Local governments have always been challenged to run lean, conserving every possible taxpayer dollar. This expectation poses a particular difficulty for CIOs who must find a balance between investing in efficient technology solutions and being conservative with the municipality’s bottom line. In 2019, the most important factors shaping local government CIOs' priorities and budgets involve cloud computing, data centralization, and enhancing e-Government solutions.
The future of secure local government IT infrastructure is in the cloud. In 2019 modern CIOs will be focused on developing a cloud-based data management strategy that involves the proper selection of service and development models and the implementation of scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities in a software as a service (SaaS) format using Internet technology. While the importance of cloud computing is not a surprise to IT professionals, you may not be ready to make the migration from your on-site servers to an intangible, still relatively revolutionary, cloud storage model.
Local governments are under extreme pressure to keep user data secure, and this critical requirement is not expected to change any time soon. If you’re hesitant to make the move from your physical network infrastructure to the cloud, know that there are significant benefits of cloud storage, such as greater security and a smaller threat of damage to hardware from natural or local disasters.
With limitations in personnel and budget, CIOs can no longer support an IT software model reliant upon disparate systems, duplicative data entry, and the maintenance of non-integrateable solutions. In 2019, municipal CIOs will focus more heavily on the consolidation and optimization of data, services, infrastructure, data centers, and the implementation of communications platforms that leverage an enterprise-wide data share and integration model. A key to a successful data centralization strategy is the selection and implementation of a centralized platform that securely unites third-party systems and shares data using API connections.
Enhancing eGovernment Solutions
eGovernment is the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to improve the activities of public sector organizations. Over the past decade digital technology, the Internet, enterprise mobility, and social media have all changed the ways that local governments interact with their citizens. In 2019, CIOs are looking to harness the power of e-Government and its digital channels to better engage citizens and reduce bottom line expenses. They plan to prioritize the establishment of a framework for digital services that includes citizen access portals aimed at improving citizen experiences and engagement. From an internal user administration perspective, CIOs will also look to enhance their identity management solutions to streamline access points for integrated solutions using a single, secure hub to ensure the greatest possible data security and software utilization convenience.
2018 CIO Priorities
So far, in 2018, CIOs have been particularly challenged to meet the latest technology and digital engagement expectations of citizens, ensure the highest security standards, and enable digital accessibility—all without breaking the bank.
Budget Challenge # 1: Invest in Digital Engagement Innovations
According to a global survey of CIOs by Gartner, Inc. top-performing organizations in the private sector spend, on average, 33 percent of their IT budgets on engaging digital initiatives, compared to only 21 percent of public sector entities. Digital engagement solutions represent an enormous opportunity for local governments to evolve their citizen communication methods. The latest innovations are allowing local governments to engage citizens impactfully in today’s era of mobility, social media, technology integrations, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Despite these opportunities, CIOs’ software budgets remain limited.
One way that CIOs can make advancements in digital engagement technology, within the confines of limited spending abilities, is to resist the urge to implement individual, costly technology solutions to serve individual department and workflow function needs, and instead invest in a single integrated platform that creates efficiencies through shared data and access. Local governments that implement separate government content management systems to engage citizens via social media, mobile applications, website solutions, in-office kiosks, and other public channels, risk complex and costly implementations of software offerings that will only serve to complicate department workflows and slow time-sensitive communications.
Budget Challenge # 2: Ensure the Highest Digital Security Standards
Local government CIOs often cite budget constraints as the most significant barrier to implementing the highest possible security systems and protections. The threat of cyberattacks is on the rise, particularly for public entities, yet local government budgets are often not able to keep pace with the costs associated with the most advanced security measures. If cost were no option, many CIOs report that they would hire internal cybersecurity experts to serve as dedicated resources for safeguarding citizen data.
The inability to commit experienced personnel full-time to security leaves CIOs heavily reliant upon website hosting solution providers and other third parties to serve as their first line of defense against cybercriminals. For this reason, local governments must be sure to choose a website solution partner that can offer redundant hosting, 24/7 DDoS monitoring, and other critical protection services.
Budget Challenge # 3: Ensuring Digital Accessibility
The Section 508 Refresh of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) has put digital accessibility in the spotlight for local governments. Municipalities with outdated, non-ADA-compliant websites are searching for funding for a redesign. Of more significant financial concern, is the possibility of a lawsuit that could result in a costly fine, a risk that could more than devastate a CIO’s budget.
Local governments hosting outdated, non-compliant websites should know that cost-effective solutions are available for achieving modern local government website redesigns that enable equitable access to content and help municipalities avoid the risk of costly fines. To get started on a digital compliance plan, follow the steps outlined below.
- Step One: Download our ADA compliance checklist to begin evaluating whether or not you have an ADA compliant website that meets WCAG 2.0 A and AA requirements.
- Step Two: Obtain a free third-party website performance evaluation to determine how your current website performs in other critical categories, such as readability, mobility, and broken links.
- Step Three: Download our website redesign toolkit for everything you need to know about local government website design and executing an effective redesign from the budget, to timeline considerations, to security requirements.