If you never hear the C-word again, it will be too soon, but COVID-19 continues to impact all aspects of state, county and city government, not the least of which is IT.
No doubt the pandemic upended your agencies five-year strategic IT plans, forcing you to reprioritize to support remote work in the early days of the crisis. Now that states, counties and cities are opening up again, your agency must reassess decisions made and technology deployed in haste.
But don’t plan on returning to the pre-pandemic status quo. For better or worse, the vulnerabilities of your agencies aging infrastructure have been exposed and you’ve deployed new technology solutions to fill the breach. Now, you’ll need to revise your plans once again with the “next normal” in mind.
“Understanding their next-normal priorities will be important [for government IT leaders] as the post-COVID-19 recovery takes shape,” wrote researchers from the Center for Digital Government in their report, “Navigating the Next Normal: A Resource Guide for State and Local IT Leaders During the Covid-19 Recovery and Beyond.” “Wrapping technologies around legacy business practices is never a good option. Reassessing business priorities allows for the right technologies to be implemented for the right solutions.”
IT Priorities Center on Business Continuity
While IT leaders must tech-enable their agency’s specific business priorities, business continuity will be a common objective as in the following scenarios:
While work from home was a rarity in the public sector before the pandemic, the Center for Digital Government expects hybrid work models – with employees in the office and working remotely – will become commonplace following the crisis to ensure that critical government services continue.
To enable hybrid work, agencies will look to cloud communications like Granite’s Hosted PBX, which allow employees to use the agency phone system from their Internet-enabled desktop, laptop or mobile phone. Similarly, Granite’s Cloud Contact Center lets call center agents make and take calls from the office or home with all training and reporting capabilities intact.
Similarly, government services, which are by definition “essential,” must be always on. That’s why IT leaders are understandably hyper-focused on network uptime. In their case, downtime doesn’t just cut into a business’ margins; it can cut lifelines to community residents.
To ensure network uptime, IT leaders are looking for resilient networks like Granite’s Built-to-Order Software-defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) that has options for automatic failover or dynamic multipath optimization across two or more diverse circuits.
Of all the reasons for downtime – from natural disasters to human error -- security breaches are increasingly the culprit, bringing networks and businesses to a grinding halt with ransomware demands, DDoS attacks, phishing scams and malware of every stripe.
To tackle security issues, state and local agencies need to consider managed security like Granite Guardian Managed Detection & Response (MDR) solution, which combines intrusion detection and threat hunting with rapid incident response by expert security analysts and 24/7/365 Security Operations Center (SOC) support.
IT is Essential to Essential Agencies
Since the pandemic, IT’s role in government has come front and center. And it’s finally getting the respect it deserves.
As is often the case, your reward for a job well done is being asked to do more of it. And, with less – less technology and less talent. With public coffers strained more than ever due to demand and shrinking tax base, policymakers will be hard-pressed to fill your budget requests.
Fortunately, vendor partners like Granite can step into the gap with creative solutions, such as:
- Managed Services – Granite offers managed communications, connectivity and security, so you can get the services you need without having to recruit, train or retain skilled employees.
- End-to-End Solutions – Granite offers solutions across WAN and LAN, voice and data, enabling you to reduce sourcing and vendor management costs.
- Consolidated Support and Billing – Granite combines all services under one account and one invoice so that you have a single point of contact for support and eliminate the overhead of managing multiple bills.
- Cooperative Contracts – Granite has made it easier and faster for public sector entities to work with Granite through a cooperative contract (Region 4 ESC contract #R200901) available through OMNIA Partners.
“Partners are necessary for governments to be successful in the next normal,” notes the Center for Digital Government white paper. “Building lasting relationships takes great effort on all parties to be creative, innovative and dedicated to shortening procurement cycles while providing best practice solutions.”
About Granite and OMNIA Partners
Granite Telecommunications products are available to participants of OMNIA Partners through competitively solicited, publicly awarded cooperative contracts. Granite collection of offerings include, Unified Communications as a Service. To view the entire OMNIA Partners contract portfolio, click here.