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Evolving IT Trends in the Public Sector Space

Kerry L. Goode, CIO/Director, Technology Solutions, City of Durham
Kerry L. Goode, CIO/Director, Technology Solutions, City of Durham

Kerry L. Goode, CIO/Director, Technology Solutions, City of Durham

1. What are the current market trends you see shaping the Public Sector space?

There are several markets trends shaping the Public Sector space within information technology. Based on my analysis, the trends are:

Public sector investments will increase in Cyber Security technologies to address new cybersecurity threats

New opportunities to increase business value with the alignment of IT strategies that utilize evolving and emerging technologies

The public sector will invest in business resiliency IT infrastructure utilizing the Cloud technologies or utilize managed service providers to increase business value, performance value and compliance value.

The public sector will move IT systems into the cloud platform for systems such as email, collaboration platforms (SharePoint, etc.) and unstructured data due to the positive increase in ROI. The need to access, collaborative from anywhere and anytime will drive this change along with the reduction in cost.

The increase in the use of the software as a Service solution model when new systems are needed or older systems upgraded due to the total cost versus benefits becoming more competitive for SAAS platforms versus on-premise data center.

Core business systems for the Public sector such as ERP systems will be the last systems to move to the cloud due to enormous change management efforts, the cost required to migrate, new risks and lack of control of the performance value and cost when hosted in the cloud.

Increase in the need for additional broadband for applications and internet of things technologies will be essential to become a smart city.

One major trend is the investments the Public sector is making in new information technologies that will mitigate or build contingencies that will lessen the impact of cyber security threats as the result of the increasing cyber-attacks directed at the Public Space. For example, the City of Durham has increase funding by 200% for its new cybersecurity program. The new investment in cybersecurity will be justified by the number of attempts that are contained and eradicated with unexpected significant cost and the risk of losing important data and revenue.

All the other aforementioned trends are based on the information collected as part of the city’s business case development efforts that included an analysis of the business problems and solutions that maximize the ROI. As part of the IT governance process, the business cases are developed by the enterprise business analyst in collaboration with business units. The business cases are present to the CIO team and IT governance steering committee as part of the review and approval process. The IT governance program ensures that all new investments in IT are based on an approved business case. The business cases recommend the solutions that bring optimal business value, performance value and compliance value to address the validated business problem. As stated earlier, the business case development process also provides insight to the CIO on trends within the public sector space.

2. Along with many other high priority items, such as repairing or replacing infrastructure, new housing developments to meet the need of the growing population, and first responder initiatives, technology trends should be on your list of priorities in order to save money, secure data, and improve productivity. Your views on this trend.

The CIO for Durham is leveraging efficient and effective IT strategy to address the demands of a growing City business units. The IT strategies being executed to address the aforementioned priorities are the following:

Building a robust fiber network with a private sector partner. The network expands to include the public housing areas of the city where free Wifi connectivity is offered.

Modernizing the on-premise data center with transformation into a cloud/on-premise data center hybrid model to increase the business value of IT and to build business resiliency.

City’s IT governance process that requires a business case that requires alignment with enterprise compliance and enterprise architecture

Open data program for business units and world-wide community utilization. Anyone can gain insight utilizing business intelligence tools such as Power BI. The city is teaching employees to use data by offering classes within the data academy.

  The major tasks for organizational CIOs are to lead their organization into the future utilizing evolving and emerging technologies that solve the ever-changing business problems  

3. Please elaborate on the challenges that the organizations will need to address related to Public Sector space.

The challenges that the City of Durham have are the following:

Hiring and retaining the human capital with the talent required to support on-premise systems is a challenge. Citys’ Compensation and Classification systems are not competitive for some highly technical positions required for Public Sector space if the city is competing with high tech private sector organizations for same limited human capital with the desired skills.

Managing the growth of IT systems with the alignment of the appropriate support resources to ensure systems deployed are sustainable for the long term with the run cost covered effectively.

Growing the organization capacity to utilize data and new technologies while completing the whirlwind of daily activities that have to get done for the residents is a challenge due to the public sector human capital being lean (read Steve Covey’s 4 Disciplines of Execution for better understanding the challenges)

4. What are the major tasks for organizational CIOs at this point in time? Is there any unmet need in terms of Public Sector space that is yet to be leveraged from the vendors?

The major tasks for organizational CIOs are to lead their organization into the future utilizing evolving and emerging technologies that solve the ever-changing business problems. The leadership can be accomplished with the following strategies. The CIO should work to

Build effective relationships with all business units. The CIO should be the IT consultant for each business units. I make house calls to each unit quarterly.

Have a good understanding of each business unit’s operations

Have a good understanding of the enterprise IT architecture

Build an IT governance framework to guide the organization new IT investments and to sustain the existing IT investments

5. The cloud is not only for your office workers but also for your first-line workers, including clerks, emergency response teams, police officers, and parks and recreation workers. What can organizations do to stay abreast of these changes?

The City of Durham IT department (Technology Solutions) spend a significant amount of the department’s allocated budget on consultative services and training for the CIO, IT manager and all staff for training to ensure that we are aware of IT solutions for increasing employee productivity and engagement. In additions, a significant amount of time is spent by the CIO and staff on benchmarking. The benchmarking is utilized to learn how the public sector organizations are utilizing the cloud and other technologies.

6. What is your advice for budding technologists in the Public Sector space? How do you see the evolution a few years from now with regards to disruptions and transformations within Public Sector space?

My advice to new technologists is to make an effort to understand the business strategy of the organization along with the business operations from a conceptual perspective. It is also important to understand how automation is solving the current problems within the business. The technologist of future value will need to know how to align IT improve business value and performance value.

 

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