Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Transforming Governments Through Next Generation Technology

Governments around the world are struggling with unprecedented challenges. Not only are they to trying to reignite a global economy in freefall, but they are grappling with crumbling infrastructure, aging populations, declining quality in education and healthcare, and a heightened social concern about preserving the environment. All, in a world of declining tax revenues and tightening budgets.

Like the private sector, governments are now turning to technology to help them to improve both the delivery of government services and to promote overall economic growth.

Building 21st Century Economies
Like the waterways and highways of previous centuries, governments around the world recognize they have an important role to play in building the technology infrastructure to fuel innovation-led growth and prosperity. High-speed broadband is seen as a core infrastructure for encouraging economic development but we need the services that run on top of this to create demand, encourage further investments and deliver economic benefits. For example, Germany has committed €4.6 Billion to install and connect telepresence capabilities throughout its schools to improve the quality of its education system, while reducing costs.

Similar to access to electricity and the telephone, governments not only recognize the social equity of providing broadband access to the underprivileged and unde-served, but they are beginning to understand the importance to economic development. Using technology to improve the quality of inner-city schools, encourage more tele-commuting and increase the productivity of rural economies delivers significant social and economic benefits.

Delivering 21st Century Public Services
Most of us have become accustom to using technology to interact with banks, retailers, utilities and, even our employers. Not only have we grown use to it, but we expect and demand it.

There are significant opportunities for governments to adopt similar technologies to:

Reduce Costs of Delivery – delivering online services, collaboration tools, and video, not only lowers costs to serve but enhances the overall customer experience
Empower Citizens – employing Web 2.0 capabilities, such as collaboration and social networking, allows citizens to more easily interact with their government and directly help each other
Improve Levels of Service – installing solutions such things as kiosks, Telepresence units, or VoIP enabled call centers for 311 calls, raises service levels and the overall experience

Creating 21st Century Governments
Governments have a role now, more than ever, in solving our pressing issues. Both taxpayers and public servants recognize that they must operate very differently than they have, and that technology plays a critical role to play in this transformation. There is a fantastic opportunity for technology providers to partner with governments on this journey.

Research by Cisco IBSG (the company’s strategic consulting arm) reveals that the public sector has a number of unique requirements:

Funding Models – given budget constraints and limited money to invest, companies need to find creative new ways to pay for the new technologies, such as managed services and public-private partnerships
Skill Shortages – hiring freezes and lack of skills, means that governments typically require significant help in design, implementation and management of technology solutions
• Integrated Solutions – new solutions require integrating not just across multiple departments and levels of government, but also with not-for-profits, agencies, multiple partners and other parties
Innovation – governments are looking to the private sector to bring new and innovative solutions to their problems

Managed Services offers a great way to deliver the new and innovative solutions that are going to transform governments for the 21st century. However, to be successful service providers will need to recognize the unique needs of the public sector and to partner with them to address their pressing challenges

This article appeared in Business Technology Roundtable

No comments: