May 2019 SLED Analysis: Technology Trends in Smarter Government
GovWin’s research staff of more than 100 federal and state, local, and education (SLED) market analysts provide in-depth research reports, timely articles, webinars, presentations, and consultations to help clients build business development plans and navigate the government market effectively.
In this month’s feature we present highlights from an article on technology trends that are leading to smarter government agencies. The full version of that article, featuring an interview with Dr. Alan Shark, Executive Director of the Public Technology Institute, was included in GovWin’s recent research report, the State and Local Procurement Snapshot for Q1 2019.
State & Local Procurement Snapshot – Q1 2019
GovWin: Often lists of top technology areas rated by CIOs in SLED government changes very little from year to year. Thinking of that standard list as well as other emerging areas, what do you see as the most interesting trends we should be watching?
Dr. Alan Shark: Most questions poised to CIOs are merely a list of known issues and leaves little room to better understand some of the newer technology/policy issues. While cybersecurity will most likely top everyone’s list for many years to come, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, and smart government applications are certainly capturing a lot of attention too.
GovWin: We’ve noticed that cybersecurity has managed to stay at the top of tech priorities and we’ve detected a rise in the volume of related bidding opportunities. Normally, when you’re in a mature phase of a trend, the demand starts to level out, not continue to climb. Can you provide any insights?
Shark: I’m not sure I would agree that state and local governments are in “the mature phase” and from my viewpoint we have a long way to go. Local governments in particular are still dealing with outdated systems that are costly to maintain and require even more adaptions to keep them functioning. The other factor that may account for the growing cybersecurity-related products and services is that local governments are always playing catch-up and all too often fail to gain the support of public mangers to go beyond the immediate need. A second reason is that cyber risk is growing faster and is more pernicious, providing the “bad-guys” the advantage of surprise and time.
GovWin: When it comes to SLED governments leveraging data and analytics, what are some of the newer developments you’re seeing?
Shark: Well there is a reason why we are seeing “data scientists” as one of the fastest growing positions in local government. Open data was merely the first - but significant step. But once public managers began to understand the value of big data as it relates to a more rational, data-driven decision-making process, the interest and practice has taken off in all quarters of the SLED universe. Newer public managers, more familiar with how big data can be curated and utilized, are entering the workforce in record numbers. And because they are more comfortable with technology than their predecessors, they are able to tap into data resources by knowing what to look for and ask.
GovWin: How has the Smart Cities movement affected priorities for spending on different types of technology in SLED government?
Shark: Spending for smart applications is up and will continue to grow in many significant ways. Without going into any detail - the areas of growth will be:
- Public transport (includes autonomous vehicles and delivery services)
- Public safety
- Citizen (student/parent) engagement and outreach
- Healthcare; including telemedicine, and electronic record portability
- Digital infrastructure (includes broadband, other forms of connectivity and accessibility)
- Digital services delivery
- Big and open data visualization
- Artificial intelligence
GovWin: There is a perception that Smart Cities is really all about the biggest or most respected technology companies willing to partner with governments and offer deep expertise. As the Smart Cities movement expands, how would you describe the opportunity for smaller to midsized vendors and suppliers?
Shark: I agree with the perception but strongly disagree with the implied outcome. Yes, larger well-known companies have the advantage of offering a more holistic approach towards smarter city solutions, but at the same time, I firmly believe some of the best innovative solutions come from smaller and more focused vendors. The choice should not be one or the other but instead to encourage a more robust bidding process that emphasizes multivendor packages and solutions. It’s all about teamwork and when possible, vendors should seek cross-departmental platforms and solutions. One needs to recognize that being a large player trying to do everything well yourself can be just as much of a weakness as being a smaller firm with a narrow product set. My advice to smaller companies is to find ways to team with the larger ones and for large companies to seek out targeted solutions (smaller vendors) that integrate well with the proposed solution.
Interested in reading the full special feature from Dr. Alan Shark, plus a comprehensive look at the key takeaways, trends, and market developments from Q1 2019? Download your free copy of the State and Local Procurement Snapshot for Q1 2019. Or to read more of the analysis produced by both our SLED and Federal Market Analysis teams, simply click on this link.
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