The role of government in our society has traditionally been one of facilitation, collective expenditure, law and order, and generally looking after the well-being of its residents, businesses, and employees. 

These stakeholder groups have traditionally not expected much from their respective governments, and certainly not efficiency or transparency. However, times have changed, and stakeholders now demand and expect excellence from their elected officials and the managers they appoint. 

In some jurisdictions, demand for government services outpaces available supply of such services. Doing more with less has always been the government’s aspirational goal, but only now do the stakeholder groups expect real action. 

It is conceivable to say that citizens, businesses, and employees expect the same level of service they get from a private bank and the same facilities (online payments, video meetings, etc.).

The frequently used phrase, “the future is now,” is even more applicable today for technology. Government agencies are acting on increasing demands and modernizing their operations at a rapid pace. Cities and Counties are poised to latch on to modernization opportunities that not only improve internal operations but revolutionize how services are delivered to citizens.

For any long-term technology strategy to be sustainable and successful, its foundations must be laid on three key pillars. 

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity and its importance cannot be overstated. Over the past couple years, we’ve seen the havoc a cyber-attack can have on City and County offices worldwide. While we have to be prepared to respond to cyber threats and security events, the best course of action here is the oldest – “prevention is better than the cure.” 

Ransomware, phishing, crypto-scams, and many other threats will not stop in the near future. If anything, data shows that our adversaries and their “armies of robots” are only getting stronger, smarter, and more persistent with launching attacks and enhancing threats to our public infrastructure. 

The best way to start your prevention initiatives is to put safety first by building cybersecurity measures into your Information Technology (IT) Strategic Plan. Consider these questions:

  • Are we resilient to cyber threats? 
  • Are our employees educated and form the first line of defense? 
  • Can we recover from a cyber event quickly?

Infrastructure

Much like our roads, schools, and administrative buildings, municipal governments also need modernized and resilient IT infrastructure. Gone are the days of fixing what is broken with “duct tape and baling wire” because we cannot find the money for a real long-term fix. 

Today, we don’t have the option to be non-resilient, and surely in the future, this will be even truer. Our roads need a capital improvement plan, as do our fiber optic networks, servers, storage, computers, firewalls, and the like, and we should not wait if there’s a need for a repair. 

So, how do you know if your infrastructure is resilient? Infrastructure should be modern, stable, and scalable, and the statements on the following strategies should be confirmed true. 

  • Disaster Recovery Plan: we know how to recover from disasters that could potentially take down critical infrastructure
  • IT Services Management: we deliver services in line with industry standards and best practices 
  • IT Asset Management: we know what we have, when it needs to be replaced, and how to perform such work
  • IT Software Deployment: will happen seamlessly and without disruption to end-users, citizens, or business
  • IT Policy and Procedures: will be documented, agreed upon, adopted, publicized, and enforced
  • Mobile Device Management: deployed devices will be standardized, tracked, and proactively managed
  • Standardization: we will buy according to our standards and pay for value and service 
  • Email: cloud-based, encrypted email will eliminate the need for repurchasing servers every few years while keeping emails secure, fast, and accessibleFiberoptic Footprint: we will identify and deploy high-speed networks across city or county buildings and surrounding areas

Enterprise Systems

Any organization that uses enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems for its daily operations collects data. 

While thousands of data points are created continuously and stored in databases, they serve no purpose unless they are analyzed and dissected to identify the meaning behind their collection. 

Using data to make executive decisions is not a new science. However, we now have the tools that allow us to have more data points to make these decisions more accurate. 

Whether you already have some of these tools in place or are considering the integration of new ones, consider the following: 

  • Do we have the right set of enterprise software tools to empower our employees to deliver services efficiently? 
  • Are we receiving support for our end-users and system needs from our vendor? 
  • Do we have the data we need to make accurate and informed decisions?

Curating a Tailor-Made IT Strategic Plan

An IT Strategic Plan will guide your organization in planning, procuring, implementing, and managing current and future technology investments and resources over the next three years. Within the plan, action items with detailed strategies are drafted to create a roadmap for IT Modernization. 

If assessing your organization is not something that seems feasible due to staffing or resources, we strongly suggest partnering with a knowledgeable consultant, like Avèro. As your partner, our team will help document your current state, map your organization’s vision in the future-state, and curate a detailed roadmap with IT Modernization strategies that cater to immediate, short-term, and long-term needs. 

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