Technological Transformation in Government

Inauguration Obama

Photo (c) A/P Sandy Huffaker

Foreword

We live in an exciting juncture when the world is undergoing massive and visible transformation. The Internet has given us instant access to information and it has affected how we do things on a global scale. Our children go to school and interact with knowledge in ways that we could have never imagined before; while demand and supply interact within virtual, global marketplaces where consumers are informed and empowered and suppliers are intelligent and efficient. Yet there is no place where the impacts of technology are more visibly felt than in the Public Sector, where technology may be deployed to serve an informed electorate with high expectations, demanding services and efficiency at an ever-accelerating pace.

Brief

In this series of articles, I will explore a number contemporary issues that Technology decision makers in Government are concerned with and also look into innovative, viable solutions that have been successfully implemented in a number of countries to solve or address these concerns.

  • Cloud Computing – While cloud technology promises to delivery significant cost savings from economies of scale and cut down on deployment costs, cloud has been traditionally shunned by governments for a number of reasons, including security and confidentiality. In recent years, a number of vendors have developed Government Clouds that are designed to integrate with existing Government networks and systems, while meeting government needs for compliance and security.
  • Big Data – Big Data refers to data sets that are so large that they become difficult to manage using traditional tools. With the proliferation of e-government initiatives, governments word-wide face significant challenges in managing vast repositories of information.
  • Open Source and Interoperability – Government’s ability to adopt and enhance open standards that encourage interoperability between different systems and establish an environment of equal opportunities among technology vendors, partners and end-users.
  • Digital Access – The Internet has redefined access to knowledge and learning and it is a priority for governments to ensure that students from all walks of life are not limited in opportunity due to poor access to the web. Here we explore how technology is transforming big cities and communities alike in accessing the web.
  • Mobility and Telecommuting – Governments worldwide are embracing  telecommuting and flex-time work policies as a viable long-term solution to reducing costs and energy consumption. We explore technologies that foster collaboration and productivity for a mobile workforce.
  • Cyber Security – With the call for increased vigilance against acts of cyber terrorism, we explore the extent that governments are prepared to do in order to maintain Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability amidst an increasingly connected ecosystem of public-sector employees, vendors, contractors and other stakeholders.
  • Open Government – Governments are heeding the call for greater transparency, public participation and collaboration by making information more readily available on government websites and also providing the public with greater access for providing feedback and commentary. This had led to the adoption of new technologies and innovations to ensure that confidentiality is not sacrificed in the light of new policies
  • Connected Health and Human Services – Case management, health records management and health benefits administration are but a few components of government services that many lives depend on to function effectively and efficiently. We will explore technologies that are transforming these services.
  • Accessibility – In an age of information workers, support for differently abled employees has become a source of competitive advantage, enabling governments to tap into additional segments of the workforce.
  • Defense and Intelligence – Technology has long played a vital role in ensuring that vital battlefield decisions can be made with timely access to information; communications occurs unimpeded in times of emergency; and cost efficiencies can me maximized in times of tightening budgets.

Dimensions of Exploration

Essential to any well-thought out study, we must consider important attributes such as the long-term implications, return on investment and practicality of implementation. Therefore, for each of the issues listed above, we will include in our analysis the following components:

  • Executive Brief
  • Latest Trends
  • Strategic Value
  • Positive Implications
  • Negative Implications
  • Proposed Solutions
  • Reference Implementations
  • Useful Links

Topics

An individual article has been dedicated to each of the following topics; please click on each one for further reading:

  • Cloud Computing
  • Big Data
  • Open Source and Interoperability
  • Digital Access
  • Mobility and Telecommuting
  • Cyber Security
  • Open Government
  • Connected Health and Human Services
  • Accessibility
  • Defense and Intelligence

* This series is a work in progress, and does not support a particular thesis or ideal. It simply reflects research of the solutions that have been devised to solve frequently unique problems and does not reflect an endorsement of a particular technology or ideal.

Why write about Government?

I’ve spent a significant amount of time consulting for government and in truth, nothing has given me greater pleasure than to see the benefits of technology impact my selfless friends and colleagues who have made the altruistic decision to stay in government in order to serve the greater good. These unsung heroes maintain the systems that support our health, education, defense, civil, social and legal infrastructure and many other essential functions of government, which many lives may depend on.