The level of information system quality that is considered acceptable to government technology managers and the public varies; operational success over the long run — a backward-mapping evaluation — is the most highly valued feature defining quality information systems. Public agencies, unlike private sector firms, exist to meet mandated service requirements and have limited ability to create revenue streams essential to fund information systems that might improve organizational bureaucracies. Beyond basic bureaucratic functions, governments serve the public interest by sustaining high reliability networks such as water and electric systems in addition to providing fundamental public safety and national security. High profile information system failures detract from public awareness that the bulk of systems work adequately within a complicated network of thousands of interlocking and overlapping governmental entities. Demands for productivity and innovation, increased contracting out of government services, and more sophisticated leadership shape the quality profile for the future.