took second place in the surveys management/administration category, which is seen as a strong predictor of future IT success.

"Since Gov. Ryan took office, we have been relentless in the pursuit of moving government closer to the people. That has given me the mandate to tell agencies that they can no longer live in their silos," said Reynolds. "You have to move across bureaucratic lines, and you have to look at the functions of government and the services that people get.

They couldnt care less what agency they get the services from."

She expects Illinois strong Digital State finish this year to trigger even greater improvement in the future. "State government employees in the past have not been encouraged to do innovative things," said Reynolds. "When you can show success, it really does breed. It gives people confidence to try something else innovative."

Looking Ahead

The Center for Digital Governments Robinett expects the pace of innovation to quicken throughout the country as political leaders grasp the potential benefit of applying new technologies to government operations.

"I think we are seeing that governors are becoming more interested in looking at electronic government for the future of their state, and more CIOs are assuming a higher profile," she said. "In the evolution of electronic government, were really just in the infant stage."

Even states sitting at the top of this years ranking say they have plenty of work remaining. For instance, Heiman and others pointed to security as a key issue for the coming year.

"We are opening our systems up to businesses and the public at the speed of light, and we have to be diligent about how we handle privacy and security," said the Kansas CIO.

Most officials also said they will demand further improvement in online service delivery. "We still have people standing in line for several hours in offices, and that is totally unnecessary in todays world," said Reynolds. "Im not going to be comfortable until we make some huge improvements in internal efficiency and external service delivery."

Steve Towns, Editor Steve Towns  | 

Steve Towns is the former editor of Government Technology, and former executive editor for e.Republic Inc., publisher of GOVERNING, Government TechnologyPublic CIO and Emergency Management magazines. He has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience at newspapers and magazines, including more than 15 years of covering technology in the state and local government market. Steve now serves as the Deputy Chief Content Officer for e.Republic.