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Restructuring Government Infrastructure

By Jako van Blerk, CIO, Macomb County Government

Jako van Blerk, CIO, Macomb County Government

Mission at Hand

Given the presence of numerous departments entrusted with diverse responsibilities, it is quite challenging for governments to abruptly change their way of doing business. In fact, transforming processes in the government domain is not beyond prospect.

Building an Approach

The government setting, in general, has always remained siloed. Prior to virtualization, there was no scope for data sharing among the various departments. Each department held separate databases and operated on individuals servers. In counties like Macomb, there are a lot many aspects like public safety, health and community services, human resources, economic development, and animal control to manage. As a part of streamlining all of these processes, most primarily, government infrastructure must be restructured into a fully virtualized network with a strong baseline and high-level security.

“The government requires to devise techniques of readapting information and sharing data without jeopardizing security policies”

In addition, governments need to leverage existing data whereby they can ameliorate their customer service mechanisms. It is high time the public sector starts being proactive, keeping up with the evolving trends that were impracticable in the traditional environment. Quite remarkably, we at Macomb County have begun looking at use cases to figure out ways to improve services in public institutions like prosecutions, courts, and jails where it is precarious to share data that is overly sensitive. We make sure that our solutions are good enough for people to start accepting the idea of data analytics and be able to envisage the forthcoming developments in the market.

Besides, it is imperative for governments at present to be agile. Looking from a financial standpoint, implementing change might turn out cumbersome owing to intricate approval processes. Nonetheless, one has to make sure that the processes are optimally streamlined. Plus, service delivery must be quick, efficient, and at the same time user-friendly, regardless of the red tapes involved in the process. This move is gradual though, but it is certainly reaching its mark with the vision to transform the way governments function.

Identifying the Right Service Provider

It is essential for governments to partner with credible companies and people who are well-versed in their area of expertise so as to guide them using the relevant solution to help them accomplish their goal. Furthermore, they can ally with organizations that have already been through the process of conversion to garner a fair understanding of how to proceed in the same line.

Insight into the Demographic Shift within Governments

Given the information overload in recent times, it is natural for governments to be in a quandary as to which technology to espouse and which not to. Of late, the federal government has developed a cloud-based program, FedRAMP which brings to light a huge demand for governments to formulate services and deliver securely to public safety areas. This shift from legacy systems to the cloud is sure to metamorphose the government ecosystem as a whole. Considering this transition, it now rests on the public sector to edge their local environment to form a hybrid set-up where they will harness their local capabilities in the cloud.

Advice for Budding CIOs

Despite financial constraints, governments ought to start collaborating instead of functioning unilaterally. More so, the emphasis lies on sharing data that everyone can use to their own advantage. However, the emergence of inordinate rules and regulations comes in the way of this process. Therefore, the government requires to devise techniques of readapting information and sharing data without jeopardizing security policies. When it comes to infrastructure, every branch can have their own data center within their set-up which has to be shared across processes.

Work Culture and Leadership Principles

Irrespective of the domain—public or private—it is a basic criterion that employees respect each other forgoing personal grudges. Employers must render their officials the prerogative to do their job and trust them to be competent in what they do. It goes without saying that accountability invariably persists in the background.

Roadmap for the Future

Cybersecurity is of paramount importance to us. Teaming up with various private enterprises, we’ve taken ardent initiatives to enlighten the masses with inclusive knowledge on cybersecurity. Apart from this, it is working on talent acquisition— powering the coming generation with adequate skill sets to brace them for job opportunities while retaining extant officials by providing a comfortable work environment with flexible work hours and outstanding support. The county intends to move past old-school methodologies and instead prioritize on digitizing all of its resources at a granular level. With a vision to revolutionize the public sector, Macomb is all buckled up to negotiate and embrace what the future has in store for it.

Citizen Relationship Issue

Civic Innovation Project: Building 21st Century Cities