The Business of Government Hour

 

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The Business of Government Hour features a conversation about management with a government executive who is changing the way government does business. The executives discuss their careers and the management challenges facing their organizations. Past government executives include Administrators, Chief Financial Officers, Chief Information Officers, Chief Operating Officers, Commissioners, Controllers, Directors, and Undersecretaries.

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Join the IBM Center for a weekly conversation about management with a government executive who is changing the way government does business.

James J. Flyzik interview

Monday, November 29th, 1999 - 20:00
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James J. Flyzik
Radio show date: 
Tue, 08/01/2000
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Technology and E-Government; Strategic Thinking; Leadership; Collaboration: Networks and Partnerships...

Technology and E-Government; Strategic Thinking; Leadership; Collaboration: Networks and Partnerships

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Arlington, Virginia

Tuesday, August 1, 2000

Mr. Lawrence: Welcome to The Business of Government Hour, conversations with government leaders. I am Paul Lawrence, a partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers and the co-chair of the PricewaterhouseCoopers Endowment for The Business of Government. The Endowment was created in 1998 to encourage discussion and research into new approaches to improving government effectiveness. Find out more about the Endowment on the web by visiting us at Endowment.pwcglobal.com.

The Business of Government Hour focuses on outstanding government executives who are changing the way government does business.

Our special guest tonight is Jim Flyzik, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Systems and the Chief Information Officer of the U.S. Department of Treasury. Welcome, Jim.

Mr. Flyzik: Thank you, Paul. Thanks for having me here, a pleasure to be on the program.

Mr. Lawrence: And joining me in our conversation is Susan Graham, also partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers. Welcome, Susan.

Ms. Graham: Thanks, Paul.

Mr. Lawrence: Well, Jim, let's start this first segment by finding out about the office of the Chief Information Officer of the Department of Treasury. What are the major responsibilities?

Mr. Flyzik: As the Chief Information Officer at the Treasury Department, I am responsible for the oversight, the strategic planning and the management of all information technology programs for the Treasury Department and its 14 bureaus.

As you are aware, the Treasury has a very diverse functional area. We've got the IRS, and the Customs Service, the Secret Service, the Bureau of Alcohol and Tobacco and Firearms, Financial Management Service, so we have very diverse functions.

I have responsibility for the oversight of all of the information technology programs and that's a little over $2 billion a year annually that we spend on information technology and, of course, in that role we promote the use of corporate programs and try to align our business processes with the IT function.

Ms. Graham: Jim, can you tell us a little bit about how you became the CIO of Treasury? We understand that you've been involved in public service for over 25 years and we wonder if you could give us a little history of how you moved from the beginning of your career into being the CIO at Treasury.

Mr. Flyzik: Sure, Susan, I would be happy to do that. I've pretty much developed most of my career at the U.S. Secret Service. I was there for roughly 15 years working my way through the various information technology kinds of positions. I was a computer programmer, and an analyst, then a computer specialist, and part of my career was to volunteer for everything that came along, so I volunteered for a number of special assignments.

I got to work for the Secretary of Treasury for a while, and I worked my way up to the number two position in the IT program at Secret Service.

Then, one day, we were building a large nationwide network and we couldn't decide between the data processing division at the Secret Service or the communication division. Who would be responsible for it? So the way they resolved the issue was to move me from the data processing division, and said, "You are now in charge of communications at Secret Service."

So, I had a number of years where I had opportunities to plan communications and go out and travel, and do advance trips for the President and various dignitaries, and those protectees of the Secret Service, so I had about 5 years spending a lot of time on the road doing communications.

Following that assignment, I came back and the Treasury Department asked if I would interested in moving there as the head of their telecommunications, director of telecommunications, which was for me a career advancement. So I moved over to the Treasury Department.

Secretary Benson at the time was working closely with the Vice President, and had just come in with the Clinton administration. They were looking for someone to head up the Vice President's information technology team and, like I said, I volunteer for everything so I went over and did a series of briefings and I found myself heading up the Vice President's information technology team where we did the National Performance Review, that led to a series of assignments heading up his team to implement those recommendations.

As the Chief Information Officer position became available at Treasury, I was asked if I was interested. I said, yes, and I became the Chief Information Officer at Treasury.

Ms. Graham: Great.

Mr. Lawrence: Upon reflection, what are the skills needed to be a CIO?

Mr. Flyzik: Well, you know, that's a very interesting question because I think their skills have changed over time, too. I think that the key thing is understanding how to apply information technology to the business of government and to the understanding of the mission of the government and how to really use information technology.

You need to know a little bit about the technology, but, more important, how it can enhance the business, and how it can enhance what you are doing in government. So, it takes a combination, I think, of business savvy skills, along with some technology knowledge.

Ms. Graham: I was interested, Jim, in what you said about the Department of Treasury and the fact that it's made up of such a diverse collection of bureaus. What are the challenges that you encounter in dealing with the standardization and integration mission of the Department and at the same time making sure bureaus meet their unique objectives?

Mr. Flyzik: Well, it is interesting and it's a culture challenge, and it has become even more pronounced as technology and things like the Internet have proliferated in our lives. And you are right, we are responsible for a sound economy, for public safety with our law enforcement mission, we have the IRS, of course, with the collection of taxes and the revenues ­ so it is a diverse mission.

What we do is - I use the analogy of the national information infrastructure, the superhighways with building an actual community in your neighborhood, where you may have a certain part of that, that is private residential with unique needs. That might be our bureaus.

You then may have, shopping malls and local freeways and so forth. That would be shared services that all of our Treasury bureaus use. And then, of course, there may be things we are doing at Treasury that the entire government can use. That would be analogous to your superhighways or interstate roadway systems.

So we have certain unique functions that the bureaus perform and we recognize as unique functions. We have other things, for example, e-commerce, security and privacy, other common services that make sense to do on a corporate basis. We have the largest data network in the civilian government right now in the Treasury Department, something we call our Treasury Communications System, which has over 5,000 sites, and over 150,000 users.

Mr. Lawrence: Well, let's talk about managing technology. The Clinger-Cohen Act of '96 required federal agencies to perform information technology and management. Cabinet agencies are required to have CIO's, but give us your thoughts on the additional responsibilities and challenges this act created.

Mr. Flyzik: Yes. I had the opportunity, Paul, to be on the administration's team that worked on Clinger-Cohen at the time with John Koskinen and the former administrator of GSA, Roger Johnson, and the big thing that we were looking at, at that point in time, was how the government manages its IT investments.

There was this feeling that we're spending $30 to $40 billion dollars annually on IT in the government, yet the government seems to be seen as always falling behind, or not keeping up. So, one of the focuses of the Clinger-Cohen Act was to improve that IT investment management process.

It required agencies to establish investment review boards chaired at very high levels. Ours is the Assistant Secretary for Management and CFO. I, of course, am a member of that board. In addition to having an investment process and the Clinger-Cohen administration, all three required agencies to begin looking at their information architectures. Susan, back to what we were talking about, with the 14 Treasury bureaus, rather than have each bureau defining what their standards are going to be, what their infrastructure would be, it requires me, as the CIO, to look at it in a corporate view. If we have four of our bureaus in one building, we don't want four redundant sets of architecture as our infrastructures running into that building.

So, Clinger-Cohen required agency CIOs to look at their agency on a corporate basis, to find out where there are economies of scale, where we can take advantage of the evolving technology, and it also requires us to inventory our skills: "What are our IT skills in our organizations and are we equipped to move the government into the information age that we are in right now?"

Mr. Lawrence: Well, having been there at the beginning, what is your assessment of how it turned out?

Mr. Flyzik: I think Clinger-Cohen is really moving along well. I think it has dramatically changed the way we think about investments. It really is an empowerment process, empowering CIOs and agency heads to be more accountable for their operations. Prior to Clinger-Cohen, we had what was referred to as the Brooks Act which centralized a lot of the IT policy making and the authorities within the General Services Administration.

The feeling now with Clinger-Cohen is we have moved that responsibility to the agency heads and via the chief information officer, so I think it is clearly going in the right direction. We are always looking for better ways and ways to improve, but I think most CIOs are pleased that we are making a lot of progress.

Mr. Lawrence: Great. It's time for a break. We'll be right back with more of The Business of Government hour. (Intermission)

Mr. Lawrence: Welcome back to The Business of Government Hour. I am Paul Lawrence, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers and tonight's conversation is with Jim Flyzik, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Systems and the Chief Information Officer of the U.S. Department of Treasury. And joining me is Susan Graham, also a partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Ms. Graham: Jim, I was interested previously when you said that you manage $2 billion in information technology investment at the department level. How does Treasury go about managing such a large investment portfolio?

Mr. Flyzik: Sure, Susan, we have established what we call a Capital Investment Review Board and it oversees all the large investments. We've also required each of our bureaus to have an investment review board. At the department level, we make selections based upon a number of things, whether or not it's a very, very high dollar value investment. Does it have implications, political implications? Is it something that's been in the media? There is a lot of attention for those investments that we review at the department level.

We require the bureaus to have an investment review process themselves and in order to promulgate some things through the budget process, we require an investment review to take place to look at the return on investment, the business case.

In terms of higher level management, we have essentially three levels. We have a process in which we do a strategic plan for all of our investments and that leaves out several years in advance, how we anticipate the Treasury Department evolving.

We then link the Government Performance Results Act and look at those performance measures that we can then define to talk about how are we moving against that strategic plan. Are we making a positive advancement? What kind of results can we actually measure?

And, finally, we have implemented something called the Information Technology Investment Portfolio System, which is an automated system where we inventory all of our key strategic projects and we monitor their progress and we're able to make changes as appropriate to keep projects on track.

Mr. Lawrence: What's the biggest challenge that decision makers face in this process of sort of reviewing the IT projects in making decisions about what goes forward and, perhaps, what doesn't?

Mr. Flyzik: I think there are a lot of tough decisions that are made based upon funding levels. We typically have significantly more projects and requests for funding than we have dollars available.

Mr. Lawrence: You are not the first person to tell us this.

Mr. Flyzik: Yes, and some of ours, as you are aware, are quite large. We've got the modernization of the Internal Revenue Service, the modernization of the Customs Service and the trade processes on our borders, so we have got a tremendous number of modernization efforts underway.

It's always a very, very difficult decision as to where the funding line will be and to prioritize across the department as to what are the highest priorities for the department. That's always a challenge and I think it's a unique challenge we have in government, just dealing with the budget processes and working through the Office of Management and Budget, and the Congress. The time frames between budget processes and actual investments in technology often are several years so it is very difficult to keep those milestones coordinated.

Ms. Graham: You know, Jim, you talked about the scarce financial resources to field all the investments that Treasury needs to undertake. I am interested also in the human resources required to field those projects. What is Treasury doing in the really tight IT market that we have, particularly in the Washington area now, to attract the IT resources that you need to accomplish these projects?

Mr. Flyzik: That's a significant challenge, Susan, and that's something that all government IT managers, and all IT managers in general face. We have a severe shortage of IT workers nationwide, both in the government as well as the private sector. In the government, it is particularly acute because we don't have the ability often times to compensate at levels that the private sector can.

I have submitted detailed reports to the Secretary of the Treasury, one in 1999 and another that we are getting ready to send now, which lays out a number of these difficult areas.

One thing we need to do is train our existing people and we use the Federal CIO Council core competencies to refine our understanding of what we need. We have also partnered with the Department of Defense, their Information Resources Management College, to provide management and executive training.

We also have a series of seminars at our Treasury Executive Institute for IT and for non-IT executives on understanding information technology. We are working with the Internal Revenue Service to take advantage of their IT project management and computer and web based training so that the entire department can increase its skill levels.

Finally, I have a recommendation in to the Secretary that we increase to at least 3 percent the amount of our IT payroll, that we dedicate it to IT staff development. In the past, we have had a number of tight budget crunches; it would be the training dollars that often times would be cut from budgets.

Ms. Graham: Right.

Mr. Flyzik: We've compared what the government does with the private sector and we quickly find out we need to invest more in our IT training.

On a more global basis with the governmentwide CIO Council, Treasury has played a major leadership role on a number of activities there and we are looking at a number of ideas; more use of interns, partnering with universities, looking at opportunities to have students come into government for course credits by doing time with us.

We're looking at this concept of "Cybercorps" or this concept of individuals agreeing to work for government following their undergraduate work, and we, in turn, would help pay or finance their graduate work and, perhaps, lead to some type of certification that they have completed a number of years in government and they are certified.

Now, what that probably will mean, Susan, is after three to five years, they become certified, they probably will be hired away to the private sector for more money. However, if you think about it, they'll go to the private sector, work for contractors here in the Washington, D.C. area, and they will be working, in essence, for the government anyway, just from the contractor point of view.

From my perspective, if I can continually have fresh new talent coming into the government every three to five years, keep them for three to five years, train them and then have them move on and support us from a contractor basis, I think that scenario would work, and I think it is realistic.

What it means is the government will need more program and project management skills and rely on the private sector and outsource many of the more technical skills.

Mr. Lawrence: Well, how about just pushing Susan's question a little bit higher? How hard is it to attract and keep good CIOs? I recall when the CIO position with the IRS was open. Even though they had special pay authority, people were talking of salaries they could attract as being sometime twice and north of that.

Mr. Flyzik: Of course it's difficult and, you know, we do not compensate at the level that the private sector does and we are trying different things. You really do need to look to attract people who want to do something for government because they believe that it is an important thing to do in a career.

Many of us believe that working for government is a noble thing and something where you have an opportunity to do some great things.

Mr. Lawrence: Great. We'll be back with more of The Business of Government hour in just a minute. (Intermission)

Mr. Lawrence: Welcome back to The Business of Government Hour. I am Paul Lawrence, a partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers and tonight's conversation is with Jim Flyzik, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Systems and the Chief Information Officer of the U.S. Department of Treasury. Joining me in the conversation is a PwC partner, Susan Graham.

Ms. Graham: Thanks, Paul. Jim, we've been talking a bit about your role as the Treasury CIO. You had also mentioned that you served as the vice chair of the federal government-wide CIO Council, and you've talked a little bit about that already. Can you tell us more about the Council and why it was developed and what your role has been in the Council?

Mr. Flyzik: Sure, I would be happy to. The Council was created and mandated by the Clinger-Cohen Act and it was putting together the CIOs from the 28 cabinet agencies to form a council, to begin coordinating across government, and it is the principal interagency forum for improving practices and design, modernization, use, sharing in performance of agency information resources.

The purpose of the Council is to lead strategic management of the federal government using IT resources and be the focal point for coordinating the challenges across agency boundaries. I like to think the Council's role is to make the government the best, the best in the world in how we use information technology today.

I think the government should be the best in the world in its use of information technology. And, of course, we have a long way to go. We've got a lot of work to do.

But the Council has evolved since its creation -- the first vice chair was from the Environmental Protection Agency. It is chaired by the Deputy Director of Management of OMB. Originally, it was John Koskinen.

I guess the first couple of years, like any council, was more like bonding, envisioning, and how are we and how will we work and how -- what will the functions be. Then we evolved over the last couple of years.

I took over as vice chair. We still have the Deputy Director for Management of OMB as the chair, but as you may be aware, we have not had a confirmed deputy director of management for some time. And I have worked well with OMB. The folks over there are great and we've worked well, kind of coordinating issues and they've given me a lot of freedom to take a leadership role on the Council.

We've changed the Council so that it is now driven by committees, driven by the agencies, and we do all day off-sites with all of the agency CIOs to define what are the most important things in government.

Essentially, we have six general areas, one being security privacy in critical infrastructure, one being emerging technologies and inter-operability, another being the IT workforce which we have already addressed as a key issue across government. Another is the IT management and capital planning processes that we talked about that Clinger-Cohen legislation requires us all to have.

Another is e-government. Clearly a major focus for the next several years will be e-government. We're talking about it. The President has memorandums out concerning e-government. Both Vice President Gore and Governor Bush are talking about e-government in their campaign platforms so e-government will happen.

Finally, we have a committee that deals strictly with outreach, and that is working with the private sector and the Congress and so forth. It's that old adage that none of us is as smart as all of us and we ought to share what we are doing with the private sector.

So, the Council has really evolved now to where these committees drive it, and these committees have sort of working groups now structured under them and we've got a lot of very bold initiatives that we are trying to move out on and make happen, so we are much more action oriented than we were in the early days.

Mr. Lawrence: What's been the lessons learned from the Council? Is it that there's a great deal of similarity amongst the CIOs, or is there more difference than you thought?

Mr. Flyzik: I think there are more similarities and what we do is we sometimes go around the table and we'll say, okay, who in the agencies are implementing correspondence tracking and, of course, you will find out that everyone is. And who is working on new payroll systems, and you will find out that everyone is. And then you begin asking yourself, do we need hundreds of payroll systems? Do we need hundreds of administrative systems?

And you quickly realize that if we begin working together, we could do a lot to streamline a lot of administrative processes, make the government as the cliche says, "work better and cost less."

Ms. Graham: I was interested in one of those committees that you had mentioned, Jim, the e-government committee. I think that is something that our audience is very interested in. How do you see e-government varying from e-business?

Mr. Flyzik: You know, there are so many nomenclatures. We have e-commerce, e-government, e-business, e-everything We are in a world of e-everything.

In the government, I sometimes say the government in the past would be compared to a restaurant that would close at lunch and dinner time. I mean, the point was when the individuals who do business with government need government, the government is closed.

We were a 9 to 5 operation and, of course, in the world of the Internet, and the world we are living in today, the customers of government will not accept that. There is no reason why you need to take a day of vacation from work to renew a passport or a license.

So e-government is about bringing the government into the world of the Internet, and work on Internet time. We have this concept, this program called "first gov" that is being promoted by the CIO Council, and Dave Barram of GSA and the President's Management Council. It is a common portal to government that would then link to all government services so that the customers of government would not need to know which agency does what. They would only need to know how to get the services that they require when they need them.

Mr. Lawrence: Well, speaking of cross-government issues, there is a move afoot now to have a government-wide CIO as one position. What's your perspective on this?

Mr. Flyzik: It is a hot issue. It's something that has been talked about in a number of circles. Now, I have had the opportunity to testify on this subject in front of Congressman Horn's subcommittee, and we do have a bill introduced by Congressman Turner now on creation of a federal CIO and it's something that I think does require dialogue. I think it's important that we begin talking about the pro's and con's.

Prior to testifying on the subject, I talked at a CIO Council meeting and got a feeling from all the CIOs across government, how they stood in this and we don't have strong feelings. I think most believe it makes sense. However, there are some issues associated with it.

One thing that is clear is we need some group, body, individual, or process to empower the ability to do these interagency projects. It is clear to all that the business case for doing intergovernmental programs is overwhelming. It makes a lot of sense for us to do things on a government-wide basis.

It's been a struggle with the funding process. Funding intergovernmental projects has been very, very difficult, as we have been using the so-called "pass the hat" approach, where each agency throws in some money and we fund the project. That's not efficient and it doesn't work well. The appropriations process doesn't support that.

So we need some type of empowerment process. Now, whether that is an individual, whether that is empowerment of a council, whether that's the deputy director of OMB, is not so much important to me as it is to have the ability to get this done, because I think we could move the government by huge leaps and bounds forward if we find ways to overcome some of these very difficult issues we have with coordination of interagency and intergovernmental kinds of programs. The customer of government does not care which agency performs the service, and does not care whether it is federal, state, or local government. They are concerned about the results and what they are getting for their tax dollars.

Ms. Graham: Well, you mentioned empowerment. The federal wide CIO, what would the reporting relationships of that individual be, and how would that person relate to the executive branch, to the individual agencies? Is there a plan for how that would work, or do you have an idea about that?

Mr. Flyzik: Susan, that is an excellent question and you have pretty much tee'd up the issue that the CIOs laid on the table when we had this discussion.

The feeling is that if it would be just another staff position, that perhaps it would not be adding value but just be creating additional bureaucratic processes, or more processes, approval processes and so forth.

If it truly were a position that was empowered to control resources and had budget dollars and had the ability to control dollars, and there are a number of models out there. The John Koskinen Y2K model, for example, was one that is cited as something that worked. But, bear in mind, we had an emergency fund set up and we had dollars allocated to it.

There are some interesting models in Canada today. In Ontario they have gone to what they call "functional" CIOs where they don't have a CIO for Treasury, or Agriculture. What they do is have one for functional areas, for law enforcement, for the environment, for entitlement programs, and so forth. That kind of model is something that is worth looking at. So we need to explore that. Over in the United Kingdom they have created an e-minister. Of course, in the state of Virginia, we now have a Chief Technology Officer. So I think there are a number of models out there.

I think the debate is timely. We're going into an election year. I think it is important that we begin the process now of looking at the pro's and con's. I think we all agree it makes sense if implemented correctly. If it just becomes another approval process, then we're not sure that it really would add value.

Mr. Lawrence: Great. And it's time for a break. We'll be back with more of The Business of Government Hour. (Intermission)

Mr. Lawrence: Welcome back to The Business of Government Hour. I am Paul Lawrence, a partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers, and tonight's conversation is with Jim Flyzik, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Systems and the Chief Information Officer of the U.S. Department of Treasury. And joining me is Susan Graham, also a PwC partner. Well, Jim, before we leave that last segment, I wanted to ask you, based on your understanding of the private sector, what are some of the differences between public sector CIOs and their private sector counterparts.

Mr. Flyzik: I've had a number of opportunities to participate with private sector CIOs on a number of interesting forums and have this exact discussion. We quickly find out that the issues that we are dealing with are quite similar, the key technology issues.

What is different, though, is some of the unique statutory and regulatory requirements that are imposed on the federal government. We have the Clinger-Cohen legislation which lays out specifically responsibilities for a federal CIO, and since we are the federal government, of course, we are responsible not just to our agency, but the integrity of all our actions are responsible to U.S. citizens.

So, we need to recognize we have some unique responsibilities and unique needs. For example, in the areas of complying with government-wide policies, reducing paperwork burdens on the public, as well as sound records management programs. We need to preserve historical archiving, disseminate government information.

Some other areas that I find with my counterparts in the private sector -- their ability to respond quickly to changing technology needs. As you are aware, the Internet has really changed the paradigm of the whole information technology landfront.

Consequently, things change so rapidly, that CIOs in the private sector can respond to that change. They can talk to the CEO's, they can change their investment decisions, change the direction they are going.

In the government it is much more difficult because we work through various layers of government, the budget process oftentimes, for example. Right now, we are working on our year 2002 information technology budgets. We like to think that as CIOs we are smart on the technology, but if you go back just two years and try to predict what we have today, you would find that the portals we have and the web-based services that are out there, and the things we are doing, were largely not seen two years ago. So now we're trying to look two to five years out in the future and do our budget process and work. I think it takes us longer in government to respond to changing technology needs because of the way the budget process works and our lead time ­ and we need to work on that. We need to find ways that the government can live in so-called Internet time.

We also have, this difficulty I talked about before, in funding interagency and intergovernmental IT projects. The appropriations process is set up to allocate dollars to individual agencies, yet what we want to do is intergovernmental projects.

Look at the government from the point of view of the customer. We've got entitlement programs for Social Security, SSI, Women Infants and Children, food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, the list goes on and on, yet the programs are administered by separate agencies.

Picture kind of an electronic spider web of government. We ought to have all of those agencies doing entitlements working together with one common smart card access, if you will. And that has been difficult for the federal government because of our difficulty of funding these kinds of projects because the dollars are not allocated in such a way to do that.

Of course, we have already talked about the difficulty we have with compensating IT professionals and competing with the private sector so that the federal CIO needs to come up with creative ways to get the job done, recognizing that we have a difficult time competing from a monetary perspective with the private sector.

Ms. Graham: Jim, thanks. You have an interesting perspective since you wear two hats in your government role as vice chair of the CIO Council, and then as Treasury CIO. From both of these perspectives, what do you see as the top technology issues that the federal government at large and the Department of Treasury in particular are facing as we move into the first decade of the 21st Century?

Mr. Flyzik: Not to be redundant with things we already said, but keeping pace with the evolving technology, the IT skills, security and privacy, adequate funding, and ensuring that that CIO is a key decision maker are true challenges. The culture challenges are also something. We need to change the culture of government.

Looking out into the future, it's going to be a totally different world we are going to be living in as we move forward with e-government. We're going to be looking at the whole financial and banking industry changing; smart card technology, public e-infrastructure, digital signatures, and biometrics are going to change the world we live in dramatically and we need to think of how we do that in government.

We don't want the walking around with 35 smart cards, one for every government program. We want integrated programs integrated. So it's going to drive the government to change the way it operates, the way it is structured.

In Treasury, for example, just a few examples. The U.S. Mint and their coin sales; it's just a remarkable story of how one of our bureaus, just by going to Internet based products, has changed the whole concept of their coin sales, and numismatic coin sales.

The same thing with savings bonds. The next time you buy a savings bond, buy one on the Internet and compare that to the way you used to do it when you would go out to the bank to do that kind of thing.

I can go on and on. I've got dozens and dozens and dozens of examples that they are going to fundamentally change the way the government works. Then throw into that wireless Internet, new advances in biotechnologies and genetic research, and so forth, and I think you are looking at a whole different world.

I think some the applications of the future, things that are going on right now with a real time pricing models and things that will happen are going to be absolutely phenomenal.

I think we've barely scratched the surface of some of the exciting things we are going to see in the future.

Mr. Lawrence: Well, it's often said that to understand the future, you have to understand the past as well and I'd like to take you back a little bit to your time as team leader on Vice President Gore's National Performance Review where you led the Information Technology team. Can you tell us about the results that came from that and how they were implemented?

Mr. Flyzik: We had a lot of very, very positive results from that, Paul, you know, and really it was a very simple concept. What we did, when I headed up the Vice President's team, we just looked at government from the point of view of the customer. And all of the programs we defined, we defined from the point of view of how would a customer better work with the government.

Out of that grew a number of things. It grew the Access America for Seniors program, where a senior can log on and they don't need to know which agency does what, they don't need to know what comes from Social Security, what comes from Labor.

You can sign on now to the Access America site and find out everything you need to know as a senior citizen in the country, what the federal government is offering, state government, and local offerings. The same thing, then, held true for Access America for Students, and then the same thing with grants programs, the same thing with law enforcement programs. Again, what we are doing is looking at the government from a functional perspective.

In my mind, the so called virtual agencies of government of the future where you will have the "Department of Entitlements," and you'll have the law enforcement virtual agencies where we are coordinating things that need to be done on a functional basis.

I don't think it necessarily means in the short run a complete reorganization of government, but what it does mean is using the power of the infrastructure to get those portions of government that need to work together, working together more efficiently.

I think in the long run it will lead to probably a smaller government, a more streamlined government, and probably some realignment of government as customers begin to demand improved services.

Ms. Graham: You had mentioned, Jim, the importance of cultural change in moving forward in the future and I think the alignment of culture change and technology is an interesting area. What kind of cultural change do you think needs to happen in government and how do you as an executive in the organization look to move that culture change forward?

Mr. Flyzik: Culture change is very difficult. You know, I can change someone's job overnight, but changing their attitude is a much more difficult issue and it is something that takes time.

We have cultures in the U.S. government where people are used to doing things the way we have always done things, and in order to get into the world of e-government, we are going to have to change those cultures. We're going to have to give up certain things and move to new directions of doing things.

Mr. Lawrence: I'm afraid we are out of time. Thank you very much, Jim, for spending so much time with us. Susan, I have enjoyed this conversation very much.

Mr. Flyzik: Well, thank you very much for having me.

Mr. Lawrence: This has been The Business of Government Hour, conversations with government leaders. To learn more about the PricewaterhouseCoopers Endowment for The Business of Government, visit us on the web at Endowment.pwcglobal.com. See you next week.

James J. Flyzik interview
08/01/2000
James J. Flyzik

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