6 Key Trends Shaping Government Technology
Ignore the things you have heard about the government’s ability to innovate. The modern public servant doesn’t view the latest technology as something that’s just nice to have. Instead, according to our research, nearly 100 percent of them expect it. Driven by evolving citizen behavior and the need to accomplish basic tasks, government is aggressively pursuing innovative new tools and adopting cloud technologies.
At the vanguard of this change is the public sector CIO and CTO. Once perhaps a behind-the-scenes role, CIOs and CTOs have emerged as key players in advancing the work of government. In late 2018, Granicus brought together some of the leaders in these roles from across the country: Suma Nallapati (formerly with the State of Colorado), Bob Samson (State of New York), Denis Goulet (State of New Hampshire) and Rob Lloyd (City of San Jose).
During our conversation, six trends emerged as key drivers of technological change in government, which I spelled out in an article in StateTech. Among the trends I identified:
Government Technology Puts the Citizen at the Center
New tech solutions like the cloud enable government to streamline processes while saving time and money. But chief among drivers of change is how much government technology can change the lives of citizens.
For instance, Colorado has set a goal to be a “cloud first” state, according to Nallapati, former CIO for the Governor’s Office of Information Technology. The investment will likely pay dividends into the future, but it’s already producing results: By moving its Medicare/Medicaid eligibility program to the public cloud, they’d sped up processing and approval times. Now, Coloradans spend less time waiting for their benefits.
Government Technology Is Driven by Data
We live in an era of ubiquitous computing. And with that computing comes data —petabytes of it, in fact. Governments that acknowledge this and find ways to use data to improve both how they work and to improve the lives of citizens will be the new leaders of this century.
The ubiquity of data makes inevitable the coming of predictive analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence that can be harnessed to improve the work government does and citizen engagement with the public sector.
Government Technology Should be Ready for the Future
The move to the cloud has shifted how government operates. No longer must the public sector use expensive, hard to maintain, on-premises hardware that’s inevitably dated by the time it’s deployed thanks to long procurement processes. Subscription-based services enable everyone in government to get the latest and greatest innovations immediately — with no worry about maintenance and often at a much lower cost. And keeping costs down is a high priority for government: In our “2018 State of Digital in Government Report,” nearly three in four respondents (73 percent) said they were being asked to accomplish more with less budget; flexible, affordable cloud solutions can accomplish that.
Government Technology Must Be Interoperable
Government is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) producers of data. One of the most-exciting opportunities to truly unleash the power of government technology is the ability of many different organizations to collect and share data with each other more easily to improve outcomes. But this is only possible when systems have some level of interoperability.
Government Technology Requires Security by Default to Thrive
According to a recent Forrester Research report, 95 percent of record breaches happened in three industries in 2016: retail, technology and government. As a primary target for cyberattacks, government organizations are often hit with phishing scams, denial of service attacks, or something equally dangerous due to the level and nature of information they host.
Fortunately, government leaders are aware of the threat and are constantly updating policies and procedures.
Government Technology Is Committed to Connecting, Not Dividing
The most successful CIOs and CTOs are consistently looking for ways to reimagine citizens’ engagement with government. That means juggling the needs of many different stakeholders, from bureaucrats to elected officials to the citizens themselves. While a centralized approach to managing government technology is often useful, a top-down implementation can result in chaos, confusion and even resentment.
Government is embracing new technology that’s driving innovation and enhanced connections with citizens, making it easier for them to stay informed and access vital services. The places that will emerge strongest are those with CIO and CTO leaders who see the trends, implement bold new strategies and aggressively deploy the latest in cloud technology across their organizations. By unleashing technology and the troves of data that come with it, they can radically transform the government-citizen relationship.