May 18 2021

Financial Flexibility and Data Protection: Keys to Success for State and Local IT

As agencies confront a range of challenges, having cost-effective and flexibility technology will enable them to stay secure, innovate and gain efficiencies.

Unbudgeted expenses, declining tax revenue, business closures and high unemployment are just a few of the challenges state and local governments have faced since the start of 2020.

State and local governments shed nearly 1.2 million jobs between March and July 2020, and it is predicted that state and local income tax revenues will decline 7.5 percent in 2021 and 7.7 percent in 2022. Clearly, budget pressures are top of mind for leaders at the state and local level, even as the Treasury Department begins distributing $350 billion in aid to state and local governments.

Citizens’ needs have continued to evolve within the past year, with many residents expecting a higher caliber of government offerings, including technology services. State and local governments are looking for solutions that deliver these services while continuing operations as cost-effectively as possible.

The Challenge of Delivering Innovation on a Budget

Many state and local governments have cut back spending on infrastructure and other technology programs as they continue to balance their budgets and deliver citizen services.

How will state and local governments invest in innovation while balancing revenue constraints?

According to recent research from MeriTalk, 80 percent of state and local IT and program managers say their organizations are struggling to balance revenue constraints with the need to invest in innovation.

Further, 84 percent of state and local organizations are making tradeoffs to help bridge funding gaps, including shifting budgetary resources away from operations and maintenance (37 percent), increasing reliance on pandemic-related funding (31 percent), and delaying modernization efforts in order to enable remote work (29 percent).

EXPLORE: Learn why improving online experiences is key to digital government.

The Ever-Present Ransomware Threat

While state and local governments need solutions that optimize on both cost and innovation, IT leaders should not minimize the importance of technology solutions with data protection built in.

Ransomware attacks have been on the rise across government agencies at the federal, state and local levels. Often, organizations rely on decades-old data centers and storage systems that were deployed before the rise of ransomware, making it difficult or impossible for agencies to recover and use recovered data.

It is more important than ever that state and local governments have the proper infrastructure in place to continue to support operations. They need an infrastructure with the most advanced solutions in security while still accounting for platform costs.

RELATED: The technology and approach needed to quickly enable digital government.

The Benefits of Flexible Technology Platforms

For state and local government agencies, “as a service” solutions offer flexibility and agility while maintaining costs, helping agencies scale up or down without massive disruption to install. These models allow states to leverage only the digital infrastructure they need at a given time, minimizing the financial burden of unused infrastructure.

Accelerating digital transformation will allow states to grow in their capabilities and provide services to citizens more efficiently.

With limited budgets, state and local governments can benefit from infrastructure that works with the financial resources they have today, yet remains innovative and agile for the future when predicting long-term requirements can be difficult. State and local agencies must look for solutions that optimize technology’s speed, security, access and reliability.

State and local CIOs must continue to develop their policies and technology to deliver for citizens now, when they need it most, and for years to come. Technology solutions that optimize around service delivery and financial flexibility will be the best fit for state and local governments.

Leaders must continue to invest in solutions that will propel modernization and advance agency missions for citizens, seeking out IT solutions with flexibility now and beyond.

scyther5/Getty Images