My colleague Norm Jacknis (former CIO of Westchester County, New York) passed along a list of CIO concerns for 2013 that was prepared by Alan Shark of Public Technology Institute, a nonprofit that provides technology guidance to local government. The list for cities and counties included:

1. Big Data (Smart City)

2. Consolidation

3. GIS as centerpiece for strategic decision making

4. Mobility and broadband deployment

5. Cyber and network security

6. Cloud-based solutions

7. Legacy/modernization, RFP

8. Unified citizen engagement (311, social media)

9. Consumerization of technology (BYOD)

10. Shared services (across all jurisdictions)

What would you add or subtract?

I’d want to expand on a few of these items to include another emerging issue for CIOs and other government leaders: getting cities to embrace cloud and networking tools – while moving their urban economies forward.

Well, there’s good news to report on that overarching concern. There are several opportunities to learn more about how cities can embrace technology for economic growth:

These forums, and others, can provide essential context and information for governments looking to take charge of their economic development by harnessing technology and cloud capabilities – but as an enhancement to local wares (such as raw materials or railroads) that remain the backbone of cities and metropolitan areas. ICT has systematically increased productivity and supported economic growth across both developed and developing countries.


Connecting this railroad to a multisystem cloud network would allow it to transmit data to people and other machines, becoming observable, controllable, automated, and secure – and all achieved remotely, via cloud management.

Comprehensive digital network infrastructure can connect companies and people, increase productivity, and, perhaps most important, may be cheaper and more efficient than conventional, massive infrastructure, such as new roads. The great thing about ICT is that it breeds innovation. An investment in the network doesn’t just improve the public sector – the positive impacts spill over into education, healthcare, security, and so many other realms.

As the world becomes more connected, we are witnessing the emergence of “Big Data.” These are the mountains of data coming out of all these digital interactions, which can then be collected, sifted, mined, and analyzed to provide “raw” data material for new inventions across many industries.


The Internet of Things is already here. As more and more objects become connected to one another, they produce huge amounts of data. This information can be collected and analyzed to allow people to make better, more informed decisions. Sources: Cisco IBSG, 2006–2011; Cisco VNI, June 2011; Technorati; Radicati Group; IDC; The Economist; Apple; InformationWeek.

A transition to a more connected world is difficult. It profoundly affects everyone by challenging the status quo and creating exposure to new complex risks. But incorporating ICT into local governments and communities also offers the possibility of transforming the public sector, changing the role of government, and enabling citizens to be more actively involved in shaping their community. And ultimately, people need to be successful enough to generate taxes, create jobs, and generally contribute to a prosperous economy. I firmly believe that ICT and the cloud network can help accomplish this. What are your thoughts?

And stay tuned to the Cisco Government blog for the next installment of the cloud for local government blog series or click here to register and reserve your copy of the complete compilation of the blog series, including this blog as well as a variety of cloud resources, which will be available in May

To read this blog in Spanish, click here.  For Portuguese, click here.


Gordon Feller

Director, Urban Innovations, Public Sector Practice Internet Business Solutions Group

Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG)