Government and technology - making a difference


The themes of best practices and how to quantify return on a technology initiative have raced through my reading the past couple of weeks.

The Economist’s recent special report on Government and Technology struck me because it covers so many issues – including citizen expectations – facing governments trying to implement technology for the greater good.

Several points I have really been pondering about defining clear objectives and return of technology investments were calling out to me as I read this article – because they impact me on a personal level.

Like businesses, government can use information to fundamentally shift decision making from gut- to fact-driven. The rewards for stakeholders (citizens, that's me and you) are priceless. As in business, clear grasp of value, objectives, metrics and best practices provide amazing return on an expensive and complicated technology investment. Information – timely and efficent – impacts policy, supports transparency and facilitates debate. Meaning I have the ability to question intelligently and receive feedback when it matters. We can shorten the time it takes to effect change – we wouldn't even have to wait till Election Day!

I have a historical and a basic reporting relationship with my government. I dig up historical information every 2, 4 or 6 years when I vote. I go to government Web sites to download a passport application, find out when the library closes and see what my neighbors paid for their home (yeah, I do. This is full disclosure).

In the rare instance I act on an impending issue, my ability to influence the debate in a proactive way is hampered. If we could capture and interact in real time with the ideas, passions and concerns of citizens and create real-time dialogue --- and ACT on it, what couldn’t we do?

Government technology initiatives seek to marry the vision with the return. Isn't that true for everyone? Even with the end goal in mind, I need to chart my road with best practices, measurements and plans that ensure success.

I am interested in how we can be more successful using technology. Sure, I want to know how to use Business Intelligence and analytics to radically improve business. But I am also a citizen, a daughter, a dog owner... the list goes on. How can the technology I work with every day transform those roles I play outside the corporate arena?

And it is so important that those initiatives succeed. Thus, the more best practices can be shared from private sector to public sector and vice versa, the more everyone benefits!


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Tammi Kay George

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