Summary of the GovLoop Technology Council Austin GovUp GovLoop, 734 15th St. NW, Suite 500 Washington, D.C. 20005
Overview of the GovLoop Austin GovUp Every year GovLoop hosts various “GovUps” across the country, to connect and share best practices among public sector professionals. Our latest stop was in Austin, Texas, in which we gathered to discuss three of the top technology trends in government. Our session focused on social media, mobile, and cloud technology. The event was not only a great chance for government employees to connect through a face to face networking event, but also by attending the GovUp, attendees were awarded two continuing education credits through a partnership with the Texas Department of Information Resources.
GovLoop’s mission is simple: connect government to improve government. We aim to inspire public sector professionals by acting as the knowledge network for government. GovLoop serves more than 50,000 members by helping them to foster collaboration, learn from each other, solve problems and advance in their government careers. The GovLoop community has been widely recognized across the public sector -- federal, state local, industry and academia -- as a leading site for addressing public sector issues. GovLoop is the largest government niche network of its kind and boasts an extremely engaged membership that create or comment on nearly 1,000 blog posts and discussion forums every month.
The GovLoop Technology Solutions Council was the sponsor of the GovUp. The Technology Solutions Council is a partnership between private sector companies and GovLoop. The GovLoop Technology Council focuses on researching, collaborating and enhancing technological solutions, processes and services for public sector professionals. The Austin GovUp was sponsored by the following organizations: CenturyLink, Cisco, Google, GovDelivery, HP, Microsoft and Oracle. The GovLoop team thanks our partners for their support, and for allowing us to host this great event for nearly 50 government employees at the state, local, and federal level. GovLoop would also like to thank our speakers: t t t t t
Jon Lee: E-Gov Business Analyst, Texas Department of Information Resources Angela Newell: Research and Strategy Management Coordinator, Information Technology Services, The University of Texas at Austin Steven Polunsky: Director of the Texas Senate Committee on Business and Commerce Larry Schooler: Community Engagement Mediator, City of Austin Steve Ressler: Founder, GovLoop (moderator)
Below we have provided an overview of the content covered during the sessions. If you are interested in more information about GovUps, please feel free to reach out to GovLoop at email@example.com.
The GovLoop Technology Solutions Council is a partnership between private sector companies and GovLoop. The GovLoop Technology Council focuses on researching, collaborating and enhancing technological solutions, processes and services for public sector professionals The Austin GovUp was sponsored by the following partners:
/Austin GovUp Trend 1: Mobility in Government Mobility is a growing trend in the government space. With the proliferation of devices that enable citizens to interact with government in a mobile environment, citizens are placing a higher demand on government to develop mobile applications. Our panelist identified many key elements of the mobile trend and provided expert insights to the factors shaping mobility in government. During the interactive sessions, our panelists provided advice on how to remove roadblocks and considerations to make while developing mobile applications. In order to remove some roadblocks, the panelist advised attendees to use case studies and collaborate with agencies that have already embraced mobile technology. By identifying case studies and working with agencies that have embraced mobility, the panelists identified that an agency can learn best practices, understand future obstacles and how to mitigate those effects. “As thinking about your business case, think about security the entire time and what you want and are willing to do,” stated Panelist member, Angela Newell. Another consideration that the panelists expressed is to use data to understand what kind of people want to access information in a mobile environment. Jon Lee stated, “When it comes to something mobile, your users are not always after your mission critical program areas.” This is an important consideration and is critical for an agency to consider, as government must be providing services that citizens are demanding. An example is that citizens will not likely want to renew their license on a
mobile app, but would desire to pay parking meters on their smartphones. Panel member Steven Polunsky advised to address the digital divide question up front “We turned it around, we said we are enabling people to act, people who would typically not take advantage of services, we believe this is another way to reach more people and empower our citizens.” Larry Schooler followed up with a great insight about mobility and the digitial divide, although there has been expansive consumerization of mobile technology, not everyone has access to the internet. “Everyone thinks of a kind of mobile phone that connects to the internet – I don’t. I think of it as everyone has a cell phone, but not everyone has internet access.” Larry advised that there are ways to reach citizens on mobile without the need to connect to the internet, such as texts message and always available phone lines. Lessons Learned: Mobility t Mobile Can Be Done Absent Smartphones t Collaborate With Other Agencies t Pay Attention to Digital Divide t
Make Proper Security Arrangements
t Ask What Services to Be Performed Mobile t Make Your Business Case
Trend 2: Social Media Social media continues to dominate communications strategies within government. As new platforms start to emerge, and citizens start to use more social applications in their personal lives, government agencies begin to explore how they can leverage new and emerging tools to improve citizen engagement. Larry Schooler stated, “I can’t do my job in public participation if I don’t show that I am listening to what the public is saying.” Larry is alluding to the challenge that government agencies need to efficiently extract knowledge and use engagement to impact policy and decision making within government. Lessons Learned: Social Media tEvery Agency Has Unique Challenges tMap Your Social Strategy to Agency Goals tSharing of Information is Key tCitizens Need to See Impact of Their Engagement
At the Texas Department of Information Resources, Jon Lee is working on creating a social media kit that is comprehensive enough to help State of Texas communications professionals, but is not a strict mandate on how agencies should use social media. Jon states, “It is very difficult to make a tool kit that is relevant for everyone across the board.” Jon Lee made an extremely important comment to those engaged in a social media plan, “It’s not just the technology piece, the technology is very simple. What’s tricky is putting together a package that is actually delivering business value for the organization, so you are not doing it for the sake of doing it. It is all about the customers, and often, the customer is agency employees.” Steven Polunsky provided some insights about social media at the Texas Senate Committee on Business and Commerce, Steven noted, “Our goal is to make government more transparent, and to make the government experience more interactive for citizens.”
/Austin GovUp Trend 3: Cloud Technologies Cloud computing has been implemented by dozens of agencies at the state, local and federal level. With so many agencies making the move to the cloud, it is important that government officials continue to measure the impact of cloud, share success stories, and continue to use the cloud to optimize government services. Angela Newell noted that one of the driving motivations to use a cloud service was so that people can access information from various platforms, various locations and using different devices. During this portion of the discussion, Angela provided an important insight as to why the public sector needs to continue to adopt cloud technologies. As the public sector workforce begins to change with the looming retirement of the baby
boomer generation, young employees will have the expectation that they can perform their work using cloud based services. Angela states, “You will have market entrants using this technology, and expect you to use them too.” In order to recruit the best and brightest to the public sector and become competitive with the private and non-profit sector, the public sector will need to continue to adopt cloud based technologies. Lessons Learned: Cloud Technologies t Significant Cost Savings from Cloud Technology t Important to Use Cloud to Attract Top Talent t Increased Demand for Accessibility Across Platforms
How Do You Bring Change Into Agencies? Our panelists wrapped up the conversation by addressing some of the challenges faced when bringing change into an organization. Angela Newell kicked of the discussion by asserting, “Expertise around technology happens in your own organization, technology is about people and who use it, and how you can best serve your organizations needs.” Angela expressed the importance of receiving shared buy-in, being transparent, engaging key stakeholders and capturing data through the process of change. Angela also expressed the power of reverse mentorship programs. She shared stories of numerous University of Texas Professors being mentored by students on new and emerging technologies. Students advised professors as to how they can best leverage technology in the classroom. Steven Polunsky also provided some insights on how to manage culture change for government employees. Steven reminded us that there are a lot of great resources currently available on change management, and that government employees should strongly consider taking advantage. He also stated, “Have your case made and know what you want to do and be prepared, if you are passionate about what you are doing and can make the case for it – there are people who will follow.” Jon Lee and Larry Schooler also provided some insightful tips for attendees. Jon stated, “Really develop your business cases and know what you really want to do, your main driver shouldn’t be doing it to just to do, be sure to align to program goals.” Larry continued by stating, “Don’t do change in a vacuum – get the right players involved, gather support of key stakeholders.”
“Expertise around technology happens in your own organization, technology is about people and who use it, and how you can best serve your organizations needs.” - Angela Newell at the Austin GovUp
Lessons Learned: Managing Change t Expertise Lies Within Your Agency t Leverage Available Resources t Try Mentor and Reverse Mentorship Programs t People Follow Passion t Don’t Do Change in a Vaccuum t Incorporate Key Stakeholders