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Chapter 1. Project Overview

Critical success factors for public sector information systems are well known: top management support, clear purpose, identifiable stakeholders, and realistic cost and benefit measures are just a few that contribute to a successful system. These factors are well known, but not easily achieved, even in systems that lie inside the boundaries of a single organization. Add the complexity of multiple organizations and networking technologies that offer the promise of integrated customer-focused services and system initiation, design, development, and operation become far more difficult. Systems that connect state and local government are a case in point.

A massive amount of information exchange occurs between state and local governments. Since there has been little coordination among agencies in how data is represented, processed, and exchanged, however, these interfaces between governments often lack standardization and can waste time and resources. To address these issues, the New York State Governor’s Task Force on Information Resource Management, formed in 1996, established a local government standing committee to work on ways to standardize and simplify how state and local governments interact. The Task Force Standing Committee on Local Government has taken two actions to address these problems.

First, the Task Force released a Technology Policy about how state and local government agencies should work together when creating joint systems. Second, a Special Work Group on State-Local Information Systems was established and charged with the responsibility of generating a best practices document to guide future state-local collaborations on systems that integrate both levels of government into a single service delivery environment. The Center for Technology in Government undertook a project on behalf of the Special Work Group to document state and local government practices that lead to successful intergovernmental information systems.