Government leaders recently gathered at the National Capital City/County CIO & Tech Exec Summit at FOSE 2009, where Dr. Alan Shark previewed some of the themes from his forthcoming book, Seven Predictions That Will Transform IT, which will be published in print and online this summer.
“Smartphones are getting smarter, and iPhone has become the game changer,” Shark says. “No matter how bad things are, nobody will give up their cell phone.” Shark mentions knowledge of at least 44 major applications for smartphones, including using the device as a boarding pass for airlines.
Another trend is the changing requirements of CIOs. These days, you’ll see CIOs who possess minimal technical background but are dynamos at IT and business integration. The CIO acting as the lead engineer is out. Here are some of the things that are top of mind for today’s government CIOs, according to Shark:
- Spending and investment: It’s all about doing more with less, particularly in the hardest-hit states of Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, Nevada and Ohio. “IT has to be better at doing ROI,” Shark says. Performance management and measurement tools help pinpoint critical areas for improvement, and IT can use such data to make the case for how technology can save money.
- IT governance: The push for centralization and consolidation continues. IT needs high-level champions to take charge of governance. For example, some cities or states have several geographic information systems, when one enterprise GIS platform is all that’s needed.
- Network computing, operations and security: “There’s a greater need for protection and safeguards,” says Shark. “An encrypted USB could bring down an entire county.” Areas of concern include records management, e-discovery, health IT, virtualization and software as a service.
- Regionalism and shared services: Many governments don’t have the resources to buy new applications, so they’re banding together for services such as enterprise resource planning. Shark notes that Iowa is talking about regional staffing. He suggests that cross-government organizations such as schools, courts and libraries that typically don’t talk to each other could collaborate.
- Broadband/4G: Broadband and next-generation wireless will carry video conferencing, telepresence, public safety and public works, intelligent transportation and 311/citizen relationship management applications.
- Social networking: Beyond just e-government, 311/CRM, Web 2.0 and 3.0 and online voting are gaining popularity. For example, Denver’s website has a form for live chat; Boston has a mini-site on Second Life, and the Los Angeles Fire Department maintains a blog and instant messaging feeds. What’s more, “call centers” have become “contact centers” because service representatives handle several different mediums of communication.
- Energy efficiency/leadership: Organizations are implementing green initiatives such as LEED buildings, green data centers, fleet management, solar and wind energy, and LED lights on police cruisers.