Now, however, Florida is deploying an ERP system and improving its accounting and cash-management subsystems. Over the next 18 to 24 months, Florida also will transition to MyFloridaNet, a statewide, multipurpose communications network that will support enterprise applications and government business processes across state agencies.
Perhaps the most significant impediments to IT reform in government are history and reluctance to change, Marstiller said. "The entities comprising the government enterprise have long operated independently of one another, and the, 'We've always done it this way' attitude is pervasive," she said. "It's a challenge to get them to broaden their perspective and be more enterprise-centric. Some might argue that the legislative process also impedes progress and reform. To overcome these challenges, you must have a solid business case for whatever you're proposing, and demonstrate value to the individual agency, the enterprise and the citizen."
Marstiller is most proud of Florida's work in law enforcement communications. "We've put Florida in a position to become the first state in the nation to have a statewide seamless, fully interoperable law enforcement and first responder radio network," she said. "All five phases of the Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System became operational in April 2004. This digital system serves more than 6,500 users with 14,000 radios in patrol cars, boats, motorcycles and aircraft -- wherever they are in the state."
-- Shane Peterson, Associate Editor
Pushing the Pace of Change
Sen. Ron May is tireless in his approach to helping government help the people.
"I've tried for 10 years now to pass an Internet portal bill," he said. "Finally got it done last year. It's not like in the business world. In the business world, if you want to get something done, you find somebody and you have an agreement on what you have to accomplish; you shake hands and go to work."
The senator is accustomed to making quick decisions as president and owner of May Corp., a firm specializing in computer consulting for small businesses. May wishes it were that way in government, where he bridles at the slow pace of change. "I've never seen anything in my life that takes so long," he said.
May said the culture must change if government is to become more efficient. "These guys protect everything they've got. They don't want to modernize. In a lot of cases, they don't even want IT because they think it means their job is going to go away."
Still, he's managed to make progress. For instance, May is responsible for a bill-tracking system and a wireless network throughout Colorado's Capitol.
Despite his impatience, May tries to take a more subtle approach to changing government. "In the business world, if I've got more people than I need, I just cut back. You can't do that in government. I try not to talk about saving but about modernizing; we're going to be more efficient, and we're going to respond to what the public needs more quickly."
-- Jim McKay, Justice Editor
Ruth Ann Minner
Overhauling Delaware IT
Gov. Ruth Ann Minner is responsible for giving Delaware CIO Tom Jarrett that almost impossible first assignment: Get a brand-new, Cabinet-level department running in two years.
She knew something had to change in the state, and she made it a priority.
"Reforming how Delaware uses technology was one of my first orders of business as governor," Minner said. "Early in my first term, my