Technology is evolving faster than ever. Keeping up with the latest tech trends allows state and local governments to improve operations, effectively serve citizens and impact political outcomes. Such governments are faced with unique challenges, including aging workforces, tighter budgets, political uncertainty and cyber threats. Rapid technology adoption, especially amongst millennials, can quickly outpace in-house technology capabilities. State and local government agencies that don’t keep up with major tech trends run the risk of being left behind. In fact, government agencies have typically lagged the private sector in the adoption of new technologies. This article considers the inherent tech-related challenges we have observed in the public sector. Four technology trend areas are presented:
Analytics and Intelligent Automation – Developments around the group of technologies associated with advanced analytics, data visualization, artificial intelligence, robotic process automation and machine learning continue to be noteworthy. Federal government spending on analytics and intelligent automation has more than tripled since 2017 and grew by 70% in 2019. This trend is expected to continue.
Cloud Expansion – Software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platforms as a service (PaaS) and cloud support services expansion trends are projected to continue in 2020. According to an October 2019 CIO survey by NASCIO, 48% of state governments plan to shrink their state-owned data centers and 92% plan to increase cloud services over the next three years.
Modern Technology Platforms – These product- and web-based end-user platforms make government operations and customer services more efficient and minimize custom development. Federal government spending on digital services grew by $5.3 billion in 2019.
Cybersecurity – Technologies associated with protection of systems, networks and programs from digital attacks reflect a trend toward increased implementation of cyber defenses. Driven by the government’s need to evolve beyond perimeter-based protections, federal contract spending on cybersecurity rose sharply to match an unprecedented fiscal 2019 cybersecurity budget request of $17.4 billion.
For each of the identified areas, associated technologies and success stories are presented, along with answers to the following key questions:
Why should government agencies care about the specific technology trend?
What are the associated benefits?
What are some use cases for government adoption of the related technologies?
What potential risks need to be mitigated?
What should government organizations do to successfully embrace the associated technologies?