CIOs Weigh in on E-Government Trends: What Local Government CIOs Are Saying about Today's Technological Environment

By Daniel, Mike | Public Management, October 2010 | Go to article overview

CIOs Weigh in on E-Government Trends: What Local Government CIOs Are Saying about Today's Technological Environment


Daniel, Mike, Public Management


As technology advancements emerge, each requires focus on management principles to understand the effects on working relationships. Integration, self-customization, and shared services are some of the most prominent trends in e-Government, affecting agency protocol while also pushing the envelope of technological advances.

Today, the greatest push comes from economic challenges. Although robust budgets once existed to grow out a government website, today many cities and counties are turning to free systems that achieve their goals but that change the nature of their relationship with the public. With Twitter, for example, the desired information is communicated but no longer by a system controlled by the agency. This new medium includes instant feedback viewable to all, making the citizen not just an audience but also a participant and originator of influencing material.

Citizen request management (CRM) systems are another example of changing relationships. There has been a constant evolution in providing information, first by phone, then to text by a self-service portal. Now residents can attach digital images and provide survey answers for specific requests after work is completed.

Such targeted feedback helps to improve overall processes. And the process itself is changing to allow for more self-service, a growing necessity given drastic workforce reductions.

Dan Smith, chief information officer (CIO) of Atlanta, Georgia, has experienced such reductions running a lean department of 70 employees, from a prior 126. "This has forced a lot of change," he says, "and it forced some cultural changes, which were not always easy."

But Atlanta has combined technology with multijurisdiction agreements to create revenue-generating opportunities. With their 100 percent digital NextGenready radio system, regional neighbors have become customers. And this can continue with the city's state-of-the-art data center that has enough space to lease out to other communities.

Shared services are also giving way to more outsourcing, creating an environment where the traditional vendor-and-project approach may no longer fulfill an agency's needs.

A few years ago, Pete Pappas, technology manager of Chino Hills, California, wrote: "vendors provide software, but business partners work side by side with their customers to ensure their goals and objectives have been satisfied," underscoring the fact that the traditional vendor approach simply cannot survive. …

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