Kent Lassman, director of the Digital Policy Network and a research fellow of The Progress & Freedom Foundation, noted the rapidity of change in this particular arena. "With nearly half of the top-10 states improving their ranks from last year, double-digit climbs up the rankings by three states and five newcomers to the top-10 rankings, this category shows how an initial adoption of technology is not enough to stay ahead. States are continually improving and, as a result, the front of the pack is a volatile place to be."
I often hear from people in the State who says something like: "Utah is top ranked, why are we making all these changes?" This quote is the answer to that question. In a rapidly evolving area like IT or eGovernment, we cannot rest on our laurels (and there is a nice comfortable looking pile of them in Utah). We have to be continually changing and moving forward. I meet and talk to CIOs from other state frequently and the message from them is consistent.
Other comments I sometimes here go something like: "Why are we so concerned with competing with other states?" The answer is twofold:
One way to look at it is not so much as competition, but benchmarking. The overall mission to the citizens is to deliver the best service we can and accomplish our agency missions established in statute. By benchmarking ourselves against other states and then looking to them for ideas when they do something good, we can accomplish that goal more effectively.
The second part of the answer is that there is a competition going on that is centered on economic development. We compete everyday with other states for economic development. The Governor has important goals in this area: (1) that job growth outpace the growth in the population, (2) that wages grow faster than inflation, and (3) that the effect be felt statewide. To accomplish those goals, we have to attract companies to do business in Utah. If you don't think companies look at our rankings in the Digital State survey and others, then spend some time over at DCED and they'll disabuse you of that notion.
Recent changes to how IT is organized and governed in Utah are aimed squarely at increasing our velocity in eGovernment and IT.