Government organizations have unique challenges when it comes to strategic technology planning and adoption. Often there is significant bureaucracy and red tape to go through for any major technology purchase and it can be challenging to execute a smooth transition across several agencies.
Cybersecurity and incident recovery are also big concerns when it comes to government networks and proper technology planning. Breaches not only have an immediate and costly impact, they also create a loss of public trust, and can cripple agencies for days or weeks if there’s no recovery plan in place.
A recent example involves a virus attack on the city of Muscatine’s entire computer system, leaving multiple agencies without needed tech resources. Significant downtime was experienced, which emphasizes the need for a strategic business continuity and recovery plan that can be implemented moments after a hack occurs to minimize the impact.
While navigating through technology planning for your city or government agency can be daunting, it can be made much easier by working with the right technology partner that can assist you with a logical and robust IT strategy and provide cost effective options to get there.
At Twin State Technical Services, we’ve been assisting organization with technology planning for over 25 years. We help them strategically choose the best technology that will support their department missions and bring the shortest ROI and highest positive impact.
What are some of the steps you can take for high-impact technology planning? We have five of the most important coming up.
What Keeps Governments from Smoothly Implementing a Technology Plan?
There are obstacles that can create challenges to effective technology planning and implementation in government organizations. Just like any other office, government staff look to technology to save time, increase efficiency, reduce redundancies, and improve accuracy.
Obstacles that can get in the way are:
- A process that requires too many hoops to jump through and isn’t efficient
- Being too internally focused and not looking to other industries for insight
- Excluding staff/vendors/customers from the planning process who would be directly impacted by the technology implemented
- Lack of a solid follow through plan to incentivize adoption after the initial launch
- Being too inflexible to make adjustments after a technology plan is put into action
- Focusing on meeting regulatory requirements or deadlines, rather than looking at the big picture of a technology impact
Take these Steps for Effective & Strategic Technology Planning
Technology is becoming a larger part of organizations’ budgets every year, so city and government managers are looking for ways to spend those IT dollars wisely.
92% of cities consider the Internet of Things in their strategic technology planning. (Government Technology Magazine)
The Internet of Things (IoT), which is basically all devices that can be internet connected, is increasingly on the minds of city IT planners. In 2015, 61% of cities said they considered IoT in their strategic IT planning, and that number jumped to 92% just three years later in 2018.
Here are steps to take to evaluate and plan for successful technology adoption in your organization.
1. Develop and Promote a Strategic Culture
Too many organizations put a technology need out for bid, and don’t really put a lot of strategic planning into the process. For the most inclusive and successful technology rollout, you should include all stakeholders, including upper and middle management, vendors you’ll be working with, and the team “on the ground” who will be using the technology on a daily basis.
By getting everyone in on the planning process from the beginning, you not only get valuable input from all sides, you also foster a feeling of ownership by all involved and a respect for the strategic process that comes before any new technology is implemented.
2. Use Technology to Support Your Mission
While this might seem like an obvious step, too many organizations lose sight of the big picture of their main vision or mission when evaluating and implementing technology. If you start with your core mission and then work down into the details of what you need to do to achieve that on a daily basis, you’ll have a much stronger technology plan with a direct impact on your organization’s mission vision for the future.
3. Include Risk Management in Your Plan
Being proactive about what could go wrong or what possible adoption “pain points” may be out there in advance can greatly increase the chance for a successful technology plan.
Any strategic technology planning should include risk management and a look at potential worse case scenarios, which will help you get out ahead of potential problems and reduce the chance that your organization will be blindsided by the unexpected.
4. Build In Evaluation and Flexibility
Once a technology plan is implemented, there may inevitably be parts of it that worked better on paper than they do in reality. Instead of seeing these as a partial failure, include an evaluation and adjustment component into your plan as a “Phase II.”
This will allow you to custom fit a technology plan according to how it is working once implemented, which can mean adding more staff training or adjusting a digital workflow to better meet your needs.
5. Plan for Ongoing Training and Improvements
Once your initial training on a new technology implementation is complete, that doesn’t mean the job is done. Successful organizations continue with staff training to gain a deeper knowledge of an application which can increase productivity even further.
Twin State Technical Services conducts free software immersion events. These allow people to gain more insight into both current programs they already work with and new ones they may want to try before they buy. It’s a hands-on experience that enhances any office technology plan.
We Help Local Governments with Their Technology Needs
Twin State Technical Services is a woman-owned Iowa business that helps local governments with any and all technology needs.
We want to earn your partnership in one of our areas of expertise and make technology planning and implementation as cost effective and successful as possible for you.