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Tech Insiders Offer Views of What’s Ahead in 2023

Continued focus on cybersecurity, digital transformation and cloud technology — and, ideally, expanded opportunities for smaller businesses — are on the horizon for California gov tech this year, these industry experts say.

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With the dawn of a new year and the release last week of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2023-2024 budget, Industry Insider — California surveyed industry insiders for their predictions for state and local gov tech in the coming year. Herewith is the second round of responses:

Luke Fretwell, chief executive officer, ProudCity
Luke Fretwell.
Luke Fretwell
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California municipalities are waking up to the fact that big gov tech isn’t working for them. It’s too expensive and mediocre, moving further behind the times in meeting modern expectations. Local government leaders are getting smarter about upskilling internal digital operations across all departments and leveraging more specialized, truly integrated technology platforms and products from multiple, best-in-class vendors.

The shift from outsourcing entire digital government operations to a monolithic company will begin in 2023, for California, but also across the United States.

Davood Ghods, government sector lead, Launch Consulting
Davood Ghods.
Davood Ghods
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In 2023, we will continue to see cybersecurity, broadband, cloud, digital and data transformation, digital equity, and future of work to be among the top priorities in government. However, all these efforts will be towards meeting citizen expectations for seamless, secure, personalized and proactive services. The public expects their government to make effective use of technology. So, governments have little choice but to deliver high-quality digital services. Just transferring existing services online will no longer be sufficient. In 2023, public organizations will have to use data and analytics, including AI, to provide real-time insights into the citizen experience and anticipate their needs.

Matt Kernodle, founder and principal, YB Marketing
Matt Kernodle.
Matt Kernodle
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The government of California may wish to consider its hiring practices and how to make government positions including freelance contract positions more attractive to young adults. This could also include procurement processes that may not tap into our so-named “creator economy” and the ever-expanding freelance marketplace.

Recent studies by Next100 and GenForward of young adults ages 18 to 36 with an oversample of Black, Asian, and Latino respondents noted little interest in working for the government that is viewed as out of touch and exclusionary.

“With so many opportunities available in the job market, the contrast between a modernized private sector and a public sector that has failed to pivot, change and respond to rapidly evolving worker expectations is stark.”

This coupled with the “Great Resignation,” in which more than half of all workers in the state and local government sector are considering leaving their jobs, may cause IT projects great delay and possibly make them overpriced and therefore a greater burden to taxpayers.

It may be good sense to reconsider how the government procures, protects itself in these procurements and perhaps redefine an “IT partner” that could include those with often the best costs, fastest delivery, and maybe even the best approach in delivery. This could include adopting notable freelance websites and their sources as resources for these projects — short and long term.

Kevin Matsuo, owner of KDM Consulting Services
Kevin Matsuo.
Kevin Matsuo
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As we enter 2023, I believe a top priority for state government IT leaders should be protecting their organization’s networks, systems, applications and data from cyber attack. State agencies must remain vigilant and go above and beyond when preparing for, preventing, and defending against cyber attacks. Cybersecurity preparedness, risk assessment and mitigation, as well as incident response, are key elements of any business contingency and continuity plan.

Another top priority should be digital transformation. State government IT leaders should stay the course with their digital transformation efforts. In a down economy, IT leaders and the services they provide will become more visible to those they serve. IT leaders who plan for digital transformation across their organization will be in a better position to meet the needs of the organization and its constituents.

IT leaders must be strategic in how they maximize their current IT spend, while at the same time protecting their environments and fostering innovation.
Dennis Noone is Executive Editor of Industry Insider. He is a career journalist, having worked as a reporter and editor at small-town newspapers and major metropolitan dailies in California, Nevada, Texas and Virginia, including as an editor with USA Today in Washington, D.C. He lives in Northern California.