3 ways government agencies can make the most of their technology

Aug 28, 2015

Laptop User.jpgGovernment agencies are driven by the need not only to improve operations, but make positive decisions that affect the general public. In many cases, government IT solutions hit on both goals and can provide significant benefits for organizations that adopt them. Here are a few things government can do to make the most of their technology:

1. Make innovation a long-term goal
Typically, government is slow to adopt assets and it can take a while to determine the best ways to leverage them. However, government should make innovation and investing in technology a long-term goal that will ultimately benefit operations. In an interview with The Washington Post, Michelle Lee, head of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, noted that market and financial pressures make it significantly difficult for government to focus on establishing technology as an asset, but pursuing it will be beneficial for present and future development efforts.

"I do think that the government, even though the process is sometimes slower and there's a lot of consensus-building that's needed, it for the most part does a good job of trying to think, 'What is right for the system, across all industries, across all technology areas, now and in the long run?'" Lee said. "That's the holy grail. That's the goal."

2. Recruit experienced workers
There's a major shortage in tech-savvy employees across organizations, which can affect how government procure and leverage technology. Xconomy contributor David Eaves noted that this type of staffing can improve data literacy and overall skillswhile establishing a strong set of public service values to use this information to boost transparency and support capabilities. Hiring and managing people that are experienced with government IT skills will be critical for maintaining constituent confidence and enhancing quality of life.

3. Upgrade legacy architecture
With numerous technology failures setting the example, it's clear that many government agencies are still leveraging decades-old technology that not only makes it harder to work, but also leaves these organizations open to security vulnerabilities. While patching issues can be a good first start, doing so on obsolete assets won't help in the long run.

Instead, government organizations need a wholesale move to a more modern IT environment, Aaron Levie wrote in a separate piece for The Washington Post. By transferring operations to platforms like the cloud, it will allow governments to drive new innovations, save money and create improved experiences for employees as well as citizens. Similarly, agencies that are challenging the status quo of procurement practices are seeing major benefits like a boost in productivity. 

"With better procurement, outside-in thinking, a next-generation wave of technology vendors and today's approach to product management and delivery, the federal government will be well on its way to a modern technology environment," Levie wrote.

While there's still a long way to go, government organizations are making considerable headway to technology adoption. By understanding how to leverage these resources effectively, officials can improve service delivery and boost their ability to respond to issues.