Trends from Alan Shark, executive director of the Public Technology Institute, at today’s local government seminar mentioned below:
- Flat to lower spending on information technologies: (no surprise in this economy). This creates pressure to show spending on technology can save money. There is increased pressure to make a ‘business case’ … “to show how technology can actually help in times of distress,” Shark said.
- Greater centralization of IT … combining groups even between entities. “People are reaching out because they have to,” Shark said.
- Regionalism is a necessity. This is interesting. Shark is basically saying that in times of declining budgets, different government units are going to have to share resources. I think of government entities .. cities, libraries, whatever .. as being fiercly protective of their turf.
- Greater use of Multimedia: integrating video, voice and data: “We need to understand how the public will use this because this is how the public will be interacting with us.”
- Social Media and Government. Now we’re talking. Shark didn’t list many examples, though, which is disappointing. He mentions online voting, but that has huge implications that were not discussed.
Questions: how do you get different government entities sharing their IT resources? Shark responded that one option is having the groups called together by an impartial outside entity or a politician. I’m not sure I see any implications in my county, but it’s surely worth giving some thought.
And here’s a surprise: asked for cutting-edge government contact with technology, Shark mentions the virtual world Second Life. That’s pretty remarkable when I can’t imagine any government networks even allow their employees to access it from their computers. What a progressive thought. Here’s one article about how Boston is involved in Second Life.