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The Amazon-ification of Services for Citizens (or the “I Want it Now” Syndrome)

Richard Dresden

Richard Dresden
Senior Vice President

“I want to renew my driver’s license online.”

“I want to report a pothole on my street.”

 “Who is my local representative and where is her office?”

“How do I register a new business?”

“How does my school district compare with others in my state?”

Today, citizens don’t want to call, they don’t want to wait in a line, and they certainly don’t want to click thru hundreds of pages at a desktop: they want it NOW. In a recent study by MeasuringU on state and local government user’s  website experience, about half the respondents reported visiting their state website at least several times a year, with most looking for a specific service, like the DMV, or trying to answer a question. The biggest gripe? Not finding the information they need easily or quickly.

Our state and local citizens demand a wealth of services and information at their fingertips, and high levels of self-service. The disruption brought by mobile computing has reached the public sector and will not be slowed. In fact, it will only accelerate. Citizens expect their state and local governments to offer robust and relevant mobile and online services and information as easily and quickly as if they were ordering a book from Amazon or a t-shirt from Old Navy. This “amazon-ification” of services offers both opportunities and challenges for Public Sector CIOs. It requires cloud first, integrated solutions, yet Public Sector CIOs are still tasked with maintaining and optimizing legacy applications and platforms such as mainframe and data centers.

What keeps Public Sector CIOs up at night? Whenever I talk with them, they tell me they want to deliver a world-class, digital first government experience, but they must often contend with outdated infrastructure, the relentless push to the cloud, budget constraints, skill set limitations, and security and governance requirements, to name a few. They must also manage the expectations of their citizens, their elected officials and their own colleagues about the speed of implementation of services new and old. All while orchestrating innovation, balancing the day-to-day demands of running a sprawling enterprise, and mapping a shared vision for the future.

In my experience, Public Sector CIOs grappling with complex legacy systems see the promise and opportunity of the public cloud, but the actual transition can be expensive and frustrating without the right partner and roadmap. Did you know that about 80% of organizations exceed their cloud budget by 300% in the first three years?

What we have learnt from our client experiences is that the cloud is not a single destination: it’s an array of possibilities, and a process that builds, modernizes and optimizes continuously. It’s why the Ensono Cloud Transform Framework offers a radically different approach. We start small, prove it works and then move onto bigger and more complex things. It’s a repeatable process that offers consistent impact and a best-practices methodology. This allows you to:

-Build quickly

-Achieve quick wins

-Gain a cost-effective advantage

As Public Sector CIOs migrate critical applications to the cloud, they must still maintain and modernize legacy systems and aging mainframes, while facing a dwindling mainframe workforce and high fixed costs.

Our relationship with State of Kansas can help illuminate the benefits of the Cloud Transform Framework. They needed help transforming their IT: their mainframe environment and IT infrastructure had not been upgraded in years. Their immediate need was to outsource their mainframe hosting, but they recognized that they needed a strategic partner that could develop a long-term strategy to address future capacity changes, budget requirements and their aging IT workforce.

Donna Shelite, former Chief Operating Officer for the Kansas Office of Information Technology Services “wanted to reduce costs, improve efficiency and mitigate operational risk while migrating away from the mainframe platform.”

A tailored solution reduced costs and boosted efficiency by providing outsourced mainframe support, day-to-day operational and disaster recovery, while transforming their existing IT infrastructure and consolidating their mainframe environment.

This initiative helped the State of Kansas realize an annual savings of 20% per year, while improving support, reducing operational risk and migrating workloads to the cloud. Travis Combes, from the State of Kansas Office of Information Technology added, “(Kansas…) is not flush with cash. Transformation takes money. Ensono is now running the hardware and managing the services holistically for us. They innovated with us on how we work with our mainframe solution.”

Government enterprises everywhere are undergoing massive digital transformation.

Note: If you are attending the 50th Annual NASCIO Conference (National Association of State Chief Information Officers) in Nashville October 13-19, and would like to meet, please drop me a line at [email protected].

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