Well, the votes are now in: according to our totally unscientific poll of Risk Factor readers, the US was voted as the country having the worst governmental IT, with the UK coming in second. So I guess President Obama was correct: US government IT is horrible.
I should note that the US "win" was not the landslide it first appears when you take into account the distribution of the countries where Risk Factor blog readers came from. When you do a bit of normalization, it looks like almost no one believes their government's IT is very good to the same degree.
There were a few anomalous vote totals, however, given the number and country distribution of the visitors to the blog. For instance, Ethiopia received 8 votes, yet there were only 4 visitors that could be directly related to Ethiopia. I assume that the votes came from Ethiopian ex-pats or from IT folks who worked in the country and who were also motivated to vote. Iran, Uganda, and Serbia also received higher vote totals than one would expect, given the voter distribution.
What was also interesting were those folks from a number of countries who visited the blog, but decided not to cast a vote. For instance, there were visitors from Spain, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Russia, and Belgium, yet none of these countries registered a vote. Perhaps IT in these governments is viewed by their citizens as being satisfactory?
Or perhaps those visitors to the blog weren't motivated to vote.
Maybe Risk Factor readers from these countries will let us know whether indeed they think their country's government IT is good.
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.