My last blog entry, Cloud Technology should not be Scary for Local Governments , discussed how technology can be used to improve efficiency and transparency for its residents. One of the topics I touched on in the blog entry was the impact of the local government political environment on the implementation of new technology.

For this to be successful, the political environment needs to change. We need to realize we now live in a very connected world. With that said, it is also important that the politicians realize social media and technology can used to share critical data with citizens.

Here are four critical thoughts on how we move forward:

  1. Since many board members do not have a technology background, they should get educated on the potential of using Cloud technologies to improve services.
  2. Realize that short-term tactical investments in new technology are required to create long-term government efficiencies and reduce costs.
  3. Understand that communication is best as person to person, not government to community.

Also, industry has a shared responsibility in creating a partnership between industry and local government.

  1. Create training on Cloud technology and its anticipated uses for public officials.
  2. Develop successful technology case studies that demonstrate how to create government efficiencies and lower costs.

How would this work?  For example, in my home state of Pennsylvania, the Lehigh Valley Chamber would partner with Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) should expand training programs to educate our public officials in new technology.

For example, they would develop a case study where emergency personnel use Cloud technology to share information between the fire, police departments, and local elected officials during local declared emergencies. The Chamber can also advise on how to use Twitter to alert residents about road closures or to declare a snow emergency during a big snow storm. Twitter can also be used to allow residents to share ideas on how to improve local services on the local municipality websites.

To improve the business environment, the partnership should use online videos to showcase potential development locations. This approach can show how to improve communication between developers and local governments.  The partnership can also show how online video conference meetings with potential clients can improve the success rate of attracting new business opportunities for communities.

The use of new technology is important for local governments to improve communications, improve transparency and reduce the cost of government to our taxpayers.

What do you think?  How can local and state governments connect more with their citizens using technology like social media, video and more?  Can you mention some specific examples where you see good progress being made?  We look forward to hearing from you.
Editor note: David Billings is an AT&T Enterprise Networking Product Director and a Forks Township Supervisor in Forks, PA