongoing costs of a gateway and who will pay for what.

  • Challenges of Complexity - Multiple and conflicting state business rules and practices prevent needed coordination across multiple partners. Because so many programs are federally defined, these rules and practices are not always within the state's authority to change. In addition, the diversity of local governments is very wide and their capabilities and practices are far from uniform from place to place. Finally, many legacy systems are in place that cannot be replaced or significantly changed in the near future.

  • Politics - Support for a State-Local Internet Gateway will have to compete for support among many other governmental priorities and there will be difficulty maintaining political support across the election cycles of so many agencies and jurisdictions. Concerns about turf, control, and management combine with questions about who will have authority to do what. Agencies may resist opening their data sources to new uses or users.

State-Local Internet Gateway Prototype Project Working Assumptions for the Project and Team

*This list is a work-in-progress and will be updated periodically by the Prototype Development Team.

Prototype Scope

  • We aim to build, test, and evaluate a prototype Gateway for G2G business transactions. Phase One is to identify and document the content and structure. Phase Two is to build, test, and evaluate the prototype.

  • Phase one of the project is to define the prototype. We define a "prototype" as a system built for a proof of concept. It is not a full-scale system or even a pilot. A prototype essentially identifies, demonstrates, and evaluates the key management, policy, technology and costs implications. A prototype is also built to identify the value proposition all participants.

  • In order for the prototype to generate enough useful results, it must demonstrate how multiple organizations at different levels of government work together. It must also demonstrate how different kinds and sizes of local governments in different parts of the state would participate.

  • In order for the prototype to generate enough useful results, it must also focus on at least two different business processes in two different domains.

Project Participation

  • We will strive to have 2-3 state agencies and about 6-10 local governments to actively participate in the design and testing of the prototype as part of the prototyping team

  • We define "local" as including counties, cities, towns, and villages. We refer to cities, towns, and villages collectively as "municipalities."

  • State, county, and municipal participants are all critical to the success of the project. Design decisions will take their different needs and capabilities into account.

  • State and local agencies will be both customers and suppliers of information and services to the gateway; neither is exclusively the customer of the other.

  • CTG will take responsibility for selecting and coordinating corporate partners to take part in the prototyping effort.

Management and Process of the Project

  • CTG will take responsibility for leading and managing both phases of the project.

  • In order to remove barriers to participation in the prototype, CTG will take responsibility for identifying and applying for funding for local government involvement in phase two.

  • The organizations involved in the prototype design and test will need to meet face-to-face on a regular basis, as well as communicate electronically.

  • A larger group of interested state and local organizations will serve as an advisory committee and will do most of its business via email.

Investigation

  • The project will investigate existing portal-type projects and include information gathered by the NYS Office for Technology's (OFT) "Bridge the Gap" analysis in the investigation.

  • The State-Local Internet gateway Prototype Project will investigate and document the full cost structure of developing and implementing the prototype.