Kablenet also notes that the US have tested the first version of their “Government Gateway”-clone, known as the ‘e-authentication gateway’. I’m delighted for them – delivering projects like this is a challenge and it seems it’s been overcome in the USA too, at least in a pilot version. The real stuff lies ahead. Getting the standards adopted for transactions using XML, getting industry to adopt it and use it broadly, making digital certificates work cross-platform, making the services easy enough for citizens and businesses to plug into and use – those are the next set of challenges. We’ve been there – and it’s taken us nearly 2 years of hard work to get this far. These kind of issues can be solved much faster through collaboration than competition.
Interestingly, other news reports note that the US lawmakers are lobbying for an additional $200 millon to fund e-government work and are looking to appoint a “government-wide IT manager“. If that person is to have budgetary and organisational accountability across the whole of federal government IT, then some real progress can be made – and dramatically faster than almost anywhere else. But … and what a BUT it is … if the authority is lacking, and the person has to rely on influence, then there is no chance for success.