Small Area, Small Problems? Not the Case with State and Local Governments

The operating challenges around budgets, resources, and legacy technology we see at the Federal level are amplified at the state and local level. Just because these groups are responsible for a smaller population does not mean their problems are smaller. On the contrary, historically low staffing levels and a geographically-limited pool of talent feed into the core challenges that all government teams face.

Security - Securing systems and the data that lives on those networks is now seen as a focus beyond IT. Everyone plays a role in cybersecurity, and there is a real need to update systems and processes as well as educate users.

Innovation - Since teams are so busy with day-to-day operations, stepping back to foster innovation can be difficult.  Many are finding ways to make the transformation work. In fact, some of the most innovative public sector programs are happening on the local level.

Managing change - Communication is key in implementing change within small, tight-knit teams. Participation in decision making ensures that new solutions meet the needs of the workforce as well as the citizens.

Finding time for training - All of the challenges above feed into an inability to make time for training and education to keep up with the rapidly evolving technology field.

Luckily, state and local teams see the need to prioritize ongoing learning to solve the other challenges they face. A recent survey from Market Connections looked at how state and local officials use content from industry as compared to their federal counterparts. State and local respondents said that the most valuable content they receive is research reports and white papers while their Federal counterparts most preferred product demos. This shows state and locals have a thirst for information and education. In a related finding, state and local respondents showed they have a higher tolerance for longer content (podcasts, webinars, whitepapers) than their Federal counterparts.

To help the state and local market further, we've pulled together a list of some events that speak directly to implementing innovative change on the local level.

Digital Government Summit (multiple dates and locations) - Organized by Government Technology magazine, this event series gathers public sector and private sector leaders to create an agenda that is relevant and actionable to the state and local government organizations attending each particular summit.

NACCHO Annual Conference (July 9-11, 2019; Orlando, FL) - This event addresses the needs and concerns of local health officials. It is a learning and networking opportunity for local health officials and their public health partners from all across the country to share perspectives and engage in dialogue on common key public health practice issues.

Summit on Infrastructure (July 30-31, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA) - Three-quarters of infrastructure investments occur at the state and local level. Governing magazine is bringing together the public sector leaders experimenting with cutting-edge, performance-based infrastructure projects at the Summit. Topics include Mobility & Transportation, Water Conservation, Federal Infrastructure Plans, and Financing & Funding.

NCSL Legislative Summit (August 5-8, 2019; Nashville, TN) - This annual event of the National Conference of State Legislatures brings together thousands of attendees to discuss a wide range of topics from policy to cybersecurity to healthcare.

NASTD Annual Conference (August 18-22, 2019; Indianapolis, IN) -- NASTD represents information technology professionals from the 50 states that play a strategic role in planning and shaping state government technology infrastructures and policies. This year's theme is, "The Crossroads of Technology."

Fall 2019 IPSA Symposium (September 18-19, 2019; Alexandria, VA) -- This educational training event is for all first responders, allied emergency responders, government officials and communities of practice. Attendees will hear about best practices, lessons learned and resources that exist to aid short-term and long-term disaster recovery. This symposium will shed light on available resources and ideas to consider as new strategies for rebuilding communities after disaster.

Smart Cities Connect Fall Conference and Expo (October 8-9, 2019; National Harbor, MD) - This event highlights smart city innovation in North America. The agenda is designed with a keen focus on city leaders and their priorities. Working closely with the technology community, it brings together the largest collection of intelligent systems providers for energy, infrastructure, networks, data management, urban mobility, citizen engagement and governance solutions.

What are your picks for education and networking among state and local teams? Comment below and share which areas you are working to innovate despite the challenges state and local government are facing.

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