Oct 01 2021

The Time Is Right for Cities to Capitalize on IT Modernization

Government operations during the pandemic have demonstrated the power of digital services, and municipalities have a great opportunity to build.

In Newburgh, N.Y., officials modernized IT infrastructure to virtualize desktops and applications with VMware Horizon.

As a result, Newburgh was prepared to work through the COVID-19 pandemic, and agencies looked at ways to adopt more digital solutions to facilitate remote work and boost citizen services.

Columbus, Ohio, also recently ­modernized its IT infrastructure, equipping its data centers with Dell EMC VxRail to virtualize compute and storage. Officials now think their city is poised for the future and capable of growing IT capacity as needed to deliver more for their residents.

Realizing its residents required more opportunities to get online at their convenience, Milwaukee established public Wi-Fi in 10 more city parks this year, providing a key service for people seeking the solace of the ­outdoors during a time when it’s not always safe to be indoors.

These cities have something in common: Each seized the moment to augment digital services for its citizens at a difficult time. The success they experienced underscores the power of this particular moment for IT modernization.

Cities Have an Unparalleled Opportunity to Modernize

With many citizens staying home in response to social distancing guidelines, recent months proved challenging for city governments that depend on tax revenue to operate. To add insult to injury, city ­employees also had to maintain social distancing while scrambling to provide continuity of operations for citizen support.

Relief arrived in March with the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act, which allocated $65.1 billion in direct aid to U.S. municipalities, ­according to the National League of Cities. For example, Newburgh received about $22 million; Columbus, roughly $187 million; and Milwaukee, $394 million.

Other cities can follow these examples and strengthen government services — a prescribed expenditure of federal funds — through investments in IT infrastructure. The country has witnessed the power of expanded digital services in reaching local populations during the pandemic. With the recent boost in funding, municipalities have a rare opportunity to build upon the national modernization momentum.

SERHII MELNYK/Getty Images