December 29, 2010 By Todd Sander
We made it! The 2010 elections have passed into history — and now the real work begins. But based on the past campaign season, I’m a bit worried about the future. I’m afraid that many of our elected officials spent so much effort telling citizens what they’re for and against that it may be hard for them to present a positive, actionable agenda when they take office.
The good news is that this may be a chance to help your elected officials quickly establish an agenda to address the structural deficits and complex realities of governance that many will only discover and fully understand once they take office.
I recommend looking at the Technology CEO Council (TCC) report that focuses on how government can use private-sector lessons to improve public service. One Trillion Reasons: How Commercial Best Practices to Maximize Productivity Can Save Taxpayer Money and Enhance Government Services puts a private-sector stamp of approval on years of best practices in state and local government. Most of the recommendations should not surprise you.
I was pleased to see how closely the TCC’s recommendations align with priorities and activities reported to the Center for Digital Government — the research division of Government Technology parent company e.Republic Inc. — through this year’s Digital States, Digital Counties and Digital Cities submissions.
The CDG’s surveys confirm that consolidation and virtualization continue to be a top priority for state and local governments. Simplifying procurement has long been desired by government and encouraged by private-sector partners, and current economic conditions are making positive change possible. Reducing energy use is becoming a popular way to operationalize the “green government” rhetoric. Some promising cooperative shared-services activities are under way nationwide, uniting many jurisdictions in cost-saving partnerships. Better analytics and decision-support tools enable fewer improper payments and better decision-making of program outcomes. Electronic self-service and greater work force mobility continue to be central strategies in the most successful jurisdictions.
Being a prophet in your own land can be difficult. For more information on CDG survey trends or how to help your elected officials set the agenda in 2011, visit www.digitalcommunities.com or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.