My observations from the 2012 Worldwide Government Solutions Forum

This week, I’m attending the 2012 Worldwide Government Solutions Forum (GSF), which officially kicked off yesterday in London, England. The event brings together central, regional, and local government leaders from around the world to discuss some of the most pressing ICT issues facing the public sector today. GSF is also a proving ground for innovative government solutions and emerging technology best practices, providing attendees with a unique opportunity to learn from one another.

This forum is especially critical at a time when many public sector organizations are being constricted by shrinking budgets, while needing to address growing demand for enhanced citizen services. At GSF 2012, governments have come together to share how they are leveraging technology to help strike this delicate balance. 

Two sessions that I’ve attended so far have really stuck out to me. The first was a presentation from Andrea DiMaio, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, on the topic of smart government. I enjoyed hearing an analyst’s perspective on technology adoption in government, and learning how Andrea is seeing a move away from focusing solely on building smart cities to include a greater focus on designing smart governments, looking closer at how cities are run and how government organizations can use the information they have to help citizens. With this in mind, I encourage you to check out a new blog post from my colleague David Burrows, who talks about how governments are finding more effective ways of delivering services by putting the citizen at the center of new technology initiatives.

Another interesting session was led by Liam Maxwell, ICT Futures Programme Director for the UK Cabinet Office. Liam’s presentation discussed how the UK government is moving away from closed systems to drive efficiencies in the public sector. Liam also had an interesting approach to defining the term ‘open’ in open government, pointing out that citizens can define the term and governments can use the term to support their mission.

From attending these and other sessions, it’s clear to me that governments will continue their willingness to invest in technology if they see clear results, even as budgets remain uncertain. In addition, the role of the cloud has become a regular component of every new system and is now an integral part of many government solutions. Public sector organizations understand what the cloud is and the benefits it offers, and the question is now simply what role it will play in their future. Finally, the theme of connected governments was present throughout the event, as many cities discussed their efforts to identify frameworks to become more interconnected.

For me, GSF 2012 has been a valuable opportunity to see how the worldwide public sector community is putting technology into action to achieve real results and make a positive impact on citizens. I encourage you to learn more about the event’s sessions and to attend next year’s forum!

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Joel Cherkis
General Manager, Worldwide Government