in 2001 (see Appendix B). In this “Summary and Recommendations” chapter, the committee presents the final results of its study and offers recommendations intended to foster increased and more effective collaboration between IT researchers and government agencies. Chapters 1 through 4 provide supporting discussion and analysis.
Government has done much to leverage IT to deploy e-government services, but much work remains before the vision of e-government can be fully realized (see Finding 1.1, below), whether through adoption of already-existing commercial technologies and practices (Finding 2.1) or through targeted research efforts directed at helping government and its suppliers address challenging new requirements (Finding 2.2). This report identifies research challenges related to e-government and looks at these challenges in the wider context of government IT practice and the transition of innovative information technologies from the laboratory to operational systems.
The conceptualization, design, development, testing, delivery, and support of operational government IT systems for agency end users involve an extensive “supply chain” that includes system integrators, vertical suppliers, major vendors, smaller technology companies, consultants, architects, and researchers. Government end users and IT researchers are, in some sense, at opposite ends of this supply chain and so may seem to be unlikely allies. But both in fact have a natural shared interest in innovation and in meeting future needs (Findings 3.1 and 3.2). Indeed, by working together, they can conceptualize new technology opportunities— and with lower overall risk than if they had been working independently of each other. In collaborative efforts, researchers can gain understanding of the real problems that users face, and so can reduce the risks associated with the process of selecting research problems to address. Working in a government setting also provides researchers with access to artifacts— computer systems, software, and data sets—to support experimentation and study. Government end users gain understanding of emerging technologies and of the feasibility of implementing new operational concepts. In addition, there is mutual reinforcement of the dual roles of government as a farsighted customer working with its suppliers to ensure that future mission needs can be met and as an investor in long-term research with broad socioeconomic impact (Findings 3.1 and 3.3).
The establishment of ties between IT researchers and government agencies does not mean, however, that researchers and end users should somehow short-circuit the supply chain in developing new systems, or that the government will incur risks of early adoption as a result of entering into this kind of collaboration. The consequence, rather, is less risk for the government—because it is better informed in doing its job of defining requirements for its interactions throughout its supply chain. Indeed,