Information technology advances have changed the way we do everything, from listening to music and reading books to connecting with clients and making the world our mobile office. And as these changes have been introduced, they have also influenced the management style of Chief Information Officers (CIOs), shifting their priorities to focus on consumption, data center optimization, cloud computing, information security, mobility, analytics and big data.

In the public sector, the prevalence of cloud and mobile technologies has completely transformed the way CIOs are achieving their goals. One key takeaway from government experiences in IT Consumption (how organizations and individuals purchase and use information technology assets) is that an organization needs to have the flexibility to adapt in order to meet challenges and maximize opportunities presented by this new environment. Add in the challenge of “Shadow IT” practices, and agencies are left asking themselves what is the correct response to IT consumption in our agency?

Based on their individual challenges, City of Raleigh and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) have answered this question for themselves. Here’s a closer look into how they are leading the charge.

Raleigh’s Proactive Approach

As one of the nation’s fastest-growing state capitals, Raleigh, North Carolina is a city that has positioned itself as a leading example of public sector organizational evolution. And it was made possible when the city’s CIO took a new look at IT consumption within the agency and adapted how they conduct business.

As part of that adaption and to capture the value of new technologies like others, Raleigh’s CIO understood two concepts:

  • IT and individual lines of business must work collaboratively; meaning  IT departments should participate in finding proper solutions, with the acknowledgement that if they don’t, Shadow IT practices may occur more frequently.
  • IT departments must adapt and prepare existing infrastructure to facilitate the shift to a new model of IT consumption, ensuring automation processes are in play.

For the city of Raleigh, their IT offices were reformed to align with the current IT consumption environment. Their CIO implemented a strategic plan, a cloud-based project management tool, began working directly with department heads during information sessions and started using a service delivery provider to manage IT functions.  By positioning themselves as a business partner, instead of the group that simply handles operational tasks, Raleigh’s IT center has been able to focus their attention to helping the city become an agency technology champion.

GSA and Google

Discovering they had a duplication of services due to Shadow IT, the United States General Services Administration (GSA) found a solution by streamlining their IT departments and moving their e-mail, document and messaging platforms to the cloud. This proactive move was expected to reduce costs by 50 percent, saving $15 million over a five-year period. The agency’s associate commissioner in the Office of Strategy Innovation understood that the flexible nature of cloud computing would be the solution and subsequently choose Google Apps to power their communications operations.

As a result of these moves, GSA was able to reduce their IT costs and enable employees to securely access applications remotely. Further, their IT department had more bandwidth to work closely with business leaders to address their specialized department needs.  An unexpected benefit from their innovation has been the influence it has had over other government agencies. The GSA now serves as a resource for those agencies that are seeking their own cloud solutions.

Like many industries, those in the public sector must contend with budget restrictions and limited staff while staying capable of responding to the changing IT landscape.  It can be a challenge, but, these two case studies show that agencies of any size can equip themselves to meet the needs of the public that they serve.

For more about how public agencies can navigate today’s IT consumption changes, download our recent report.

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Mike Younkers

Senior Director, Systems Engineering

US Public Sector - Federal