Thursday, March 06, 2003

The Money Pit Gets Shallower

All over the place, the reins are being drawn in on e-government spending. But despite that, there is sufficient money in various pots across any number of agencies, departments or local authorities to deliver some great projects. BUT. That would assume that there was a process to easily aggregate money, manage a joint project and remain accountable for delivery. The dep sec of the US Labor department has it right ... "When you begin to think about a new IT project, you should think, 'Are there other agencies already doing this and can we piggyback? with them.' OMB will not approve funding requests unless you ask those sorts of questions." There are few people in the UK government hierarchy who would think to ask that question. The prevailing approach is to look for as many differences as possible. Once you have a long list and coupled with the issues around management and funding joint initiatives, you can easily claim it's too hard to do anything but go solo. And that's why we have more websites than we can count, why most traffic on any given site probably comes from a search engine and why we have not yet learned how to cope for peak loads. Bitter? Possibly. In the past I've stayed away from commenting on what's going on day to day in e-government in the UK (with occasional exceptions), preferring to stay on the "what do we need to do" page. I'm going to shift tack a little and comment more on what I see is wrong altogether now, omitting names where necessary to protect the innocent, the stupid and the downright incompetent. Should be fun.

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