Note: I am going to be doing a series of posts on what I see going forward when it comes to disruptive technologies for the areas I cover. This is the first of those focused on government.
Government used to be a sure bet for technology adoption. Yes, government was and remains slow in its adoption, but it is pretty sure to try out just about any technology. So what will be the top technology trends for government that CIO’s, line of business leaders, and others in government will be looking at, learning about, and implementing in 2012? My top six are:
1) Budget. 2012 is going to continue to be a difficult budget year and I don’t expect anything to change in this area for another three to five years at least. On top of that, government is still having a hard time driving value from IT investments at many levels. In 2012 expect to see budget to be an even larger issue with vendors and efforts with more around trying to do more with less. Also look for government to be willing to do more shared risk and reward efforts where there is a revenue stream such as toll roads and other efforts.
2) Social government. Social government is more then Gov 2.0, more then agencies increasing their presence on twitter or Facebook, and more then a better Web presence. It is about building a collaborative community agency to agency, government to government, government to business, and government to citizen. It is what real democracy is about. The key trends for government in 2012 will include what mobile means to a social government, integrating social into already existing efforts, appropriately managing the risk issues, watching and integrating new social platforms and technologies as they emerge and as citizens adopt them, and then to begin to build a real collaborative community.
3) Digital election. Politics isn’t government, but the US election in 2012 will definitely affect government. Things to watch include the candidates statements on technology and how they would like to use technology to make government better, their stands around key technology legislation such as SOPA and PIPA, and then how they use technology in their campaigns. These will all be indicators of what we can expect to see when they are elected.
4) Big data and analytics. Government has more data, both public and private, structured and unstructured, then any other industry out there. And there is only going to be more tomorrow from the net, from sensors, from interactions, and just from devices. But what to do with it? How to drive value from it for both government agencies, business, and citizens? This is where big data and analytics come together. The issues for government (which are not all that different then the private sector) with big data in 2012 are going to be what data to make public, how to integrate multiple data types from multiple sources, and then just putting together an architecture that allows value to be derived from the data. It is also going to require large shifts in the government culture away from historical data driven processes and reporting that government is known for to a more realtime, predictive, dashboard driven culture to drive better decision making.
5) Cloud. The cloud seems to be on almost avery agency and government’s list. The great thong about cloud is that it offers the opportunity for government agencies to lower costs and even in some cases switch to a pay-as-you-go model and to make access to new capabilities earlier and easier. The problem is that government is still trying to figure out how to take advantage of the cloud environment – how to bring together both private and public cloud services, what data and services to keep in a private cloud and what to keep in a public cloud, how to integrate cloud with mobile, and how to develop cross agency clouds. What will be key for government in 2012 is working through the security issues, finding the right delivery model, and dealing with migration where cloud is the best solution.
6) Security and privacy. The White House and almost every other government agency has said that cybersecurity is a critical issue for government – for both national security and economic reasons – and one that we are no where close to being prepared to handle. What is going to be critical issues for government to be working on in 2012, besides the cloud, social, and mobile issues already mentioned, are the increasing threats targeted at government, infrastructure, and our economic structure, continuity and the ability to deal with different disasters, and compliance down to the employee and contractor level. Government is going to be forced to look at the end-to-end security aspects of the organization including the integration of logical and physical security in a new way in 2012.
There are other trends such as mobile technologies, sustainability, and improving the citizen experience that will affect government in 2012, just not to the degree that the above seven will. What do you think will be affecting government in 2012?