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Feds' New CTO Looks to Enterprise for Guidance

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Posted April 12, 2002 By Michael Singer     Feedback

Former EarthWeb CTO has 24 months to bring the government up to speed with Internet-tested e-security and e-commerce, but says people must come first.

SAN FRANCISCO -- The federal government is poised to transform the way it does business through the use of the E-Government and the man entrusted with overseeing its two-year rollout has a message for the IT crowd -- the citizen comes first.

Norman Lorentz, the presidential appointed Chief Technology Officer and Chief E-Government Architect for the U.S., is looking to making your technical experience with the government a little friendlier, but the idea is the same for tech companies dealing with customers.

"From my experiences, I learned that people are getting used to being treated well the first time around," said Lorentz. "People don't like having to repeatedly re-enter their information when having to deal with the government.

The former EarthWeb and U.S. Postal Service CTO, is addressing fellow technical decision-makers here at the InfoWorld CTO Forum 2002, where he says he is learning form the industry as well as educating it.

"If 78 percent of people using the Internet use government Web sites and tools, what we need to do is to establish an easier way to do it," said Lorentz. "I'm here to make those connections with business that have tech that will make it easy for citizens to obtain service and interact with the federal government."

Lorentz's office is entrusted with this year's $48 billion tech budget and a $52 billion proposed budget for IT spending next year. Some $18 billion of the new spending is centered on development, the rest consists of existing systems and maintenance.

The goal now is to ramp up 24 separate initiatives sometime in the next 18 to 24 months.

Programs like EZ Tax Filing, E-Grants and Disaster Assistance and Crisis Response are among those programs bundled in the rollout.

The good news for business is that Lorentz is looking to the private sector to shoulder the brunt of technology to help it roll out its services.

"Instead of building our own E-Recruitment package, why not use something from Monster.com or Dice.com?" said Lorentz. "

The OMB is currently going through a request for proposal process, which Lorentz says is more efficient than going through General Services Administration's Federal Supply Service schedule or another government contract process.

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