Technology Failures Are Government Failures

Joseph Marks | Nextgov | October 22, 2013

Is synonymous with the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s landmark health care reform law? Or at least with the health insurance marketplaces that act introduced and that launched Oct. 1?

Or is just a website, a tool that helps people reach those marketplaces but that doesn’t encapsulate or define them?

That question may sound irritatingly metaphysical, but it gets to the heart of one of the biggest questions in government technology today: Whether technology is a backroom function that assists government operations or an integral part of how government does its job that can’t be neatly separated from citizen services themselves.

Most government technologists use the latter definition, arguing that chief information officers and other technologist should have a seat at the table, along with Cabinet secretaries, deputy secretaries and chief financial officers, when major decisions are made. Some officials and subject matter experts still hold to the former definition.