Andre Goodfriend

I agree that the business need must drive the technological implementation. To some extent, the term “Gov 2.0” implies that technology is driving policy — i.e. that the innovations implied in the term “Web 2.0” (e.g. greater interactivity, easy to assemble web-based front ends, etc.) can be applied directly to current governance models and through their implementation force change. Instead, it may be better to think of “Web 2.0” as changing the environment in which government operates, and enabling humans involved in governance to identify needs that might be better addressed through implementation of the technological innovations that they now use regularly elsewhere — primarily for leisure activities.

That is to say that the “subject matter experts” or “business process owners” or “program offices” need to be the ones to identify the need and then the process support offices (e.g. IT) become the ones to implement or develop a solution. The IT office then assumes the responsibility for maintaining the system and ensuring that the technology meets corporate requirements, such as security.

On the one hand, though, there is the “build it and they will come” mentality whereby the technology offices implement new technologies without identifying the need. But, on the other hand, there is the “let’s use it because it’s already there” mentality where business process owners, finding their support offices unresponsive, turn to existing public web tools to address needs, because they are “quick, cheap, and nimble” but at the same time bypassing their IT office which finds itself unable to provide support or ensure compliance with corporate requirements.

A constructive dialogue between both the process owners and those who support the process is essential, so that the process owners understand better how existing technologies might best address their needs, and so that process supporters develop an expertise in Web 2.0 and can provide quick and nimble support in implementing Web 2.0 technology that complies with corporate requirements.

Another question to ask though is whether corporate management is ready with policies concerning the use of Web 2.0 technologies hosted externally. What are the archiving and transparency requirements? What about 501 compliance, etc. What the changed environment has meant is that we no longer turn to government systems for our solutions, but to external systems that our essentially beyond our control and ability to manage.