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Chapter One: Project Overview

Our Age of Anxiety is, in great part, the result of trying to do today's jobs with yesterday's tools.
Marshal McLuhan


Over the past decade, state agencies and local governments throughout New York State have increasingly used information technology to support their work. During this period, dramatic increases have occurred in the use of computing and networks for government services and internal business operations. Since the mid 1990s, the Internet has exerted two powerful forces for change in government use of technology. First, the Internet offers government a new and flexible platform for information-based services. Second, through the World Wide Web, both agencies and the public were introduced to the possibilities for more responsive and customized services. Together, these effects generated what we have come to call "e-government."

While the early focus of e-government has been primarily on government-to-citizen (G2C) and government to business (G2B) services, government-to-government (G2G) initiatives are now gaining increased attention. The sharpening G2G focus represents a broad realization that improved services to citizens and businesses, more efficient operations, greater transparency, and all the other externally-focused goals of government must rest on internal operating policies and behind-the-scenes administrative functions that are well-designed, intelligent, and interoperable.

To achieve a high quality "back office" that supports very visible public service goals, government needs more than advanced technology. It also needs new strategies, thoroughly redesigned business processes, and creative incentives and mechanisms for interagency and intergovernmental collaboration and coordination. The project reported here explored this set of requirements through a Web-based Prototype involving state, county, and municipal governments.

This report is organized into four chapters plus appendices. This first chapter discusses the background of the project and the issue of G2G integration that it addressed. This chapter also offers a vision of an ideal G2G gateway and its benefits, as well as the barriers that stand in the way of its creation. The second chapter explains the design of the Gateway Prototype. Chapter 3 tells the story of the project itself, who participated, how the Prototype was developed, and how it was tested. Chapter 4 discusses the results of the evaluation and presents conclusions and recommendations for future G2G work. The Appendices include illustrations from the Prototype, lists of participants, and field test and evaluation information.