About the author
DisclaimerThe views expressed in this paper are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Department of Defence, Commonwealth of Australia or the Australian Computer Society.
- How can IT people make the Internet be useful in Government?
- Promise of the "InfoBahn" & transforming Australia
- Turning the hype into reality
- Reconciling bureaucratic culture & the Internet
- Building the new culture
How can IT people make the Internet be useful in Government?
- two parallel streams of work on networking in Government:
- senior policy level: InfoBahn
- iindividual and IT practitioner level: implementation of the Internet.
- two streams will merge by end of February
Changes in the way organisations work come about through the actions of individuals:
- individuals act outside the organisation procedures
- then assimilated into the corporate culture
- Process starting in Australian Government and the Internet
- Received recognition in Governor-General's 1995 Australia Day message
- Process complete by end 1995
- AARnet helping
Promise of the "InfoBahn" & transforming Australia
- Promises made for the InfoBahn detailed in press &
- ACS's InfoBahn submission (Clarke & Worthington 1994)
- Internet provides many InfoBahn benefits now
- Internet method both an impediment and a benefit
- Internet method
- An anarchic process of development and working
Turning the hype into realityConvention wisdom for networking an organisation:
- Gain high level management support for the project,
- Undertake a pilot project,
- Ensure that all users have access to the network, to provide an adequate population of users,
- Make sure the networking is integrated with the organisations other core OA applications.
- The central IT unit must coordinate introduction of the technology.
- Tackle the difficult questions of security, reliability, cost and ownership.
Doesn't translate for implementing Internet technology.
Some things that do work are:
- Empower individual users, regardless of rank,
- Move into immediate implementation, incremental, starting with one user,
- Equip isolated individuals and sections:
- who have most to gain
- communicating with individuals in other organisations
- don't need to communicate with their "colleagues".
- The Internet brings with it new OA applications.
- Bypass the central IT unit.
- Avoid the difficult questions, by doing the easy bits first.
- Government organisations only partly run by official rules.
- Informal interchange of information essential.
- Suggested by Gerard Joseph (IBM Australia Limited) in 1993
- TAOSS list on a Navy supplied list server
- for academic, government and industry people on OS issues
- Has a "Board" to make it official
Building the new culture
- Demonstrate the possibilities to those who are interested.
- Provide your organisation with a presence on the Internet.
- Provide a way to receive information from the Internet
- Start to create an internal process to guide Internet use.
- Provide positive role models for users.
- Don't challenge the rhetoric of the organisation, provide new mechanisms to support it.
- Use the technology to implement and administer the technology.
Commonwealth Internet Reference Group provides an excellent model:
- no coercive powers
- little or no official status
- provids a forum for issues to be discussed
- informal interchange of information with networking community
- results of discussions are freely and quickly available
- threatens no existing entrenched interest
Comments from Commonwealth Internet Reference Group meeting on 3 February::
- Who do we go to get a service?
- How do we address security issues?
- What does this all mean?
- It's on-line and very dynamic.
- Everyone will have e-mail.
- Wen style is better explained in hypertext, can't be expressed well in words.
- Is this piece of paper "a document"?
- Internet allows detailed information to be got out directly, without the PR unit breaking it into small easily digestible bytes.
- Not sure who has the responsibility to do it.
- We are getting together with the other agencies, to share resources. Its a little bit like the Internet: chaos.
- List server: should "outsiders" be allowed into discussions? (yes)
- Should it be moderated? (no)
- How should discussions be summarised and resolved? (by volunteers)
- Is the list "public". (no but guests welcome).
ConclusionMuch of the benefit from the InfoBahn transforming our culture, business and Government, is available now through the Internet. The hype can be turned into reality. Traditional bureaucratic culture can accept the anarchic ways of the Internet, and benefit from them, with a little effort..