Technology trends for government in 2015

May 06, 2015

Government Cloud.jpgAs federal, state and local governments move toward the need for smarter processes along with the citizenry they serve, it’s important to be aware of current trends in technology that could affect the way agencies operate. The need for smarter tech is more apparent than ever, and made more appropriate because this kind of tech could lead to saving money and increasing productivity in the long run. Government agencies should familiarize themselves with a few distinct areas in current technology trends:

Hiring practices
Government employees need to know to how to navigate the continually growing and changing field of technology, and hiring young people with a knack for how to use tech in conjunction with the skills necessary to run a government office will be integral for the performance of government in the future. By September 2017, according to statistics from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, 31 percent of federal employees will be eligible for retirement. When filling those positions left by retirees, government agencies should more closely consider the kind of talent they needin their IT departments rather than the simple act of filling the role, according to a recent Deloitte report.

“Given today’s advancements in automation, for example, it may be that IT workers require fewer hard technical skills and more soft skills from disciplines like anthropology or sociology,” the report said. “The real work may involve bringing training, vendor management, and change management capabilities together to achieve an objective, not simply grinding out the work.”

Mobile citizen engagement
Smartphones are everywhere. According to the Pew Research Center, as of October 2014, 64 percent of adult Americans owned a smartphone, and that number continues to increase daily. Nineteen percent of adults rely on smartphones to gather information and access online services. Mobile Commerce Daily reported in September 2014 51 percent of retail visits occurred via mobile, and other trends are pointing toward the continued ubiquitous use of mobile technologies.

With this trend, the government is presented with the opportunity for more citizen engagement through the use of mobile devices. In order to capitalize on this opportunity for more citizen engagement, it’s imperative mobile applications for some government services become available to the public. Citizen-facing programs and social software campaigns are important to fully utilize in order to stay in touch with the public.

Types of data
The term “open data” refers to any data that can be accessed through an API and is machine-readable, according to IT Business Edge. For the government, this includes data open to the public, material discoverable through the Freedom of Information Act, or restricted data only used by certain agencies. Cost-effective measures should be undertaken in order to create a process for the collection and distribution of all this data.

Citizen-managed data is the material the public can access and use outside of a particular government transaction. IT Business Edge claims citizen data vaults can have immense benefits because they help the government to meet Internet users’ expectations and provide “more transparent control of individual privacy rights on electronic data.”