Aboard a private cloud, 10 cities in the US co-own a set of infrastructure to provide e-government services, which allows citizens to access all types of permits, perform regional job searches and register a business.
“In all cases, whether regarding the backend joint processing on human services grants or a regional GIS mapping portal, we are driven to be customer focused,” said Brenda Cooper, CIO of the City of Kirkland, in an interview with FutureGov Asia Pacific.
The value in these shared services is that citizens have a single sign-on point for all kinds of information.
According to Cooper, if ecitygov.net had not happen, then every park and recreational area would require a different ID and password.
Started in 2002, ecitygov.net is hosted on a private cloud and managed by the City of Bellevue, a rapidly growing city with a current estimated population of 126,000.
“Back when we started, there wasn’t a public cloud available. And we wanted the infrastructure to be in one space—it is more efficient that way—hence we hosted the cloud in the largest city of the group and let them manage it because they have the most skills,” explained Cooper.
Cooper went on to explain that some of the cities would struggle to provide their own e-government initiatives due to their size.
“They will lack either the money or technical know-how to build and manage e-services,” she said.
“Some of the cities involved are so small they don’t actually have any tech staff.”
The only way some cities with low resources could deploy e-services to its citizens was through participation.
“It wasn’t the technology or monetary savings, but people in different cities started working together and before we knew it, we had a huge network of people working on this project for eight years,” said Cooper.
“These relationships are more valuable than the money that we save. Right now, we have agreements between the cities to share more information.”
From only two applications in 2002, ecitgov.net has grown such that the project has now hired an executive director and two project managers.
“We’ve also added more lines of business,” Cooper said. “It used to be only for issuing permits, now we have GIS involved and we’re beginning to pull in city planning.
“Over the next year or two, we will be taking e-permits for almost everything.”
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