What’s the opportunity in the cloud?

October 18, 2021 by Meredith Trimble

What’s the opportunity in the cloud?

The sudden tech shifts brought about by the coronavirus pandemic created a unique moment of revelation for the public sector. In government agencies and departments at all levels, familiar, in-person workflows transitioned to web-based cloud solutions that enabled remote work and facilitated virtual services. This technology created internal efficiencies and connected government to new partners and the public in beneficial ways. To harness this momentum, government leaders must examine how these solutions can continue to make operations smarter and more sustainable. They must ask, “How can the benefits of mobility, online engagement, and remote citizen interaction continue to evolve and drive communities forward?”

Harnessing Momentum

At present, the public sector is tasked with managing unforeseen technology momentum and strategizing around smart relief fund investment while still navigating public health and other political and societal challenges. The good news is governments can — and already are — using this changing, challenging context as a springboard for future stability. Tyler’s newest resource, “An Industry Journey: Transformation and Opportunity in the Cloud,” explores important areas of opportunity that come from public sector’s current challenges and discusses why the cloud is the key to leveraging this moment for long-term success. Following is a look at why government leaders should harness the momentum of pandemic-accelerated technology to continue to realize measurable results well into the future.

Moving Forward, Better

With creative, innovative uses of technology newly in play and new funding sources to support recovery efforts, leaders are looking for ways to make strategic investments and optimize resources. These investments help elected officials and professional staff leaders leverage this unique moment of opportunity to improve equity, enhance security, and find and deliver real solutions to community issues.

  • Improve equity. Successful communities are ones in which all needs are met. And communities in which all voices are heard benefit from smarter policy decisions. New and creative ways to break down barriers and create more accessible government, particularly through self-service opportunities, can result in more equitable communities.
  • Enhance security. A recent security report noted cyberattacks on state and local governments are up 50% in the last three years. Extended work from home has increased cybersecurity risks. To stay ahead of the evolving threat landscape, having superior threat management, disaster recovery capabilities, automated backups, and server redundancy are critical. System flexibility and resiliency ensure an incident only causes a minor interruption to business-as-usual, not a full-scale suspension of operations.
  • Find and deliver solutions to community issues. Moving forward, data must be an integral part of a government’s operations. Breaking down silos and surfacing relevant data supports smarter decisions and delivers better department and community outcomes. Whether it’s finance, tax, permitting and licensing, or public safety, courts, justice partners, and school systems, data ties it all together and creates the connections that solve problems. Further, finding ways to integrate internal data with relevant third-party data empowers leaders with insights they need for a complete picture of the challenge they seek to overcome. This results in better policy, more effective resource allocation, and measurable results.

Advances in these areas are already happening in jurisdictions across the country. Relevant, scalable examples include:

  • The Oregon Judicial Department helps self-represented litigants navigate complex court processes and fill out forms correctly on their own with a web-based platform that simplifies documents into plain-language questions.
  • The Los Angeles Superior Court uses a cloud-based online dispute resolution tool to help co-parents create parenting plans without having to hire a lawyer, find childcare, take time off from work, or travel to a courthouse.
  • The Wisconsin Department of Health Services uses a cloud-hosted case management system for its IRIS (Include, Respect, I Self-Direct) Waiver program serving more than 22,000 seniors and individuals with disabilities. The system provides users with a way to manage their own benefits, directing their care and retaining agency over their health while at home or in another care setting.
  • Rockdale County, Georgia, overcame network outages and two security incidents by migrating its solutions to the cloud for enhanced data security and continuity of operations.
  • The City of Chattanooga, Tennessee, uses an enterprise cloud solution to maximize its data for better service. Analyzing incoming calls to the fire department, for example, showed most calls were requests for medical assistance. This insight led to a partnership with a local agency to check on frequent callers, which saved fire department resources while enhancing service. The open data portal supported by the solution also helps the city measure and track equity and transparency efforts, including through a policing and racial equity dashboard.
  • Fulton County, Georgia, uses an enterprise data platform to connect and share data across criminal justice, courts, and behavioral health systems. This helps leaders examine each aspect of the continuum of care — pre-arrest, housing, court collaboration, medical treatment, and re-entry — to increase community safety and reduce recidivism.

The commonality in the above examples is the use of cloud-enabled technologies. Cloud-based technology solutions like these help governments enhance operations, become more agile and secure, improve service, and solve problems.
Leveraging events such as the pandemic to drive modern technology adoption, including accelerating moves to the cloud, opens a new window for public sector leaders. Combined with increased public demand for digital services and new funding sources, governments would be wise to seize the moment and include the cloud in their long-term technology strategies.

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