Why Local Governments Should Rethink Their IT Plans

Technology is outpacing government entities and their ability to face tough challenges. Without the right strategy in place, the struggle to keep up will continue and their ability to effectively meet the demands of their constituents will continue to diminish.

Cities, counties, and other local government entities are facing many of the same modern-day challenges and opportunities that are impacting businesses. Technology is evolving rapidly, constituents are demanding better and faster solutions, and budgets are limited.  Many of the city managers and county CIOs we work with are recognizing the need to re-think their IT plans and strategies.  Dozens of cities here in Southern California are currently in the process of architecting new Information Technology Strategic Plans (ITSPs).

The City of Westlake Village recently underwent an extensive six-month ITSP planning process, which included interviewing many of their residential constituents and businesses.  Not surprisingly, the greatest demand was for increased broadband services and online or e-government services.

Westlake’s City Manager and technology committee quickly got to work driving initiatives in these areas.  Commonsense policies, such as laying conduit every time a street is opened up, are cost-effective and allows for future growth.  Taking advantage of technological advances in wireless, security, GIS (Geographic Information Systems), and IoT (Internet of Things) are enabling cities and counties to be more productive and efficient.

Effective leadership, strategic thinking, and leveraging outside expertise all play an important role for local government being able to maximize technology to benefit their communities.  Unfortunately, we still encounter some local government leaders that see technology as just another line item on the budget.  Cities and counties that want to meet the needs of the future and their constituents should recognize that technology is a foundational building block and the cornerstone of effective service and growth in their communities.