Panel on the Impact of the Internet on the Public Sector

Gilles Trempe, CEFRIO, Canada

Information and communication technologies bring with them significant transformations. Societies and organizations have two alternatives: get ready to fully benefit from the opportunities or suffer from situations determined by others. The Internet phenomenon can help us understand how highly technical issues are impacting the social, economic, and cultural aspects of our lives. Is our world becoming a set of increasingly homogeneous entities? To what extent are we in a position to act in a proactive fashion when so many decisions are being made by others?

CEFRIO is proposing a moderated panel discussion on how the Internet can help us understand the opportunities and reshape the public sector. The perspectives of three major players--with their cultural, societal, industrial, and organizational differences--will be presented by representatives from the United States of America, France, and Canada.

Dr. Jerry Mechling of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University has a vast experience of the U.S. public sector and was co-director of a recent IBM-sponsored study on "Information Technology Leadership in Government," dealing with the phenomenon of strategic computing and telecommunications in the public sector.

Thierry Courtine of the Commissariat à la réforme de l'État in France will present the French and European administrations' views of the potential of the information highway and of the opportunities provided by the Internet.

Dr. Réal Jacob of the Chaire industrielle Bombardier at Université du Québec in Trois-Rivières will discuss some of the preliminary results of CEFRIO's project, "Reorganizing the Public Service Along the Information Highway: Toward a Strategic Transformation Model and Decision-Making Criteria." This study is being funded by Quebec's Fonds de l'autoroute de l'information (Information Highway Fund).

André Vallerand, president, Electronic Commerce World Institute. The ECWI was involved, with others, in the Canadian government online project, gathering information on electronic commerce best practices within the Canadian federal, provincial, and municipal governments.

Monique Charbonneau, CEFRIO's president and CEO, will act as moderator. CEFRIO is a liaison and transfer center between universities and organizations that deals mainly with the phenomenon of organizational transformation through information and communication technologies.