Jan 22 2019

Smart Cities Represent the Best Kind of Digital Transformation

Gaining advantages from the physical world, states and cities may collect data through the Internet of Things to improve services.

At its core, digital transformation involves reinventing the way business is done. As noted in “The Digital Transformation Insight Report” by CDW, “Digital transformation often includes gathering new information from the environment and the physical world that wasn’t previously available, and then using those insights to inform better business decisions.”

With new technology at hand in recent years, agencies have been able to collect data to assess how to improve service to their citizens, thanks in part to the growth of the Internet of Things. This can be seen most dramatically in smart city projects, where municipal leaders have been able to enhance existing infrastructure with the addition of sensors and networks to connect them. Smart city projects yield digital transformations.


How to Undertake Digital Transformation via IoT

“The Digital Transformation Insight Report” by CDW spotlights the prominent example of smart cities installing LED streetlights to save 50 percent or more in energy costs. But streetlight poles, already connected to a central network, also can carry sensors that measure pedestrian traffic, air quality and other characteristics of their environment, providing further opportunities for government to improve the lives of municipal residents.

Deploying IoT involves careful planning, so consider the following when assessing smart city plans:

  1. Understand the task at hand. Delivering an impact across cities with thousands of citizens means breaking down multiple silos to initiate digital change. Identify priorities and charter cross-departmental and multiagency collaboration.

  2. Build a strong network. Deploying hundreds of thousands of IoT sensors takes a multiprotocol IoT network to support them. Engage a trusted vendor that can help you deliver.

  3. Focus on citizens before technology. Many governments want to jump right into technology. It’s an understandable desire. But focusing on citizens and what will benefit them first can help deliver a more effective solution.

MORE FROM STATETECH: These are the top state and local government IT trends to watch in 2019. 

State and Local Governments Can Improve Operational Efficiency

More than half of respondents in a CDW survey from the previously mentioned report believe the biggest opportunity produced by digital transformation comes through operational efficiency. Digital transformation proves most disruptive to transportation companies, as 47 percent of them already have made enterprise changes to support digital transformation, according to the survey.

Tony Sivore, Director of State and Local Government Sales, CDW•G
With new technology at hand in recent years, agencies have been able to collect data to assess how to improve service to their citizens."

Tony Sivore Director of State and Local Government Sales, CDW•G

At the bottom of the scale are government agencies, where only 23 percent report making enterprisewide changes in support of digital transformation.

For governments, improved operational efficiency means a better experience for their constituents. “Many government agencies are bogged down by bureaucracy and/or outdated legacy technology systems. By improving how they roll out new initiatives and working to eliminate waste, public agencies can respond faster to constituent requests and offer better services,” the report states.

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Create a Clear and Coherent Digital Strategy 

In the report “Delivering the Digital State: What If State Government Services Worked Like Amazon?” by Deloitte Insights, William D. Eggers and Steve Hurst write that states can start down the path of digital transformation with little investment.

States should first develop a strategy, the analysts say. States with a clear, coherent digital strategy are likely better equipped to respond to opportunities and threats, and are more likely to foster innovation and collaboration. The strategy should consist of a roadmap that addresses the key elements of digital transformation: culture, leadership, workforce and procurement.

States should also centralize their digital efforts.

With smart planning, states can seize the opportunities presented by digital transformation. Understanding, building and focusing on the appropriate priorities will empower government officials to collaborate to produce healthier and happier cities, counties and states.

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