4 top civic tech priorities right now

City, county, and local governments are swimming in a sea of data that never stops. From where does all this data originate? Data comes from virtually everywhere. From city council meetings to live traffic cams, from schools to the city’s waste treatment department, and from citizens to city or county agencies via social media interaction and public forums, data comes from a variety of disparate sources. Until recently, all this data existed in separate silos, and was therefore largely useful only to those tasked with overseeing one particular piece of the local government pie or another. Like a small raft floating on an ocean, these individual silos made data hard to find, identify, and use in any integrated way. Let’s take a look at the top civic tech priorities that local gouvernements face right now.

The Changing Scene of Civic Tech

Despite the difficulty of culling intelligence from such a wide range of sources, it is evident that there is inherent value in analyzing data from all such sources. Local governments, then, profit from finding a way to unify the data sources to create one source of reliable data which can be accessed easily. To that end, civic tech is even now prioritizing some changes in the digital landscape.

Priority #1: Assessing Civic Tech Capabilities and Deficiencies

According to research by Gartner, government CIOs estimate that 44 percent of business processes are now undergoing digital change, with 62 percent to be impacted within two years and 80 percent within five years.

Local governments, therefore, must determine what digital strategies will be of most benefit to their business processes and to the public those processes serve. Additionally, a clear assessment of current technological capability will help local governments plan for investing wisely in technologies that advance their clear objectives.

Priority #2: Cloud Adoption Continues Apace

With a view to streamlining processes, government CIOs are prioritizing a move to the cloud. ComputerWorld reports: “Many insiders say government agencies are moving away from their own data centers and toward the cloud at a faster clip than private companies.”

Why is that the case? Local governments can reap significant benefits from leveraging cloud technology, including:

  • Greater scalability
  • Faster deployment of applications and services
  • No need to maintain hardware, networking, and additional security in-house

Priority #3: Greater Use of Analytics to Inform Policy and Procedure

Harvard’s “The Many Ways Government Must ‘Deliver’ in the Digital Age” highlights another priority for local governments, noting:

“When technologists meet with capable public servants, they not only engender new digital solutions to improve citizens’ lives, but also develop ways of operating government that are leaner, cheaper, and more responsive to civic demands.”

Using technologies that enable analysis of big data from multiple sources, local governments can “connect the dots” as never before. As budget constraints abound for local governments, it makes sense to embrace technologies that yield truly actionable intelligence to identify inefficiencies, smooth previously bottlenecked exchange of essential data between departments, and lead ultimately to data-driven decision making on a higher plane.

Priority #4: Providing a Better Experience for Increasingly Tech-Savvy Citizens

As private enterprises adopt agile methodologies and implement strategies to improve user experience, civic tech will need to borrow a page from the private enterprise playbook. An increasing percentage of the population is accustomed now, as never before, to conducting business via social media and mobile devices.

This means that local governments can more closely match the expectations of their citizens by providing integrated tech solutions to solve the problems citizens encounter. For instance, local governments can provide a seamless interaction with citizens across multiple platforms such as social media, the telephone, and email.

As a bonus, all the data generated by such citizen interaction can be captured, logged, and analyzed for quality assurance and for insight into the needs of people within the community.

The Bottom Line

Now is an exciting time to explore the world of civic tech. The explosion of smart city technologies has forever changed the way local governments operate. Now, such governments can assess where technology is needed, move data to the cloud, use that data to inform future policies and strategies, and provide a better experience for citizens.

However, all of those potential positives for civic tech start with finding a way to capture and integrate your data. OpenDataSoft Smart City Solution is designed to do that. OpenDataSoft takes data from multiple formats and aggregates it into a central unified hub.

This enables users to quickly access the information they need at any given time, which in turn leads to a more agile, more citizen-friendly, and more data-driven approach to local government.


These four Civic Tech priorities are key to drive Smart City innovation

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