Governments everywhere are struggling with unprecedented challenges. They're expected to reignite a global economy in free-fall, while grappling with crumbling infrastructure, aging populations, declining quality in education and healthcare -- plus a heightened social concern about preserving the environment.
All in a budgetary environment of declining tax revenues.
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, government leaders recognize they must create essential tech infrastructure to fuel innovation-led growth and prosperity. High-speed broadband is seen as a catalyst for encouraging economic development. However, meaningful services are required to stimulate demand.
For example, Germany has committed €4.6 Billion to install Telepresence capabilities throughout its schools -- to improve the quality of its education system, while reducing costs.
Similar to the access of electricity and the telephone, governments recognize the social equity of providing broadband access to everyone. Thereby using technology to improve the quality of inner-city schools, encourage more telecommuting and increase the productivity of rural economies.
Delivering 21st Century Public Services
There are significant opportunities for progressive governments 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.
- Improve Levels of Service – Kiosks, Telepresence units, or VoIP enabled call centers for 311 calls, raises service levels and the overall experience.
Both taxpayers and public servants now recognize that the business of government must evolve, and that technology plays a critical role in this transformation. Likewise, technology providers can choose 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 – providers must 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 require significant help in design, implementation and management of technology.
- Integrated Solutions – across multiple departments and levels of government, but also with not-for-profits, agencies, multiple partners and other parties.
- Innovation – the private sector can proactively bring new and innovative solutions to legacy problems -- seeding the transformation.
About the author: Stuart Taylor is a Director in Cisco IBSG. Stuart leads thought leadership and engagements with key Service Providers in managed services. He has over 15 years of experience focused on strategy, corporate development, business unit strategy, M&A and operational improvement with large mobile and wireline operators and high technology clients.