Call to Action:
Texas Can Blaze the Trail
What is the goal of e-Texas? To distribute funds more equitably or make our schools better? To be efficient in distributing welfare checks or make it unnecessary for individuals to need a check? To better regulate pollution control or to leave the environment in good shape for our children?
After months of study, we have concluded that the answer is "all of the above." To lead the way into the new frontier, the state will have to stay focused on its mission and do its work better. This document completes the first step: outlining what needs to be done. Now the hard part—real change—begins.
Change is hard for all institutions, just as it is for individuals. We naturally seek the familiar over the unknown, the safe over the risky, the tried-and-true over the cutting-edge. But change is coming, like it or not, sooner rather than later, now and for the foreseeable future.
Texas can blaze the trail into this new world, if we have the political will to change. But no one group—legislators, government executives, business leaders, state employees or the public—can do it alone. Each has a special role to play in making the transformation. Here's what you can do.
Legislators. Keep up with new technologies by employing technology-savvy staff, appointing a committee to keep its eyes on what's ahead, and holding regular briefings on technology issues.
Public managers. Remember that your agency is part of a larger enterprise and cooperate in efforts to bring some centralization and coherence to state government. Focus on perfecting core agency functions and consider using private sector businesses to conduct certain activities if they can perform them better, faster and at a lower cost. The payoff: savings generated from more efficient, productive business processes will free up funds for direct services to citizens.
Business leaders. Accept your responsibility to maximize the benefits of connectedness by implementing a self-regulatory approach in areas such as privacy, security and ease of use. Contribute your expertise by serving on public boards, commissions and committees.
State employees. The opportunity to fundamentally change government comes once in a lifetime, if that, and this time it's up to you. Resist the pressure to avoid risk, and embrace the opportunity to think and act in new ways. Embrace a "lifelong learning" perspective.
Citizens. Ask political candidates their views on information technology and government transformation, and support those who will lead the state to a healthy future. Let your leaders know how government serves you, as a customer, and how you could be better served.
We're not saying it will be easy. But Texans have blazed new trails before, and we can do it again. The way to e-Texas is together.