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A Publication Featuring The Information Services Technology of Maine State Government
|Volume VII, Issue 1||January 2004|
By Mary N. Cloutier
Q. The State has made many strides using information technology, especially with e-government services. Will this be an important part of the Administrations technology vision?
A. Coming from one of the agencies that was instrumental in the establishment of the state portal concept, I am very supportive of the development of e-government services and the efforts of InforME to assist state agencies in providing them. I have seen firsthand how State government can improve its delivery of services through the use of electronic applications. The Internet provides citizens and businesses with a convenient alternative to obtain government services, an important concept in a large rural state such as Maine.
Q. What will be the technological impact of the proposed merger of the Departments of Human Services (DHS) and Behavioral and Developmental Services (BDS)?
A. The merger of DHS and BDS will provide a number of opportunities, including the ability to more effectively integrate data so that case managers have access to all appropriate client information. Providing the tools to more efficiently share information between various programs serving the same client base, should lead to a better use of resources and allow staff to be more effective in the delivery of services. This is an overarching concept that can generally be applied to state government services. It is important for government agencies to explore ways to deliver services in a manner that sees past the “silos” and towards a more integrated style, based upon service delivery that is streamlined and customer oriented.
Q. How important is it to include municipalities when thinking about integration of services?
A. The vision to integrate services at the state level should be extended to include services at the municipal and county levels. Current services and transactions that require interaction with more than one government entity are natural starting points to begin this type of integration. A few agencies have already begun this cooperative process. The Secretary of State, through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, has partnered with municipalities to provide vehicle registration and payment of local excise taxes online. Additionally, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has implemented MOSES, at municipal locations, to meet a variety of licensing needs for sportsmen.
The cooperation among state, municipal and county governments is not limited to Web-based services. Opportunities to establish partnerships may also be available in the area of Homeland Security. By effectively coordinating resources and funding, communication systems and training efforts could be developed that would enhance public safety across the state.
Q. The Chief Information Officer is developing a protocol for the management of technology projects. What type of benefits do you anticipate from this effort?
A. State government needs to coordinate its technology initiatives and part of this coordination can be achieved by having state agencies develop technology plans as part of the budgeting process. By planning strategically, we can ensure the state’s investment in technological resources will provide long term benefits. The project management protocol being developed by the Chief Information Officer will be an important part of this initiative, ensuring that the State obtains the greatest value for its investments in technology. Additionally, the CIO’s format will provide smaller agencies with the necessary tools to undertake these projects.
Q. As Chair of the Information Services Policy Board (ISPB), what role do you anticipate the Information Services Managers Group (ISMG) will play in working with the ISPB?
A. I feel the ISPB and the ISMG will have many opportunities to work together on the various technology issues facing the State. The CIO has already begun discussions with the ISMG to open up the lines of communication and find ways in which we can coordinate our efforts for the benefit of everyone. I have been pleased to know that the members of the ISMG share our desire to work collectively on technology initiatives.
Q. How will the agency IT Security Policies complement current technology efforts?
A. In accordance with the ISPB requirement, the CIO has begun efforts to assist state agencies with the implementation of various IT policies, most recently the IT Security Policy. Each agency is required to develop compliance plans that ensure the integrity and security of its applications, data and systems. Several training sessions have been held and have been very well attended. The IT policies are important components to the State’s overriding goal of enhancing and supporting the functionality and security of our network and operating systems.
Additionally, the Bureau of Information Services (BIS) has been instrumental in strengthening the State’s network. BIS provides important enterprise services to all state agencies and is continually taking steps to improve the network.