Unbudgeted expenses, declining tax revenue, business closures, and high unemployment are just a few of the challenges state and local governments have faced since the start of 2020.
The agencies shed nearly 1.2 million jobs between March and July 2020, and it is predicted that state and local income tax revenues will decline 7.5 percent in 2021 and 7.7 percent in 2022. Budget pressures are top of mind for leaders at the state and local level, even as the Treasury Department begins distributing $350 billion in aid.
Citizens’ needs have continued to evolve, with residents expecting a higher caliber of government offerings, including technology services. State and local governments are looking for solutions that deliver these services while continuing operations as cost-effectively as possible.
The Challenge of Delivering Innovation on a Budget
Many state and local governments have cut back spending on infrastructure and other technology programs as they continue to balance budgets and deliver citizen services.
According to recent research from MeriTalk, 80 percent of state and local IT and program managers say their organizations are struggling to balance revenue constraints with the need to invest in innovation.
Further, 84 percent of state and local organizations are making tradeoffs to help bridge funding gaps, including shifting budgetary resources away from operations and maintenance (37 percent), increasing reliance on pandemic-related funding (31 percent), and delaying modernization efforts in order to enable remote work (29 percent).
The Ever-Present Ransomware Threat
While state and local governments need solutions that optimize on both cost and innovation, IT leaders should not minimize the importance of technology solutions with data protection built in.
Ransomware attacks have been on the rise across government agencies. Often, organizations rely on decades-old data centers and storage systems that were deployed before the rise of ransomware, making it difficult or impossible for agencies to recover and use recovered data.
The Benefits of Flexible Technology Platforms
For state and local government agencies, “as a service” solutions offer flexibility and agility while maintaining costs, helping agencies scale up or down without massive disruption to install. These models allow governments to leverage only the digital infrastructure they need at a given time, minimizing the financial burden of unused infrastructure.
With limited budgets, state and local governments can benefit from infrastructure that works with the financial resources they have today, yet remain innovative and agile for the future. State and local agencies must look for solutions that optimize technology’s speed, security, access and reliability.
Leaders must continue to invest in solutions that will propel modernization and advance agency missions for citizens, seeking out IT solutions with flexibility now and beyond.
Summarized from www.statetechmagazine.com