5 Trends in Government Technology We’ll See in 2017

There’s a lot of great thinking on the future of government technology going on right now.  Jennifer Pahlka (CEO of Code for America) is writing a fantastic series over at Medium.  Bill Eggers’ new book on Delivering on Digital is a must-read for the new government leaders.

I expect we’ll continue to see some fantastic insights the next few months as at the federal level as we prepare for a new administration and in general, the end of year predictions will start coming in.

It may seem a little bit early, but with all of this great information coming out now, I thought I would take the time to deliver GovLoop’s predictions for the five government technology trends we’ll see in 2017.

  1. Data, not Open Data – While there is great power in liberating data for citizens, many government officials are starting to see the true power is using the data internally to improve operations. I think we will continue to see more examples like San Francisco using data-driven policy to reduce traffic fatalities. For almost all government operations, I believe by using data government agencies can increase optimizations of services and deployment of services.
  2. Pushback against Custom Development – The last few years with the rise of 18F and U.S. Digital Service, there’s been a big focus on building great user experiences for citizens. For a majority of cases that ended up being custom development (that was then provided back to the open source community). While that is great for launch, the hard part of any custom development is maintenance. I believe in 2017 there will be a pushback again custom approaches. As Jen Pahlka recently wrote, “When you consider that much of what ails government today is the use of custom development at high cost when a commodity product is readily and cheaply available, we must acknowledge that agile is one useful doctrine, not THE doctrine.” I hope to see more wins like Defense Department where the Defense Digital Services moved to a pilot with a cloud-based expense software company.
  3. Prioritization of the Top 25 – Hilary Clinton’s initiative on technology and innovation has a focus on rebuilding the top 25 digital government services based on audience. While not rocket science, most citizens interact with government according to the 80/20 rule where 80% interactions are just 20% of services.  Making those key services really great and cross-promoting other services during that flow is low-hanging fruit that I imagine will spread to state/local government.
  4. Growth of FedRAMP – Tied to #2, I think there will be a growth in the use of FedRAMP at not only federal but state and local levels.  With security becoming more and more important, one easy way for government agencies to ensure they are being safe is to buy only cloud software that has been heavily vetted by government through the FedRAMP process.  It’s a federal mandate, so agencies have to do this, plus if you are in state/local government it’s an easy checklist where someone has already done the work for you.
  5. Outcome-Based Engagement – Citizen engagement is often positioned as something governments “should do” based on our democracy – by the people, for the people – and we should get ideas and input from citizens on policies and ideas. This “ideas-based” engagement has evolved and will continue to “outcome-based” engagement in 2017.  For example, using behavioral science insights to remind parents to read to their kids has increased literacy in Rhode Island. Cross-promoting organ donation at the end of completion of DMV renewal has upped that stat. A series of eight text messages lead to 9% increase in college student enrollment. There are lots of opportunities when government agencies bring together behavioral insights with the tactics popular in the marketing community to engage citizens to truly change behavior (reduce recidivism rates, take healthy behaviors, renewal drivers license).

So that’s what I’ve got on what I think will change technology in government in 2017. Agree? Disagree? Have thoughts on trends of your own? Let me know in the comments and let’s get the discussion started.

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Veleana

Steve – The 5 trends are not appearing. Perhaps my agency has blocked the 5-off my screen – pooh! Can you email them to me ? Thanks!

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Wynetta Noland

I’m all in I think it’s a great idea the first thing that The Department of Veterans Affairs need to do is have people train to go out in the community and be able to enroll people right on the spot. The process takes too long. A person come in to enroll and take up half the day or better yet all day. The VA has the technology but want use it. A person can enroll online but the process take forever. They send the person a letter and ask them to mail in their DD214 making technology useless, the process take 10 to 15 days before paper work is process. When they can verify their service time without them even mailing back DD 214. No wonder people are disenchanted with the VA. People have life’s, family, children and jobs they don’t have all day to request benefits that they put their life on the line for. Our country should be respectful of their time. It appears that Government agencies think that you should be able to jump through hoops to get benefits and services. I’m an American and I think our country owe us that.

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Kim

If people would look at the National Environmental Policy Act process, they could get incredible insight on public engagement. You would be completely amazed at what you can learn from a NEPA document. It’s not just about bugs and bunnies.

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