Progress Report


Information Technology: A Host of Customer Benefits

Government has no more powerful tool to serve customers than information technology. It is central to the Administration's goals of rebuilding the economy and improving the quality of life for Americans.

As James Flyzik, chair of the Government Information Technology Services (GITS) Working Group, wrote about the effort to reinvent government:

It is an opportunity to use the power of information technology to fight the war on crime, to deliver entitlement benefits to the needy in a secure and efficient manner while eliminating fraud and cheating, to improve health care delivery, to find missing children, to improve privacy protection for all citizens -- in short, to completely reshape how government delivers its services to its customers.[4]

As a result, the President and Vice President want to create a National Information Infrastructure (NII), a network of high-speed telecommunications networks, advanced computer systems, and software. To spearhead the effort, the President created the White House Information Infrastructure Task Force (IITF), which works with Congress and the private sector to help deploy an NII.

In December 1993, the Vice President established the GITS Working Group -- as part of IITF -- to coordinate efforts to improve the application of information technology by government agencies. More specifically, the working group is charged with implementing the NPR recommendations that involve information technology. The group meets at least monthly and includes representatives from nearly a dozen executive departments, White House offices, some independent agencies, the legislative branch, and NPR.

One of the working group's main responsibilities was to define a vision of information technology in an efficient, effective, customer-oriented electronic government and oversee its implementation. The vision it developed is: "To help create a government that uses information technology to interact with and serve its customers on their terms."

For tomorrow's world, the working group envisions a host of new customer benefits. They include easier public access to government information, definitive and reliable information, customer surveys and government responses to them that reflect public demands, the use of information technology to help agencies solve problems that affect real people, and a unified system through which citizens receive government benefits. (For more on that unified system, see the Close-Up "Delivering Benefits: The Federal Government Goes Electronic.")


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