“We are not a ‘for profit’ business, we are a ‘for service’ business” – Brent Nair, City of Memphis
Last week, Cisco and Consero hosted their Virtual Government IT Forum, the first in a series of online discussions between state and local government visionaries. The focus on the online session (which you can still view here) was the changing role of the CIO and various technology trends that are changing how government interacts with the public. Panelists included state and local government IT leaders from around the country:
- Ken Desforges, Director Information Systems, Diamond Bar, California
- Rob Mancini, Chief Technology Officer, Washington, D.C.
- Tom McQuillan, Chief Information Officer, Prince William County, Virginia
- Brent Nair, Chief Information Officer, Memphis, Tennessee
Dianah Neff, Chief Information Officer, Monterey County, California
Dan Kent, Federal CTO and Director of Solutions, Cisco
The panel discussion was interesting to hear, specifically how agencies are using mobile and cloud technology to engage citizens, meet the needs of the public, increase workforce productivity and do more with less in these tough economic times. Below I’ve pulled out some of my favorite takeaways, including lessons learned, but I encourage you to view the full session here.
Mobility and Your Agency’s Strategic Plan
Dianah- They are developing cross-departmental working groups to look at mobile at an enterprise level. To Monterey County, mobility is key. But the larger issue is the infrastructure that needs to be in place before you adopt mobile policies and how it affects your organization as a whole.
Rob- Agreeing with Dianah, Rob noted that you cannot talk about mobility in a vacuum. He posed numerous questions for agencies need to thing about before they go down the road of mobility: How does mobility help reduce costs? What is the productivity dividend? What are your application standards? How does your website look on various devices? What about security and your infrastructure? Do you have the resources to adopt mobile and make these new changes?
Tom- According to Tom, the choice is often between BYOD (bring you own device) vs CYOD (choose your own device). With CYOD, government agencies are providing you with the device of your choice. There are pros and cons to each strategy, essentially boiling down to comfort and convenience vs security. The right answer, according to Tom, is based on the unique agency,
Brent- Agreeing with the other panelists, Brent also noted the important of governance and senior leadership developing a thoughtful plan for mobile adoption. As Brent said, “Mobility is just another new challenge that government has to navigate and governance is the key.” It was the same with fax machines.
Lessons Learned in the Cloud
Tom- Expectations are essential. As government agencies seek to add new project and innovative technologies, it is important that people understand what their new role is and what is needed to succeed. All too often, employees don’t know they are supposed to do something, which can set you back quite a bit.
Bent- Like Tom, Brent agreed that the biggest lesson learned for him was setting expectations and ensuring that they are covered in contracts and aceptable criteria.
Dianah- Everyone assumes that people know what “putting it in the cloud means.” However, Dianah found that most people actually didn’t know what moving to the cloud entailed. Nobody really asked about the Disaster Recovery, what the real ROI is etc. She recommended that your IT Department sit down with senior leadership and certain stakeholders to explain everything simply and thoroughly.
Ken- “Think about your prenup and have a solid back up plan.” Having gone through several “break ups” with vendors, Ken recommended having a back up plan in case you need to switch vendors to deliver better services. There are certain questions agencies need to ask including: How will I get my data back and how will I dive deeper into the data to translate to a new vendor?
Dan- Look inside first. Many agencies you can build their own private cloud first and then move to the public cloud.
Rob- “You don’t have to send all of your data across the internet.” With the cloud, there is a way to make a direct connection with your cloud service provider. At a high level, Rob suggested that selecting good employees that share your vision is a critical element to being a successful leader that can navigate these various technology changes.
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