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CTOs outline the make-up of a modern government agency

Public sector CIOs and CTOs share roadmap for citizen-centric innovation in government

Smart CIOs are embracing the paradigm shift around government's relationship with tech
Smart CIOs are embracing the paradigm shift around government's relationship with tech

A group of US transformative chief technology officers brought together to discuss trends shaping the government IT sector have come up with a list of six critical drivers required of a modern government agency.


Blueprint for government


Granicus, a provider of cloud-based software solutions to government, gathered the group of IT executives from both state and local level in a quest to create a blueprint for government leaders striving to keep pace with rapidly evolving technology.


“The world is experiencing an incredible technology renaissance, and in few places has that change been more evident, or substantial, than in government technology,” said Bob Ainsbury, chief product officer at Granicus.


“Many public sector CIOs and CTOs have found themselves on the bleeding edge of improving the citizen experience, breaking new ground with emerging cloud technologies.”


Presenting their insights were four state and local CIOs: Rob Lloyd, chief information officer for the City of San Jose, California; Suma Nallapati, secretary of pathology and chief information officer for the Governor’s Office of Information Technology at the state of Colorado; Bob Samson, chief information officer New York State’s Office of Information Technology Services; and Denis Goulet, commissioner for the Department of Information Technology for the state of New Hampshire.

“The world is experiencing an incredible technology renaissance, and in few places has that change been more evident, or substantial, than in government technology"


The following six critical drivers of a more modern government agency were identified as:

  • Citizen-centric: all technology and processes are designed, built and deployed around people – both government employees and citizens. Lloyd said that smart, intelligent communities must start from the citizen’s perspective, work across departments, enlist external partners and break down internal silos to build organisations that are “powered by people” to create better services from the customer point of view
  • Data-driven: “Data is the new oil,” said Samson. “Nearly everything we do is measured, and the government organisations that take advantage of that data thoughtfully and securely, stand to reap the greatest benefits. Oil is what props up many governments today. Data is what will keep them going tomorrow.” Samson cautioned that government leaders who fail to harness the power of data are doomed to lag behind their peers
  • Future ready: modern agencies are those that build a platform and foundation that can prioritise change and scale to any situation as it arises. Whether it’s a cyber breach or a weather emergency, agencies must be prepared to anticipate and react to life situations in real-time while ensuring trusted and reliable engagement with citizens
  • Interoperable: modern government agencies are built on a foundation of data interoperability, ensuring disparate systems share a common data landscape. The age of ubiquitous computing is here: “Processes throughout society are becoming more instrumented, interconnected and intelligent in new and profound ways,” said Samson. Systems that support open APIs and connected processes deliver profound advances that make tasks, like renewals and payments, easier for citizens
  • Secure by default: security is not an application or another box to check off. It’s a way of life that must be embedded in government software, hardware and operations. Goulet said that centralisation of security responsibilities and widespread cyber awareness training have been keys to protecting the technological infrastructure of his state
  • Committed to connections: engagement is a two-way street. Modern governments embrace tools that allow them to stay attuned to how citizens respond to government policies, actions and communications. Nallapati shared her state’s cloud-first approach to modernisation and how that is influencing the lives of citizens and state employees. By prioritising projects that have the greatest impact from a citizen perspective, Colorado is interacting with citizens in new and more effective ways – from the myColorado web portal, which serves as a single entry point for a broad range of state services, to the myDMV mobile app, where residents can renew licenses, update addresses and request driving records without waiting in line.

“Technology is easy,” said Nallapati. “People and processes are harder to change. We move at the speed of trust, focusing on the right tech, right innovation and right mindset.”


“Government agencies that are embracing new technology are driving innovative and enhanced connections with their citizens – making it easier for them to stay informed and access vital services,” added Ainsbury.


“The government leaders who recognise this are driving bold new strategies, aggressively deploying the latest in cloud technology across their organisations and using data in radically new ways.”


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