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State Electronic Commerce Work Group Releases Plan

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RALEIGH — As electronic commerce grows, governments are looking at getting involved in the business of doing business online. A work group released its report Wednesday on how the state can better serve citizens and business organizations.

State and local governments in North Carolina are behind the curve when it comes to doing business on the Web, according to the year-long study by the Electronic Commerce Work Group.

The group released its recommendations Wednesday, and if funded and followed, the plan could make the state a leader in moving government services to the Internet.

The group outlined six preliminary recommendations to the group of information technology experts. The recommendations call for money, cooperation, training and a much larger presence on the World Wide Web.

The plan would ultimately change the way governments, at the state and local levels, work and interact with citizens.

Lieutenant Governor Dennis Wicker gives an example. "We want citizens to be able to use their credit cards in transacting with government," Wicker says.

Wicker also wants to make sure the business sector is not left behind in the emerging e-commerce environment, especially small businesses.

Leaders of the e-commerce initiative, includingSecretary of State Elaine Marshall,predict more efficient government with easier access.

"They can go do their grocery shopping at 2 a.m.," Marshall says. "They also, with Web-enabled technologies, can do interactions with state government at 2 a.m. and you're not going to find many government employees at their desk on their telephone at that time."

The report calls for thelegislatureto develop an investment plan for technology so the systems can be available in every county in the state.

The recommendations must now go to the state'sInformation Resource Management Commissionfor approval.


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