State and local governments continue to face two harsh realities – reduced budgets and reduced workforces. Yet the demand for important government services, and online delivery of those services whenever possible, continues to grow, and infrastructure improvements are long overdue. Thanks to an economy that continues to recover at a snail-like pace, there is little hope of finding additional funds or increasing manpower.
The simple answer is to modernize government by investing in new technology that makes it possible to do more with less. Of course, simple answers rarely address the true complexity of the problem.
Most government IT infrastructure was built to support in-house computing, not cloud-based tools and services and mobile technology. Updating infrastructure in one fell swoop is not realistic, so most local and state governments are taking an incremental approach, which requires careful planning, coordination and collaboration. Many government agencies are consolidating IT resources and adopting a shared resources model. This is indeed a more efficient approach to IT, but it can create complexities with procurement, management, security, and measurement of ROI.
State and local governments must approach technology not only as a cost-cutting mechanism, but as a strategic asset. The right IT investments enable data-driven decision-making, which can make the delivery of government services faster, more agile, more reliable and more consistent. IT can also enhance the value of these services and the quality of interactions with constituents.
There are four technologies that hold great promise for state and local governments:
- Cloud computing provides government agencies with on-demand access to enterprise-class technology, services and expertise. The cloud provides greater flexibility and efficiency with minimal capital investment. While privacy and security concerns have caused many government IT organizations to resist the urge to move to the cloud, today’s cloud solutions have addressed these issues, opening the door to more widespread adoption.
- Government as a Platform. For years, there has been a desire to restructure government as a platform of shared capabilities and common processes. This would make it possible to solve problems in the most effective, efficient way. For example, call centers would be used not just to provide support to constituents, but also to analyze and optimize government procedures and performance. Technology that would make this desire a reality is on the market now.
- Social Collaboration. Rather than simply using social media as a megaphone for making announcements, state and local governments are beginning to use social platforms to listen, respond and interact. This can lead to greater trust and stronger relationships between government and its constituents.
- Internet of Things. Smart objects and Internet-connected sensors have expanded to create smart cities, where government officials can use real-time data to improve everything from operational efficiency and traffic control to emergency response and crime prevention. Integrating the Internet of Things into government networks, and converting data into insights, enables more-informed decisions.
Technological solutions that solve many of the problems faced by state and local governments are there for the taking. However, without a strong technology partner, IT modernization can quickly turn into a costly headache that provides little benefit. Pivot Technology Solutions, through its portfolio companies, can help you assess the current state of your IT infrastructure and rethink the role of IT in managing and delivering government services.
by John Flores