The governance of innovation

OTTAWA – The future of information technology in government may be speeding at us faster than our infrastructure can handle it.

Government IT managers continue to wrestle with problems such as budget constraints, qualified staffing shortages and language barriers, delegates heard at the seventh

Government on the Net conference.

The commitment by the federal government to become the most electronically connected in the world has been born out of necessity, explained Dr. Arthur Carty, president of the National Research Council Canada, in his opening remarks at the conference.

Carty said he believes there is a “”power and potential”” of technology that will enable Canada to fully realize the potential of having the best information technology service of any government in the world and to meet the goal of having every department fully online and functional by 2005.

One obstacle facing the government is how to implement a continuous influx of new technologies while at the same time continue with the building of IT models already in place.

Technology is not about to slow down anytime soon, explained Douglas Heintzman, senior strategist, IBM Software Group. He said that significant develops have recently been made in molecular/biological technologies and that these examples indicate that there will a continued wave of advancement for at least the next 15 years.

Heintzman explained that the issue that governments are grasping with is how to integrate new systems, new software and the advancements of new technologies to make services accessible to citizens, and more importantly create the on-demand government service that citizens are expecting.

“”The new technology will create a fundamental shift in the Internet as important as the implementation of the Internet itself,”” said Heintzman. “”We have seen an evolution of IT from networking to communications to information and now on-demand.””

Heintzman said he believes that this next stage will begin with on-demand technologies and the primary motivator of those technologies will be the advancement of grid computing.

Grid computing has begun to appear out from the shadows of the science and educational institutions and into mainstream business models, much like the Internet evolved.

The grid computing system will allow government to provide on-demand computer resources said Heintzman. He also thinks that the grid will create on-demand application functions that should afford systems to be highly adaptive and an ability to be extremely integrated and accessible.

Not to be forgotten in the development of new IT models is language, explained Lucie Langlois, senior project manager, <A HREF=""http://www.translationbureau.gc.ca/pwgsc_in

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