One way Web 2.0 social media could help federal, state, and local government.

Posted: February 10, 2009 in Government IT, Internet, knowledgebase, Tallahassee

There are so many ways for government to waste money, but learning a little from social media websites, like Facebook, governmental offices could learn to solve problems through crowd sourcing existing staff from around the nation. The government has a wide range of technologies that it uses from Mainframes to SQL servers to Helpdesk software. Even though government agencies are very diverse, most have core sections (Finance and Accounting, Human Resources, Legal Department, Information Technology, and Specialized Staff found within the different divisions of government) that have similar technology support needs.

Technology Support Needs:

  1. Server Teams:

    1. Email

    2. File Storage

    3. Active Directory

  2. Database Engineers:

    1. SQL

    2. Oracle

    3. DB2

  3. Programmers:

    1. Java

    2. VB

    3. HTML

    4. SQL

  4. Network:

  5. Client Helpdesk Support:

    1. PC support

    2. Phone Helpdesk


With tightening budgets and layoffs, CIO’s are fighting a delicate balance of low staffing and still keeping a high level of customer service to the end users of the technologies they support. One way that could help with this dilemma is to have a social media website for government technology staff to bounce ideas off each other. If you look at websites like Facebook and Twitter, you will see that in today’s world, most questions can be answered by asking your friends online. With government there are issues that arise when looking for answers online. The first is that government has many policies when it comes to privacy. You cannot just ask, “What is the best way to encrypt Health information” to the general public.

Another issue is environment. The public sector has a lot more flexibility when it comes to install applications within a production environment. Purchasing requirements is another issue with government. There are times, which even thought the software you have been recommended will do the exact job you need, you cannot purchase it because of money or the company is not on the government approved vendor list.

Even with all the restriction put on the public sector there is still the opportunity to use the functionality of social media sites to enhance technology support within the government. I purpose that the government build a password protected, Facebook like, site where government employees can discuss issues with others government employees. A good example of where this could really work is within the core technology support areas.

A Government Technology site could not only help solve problems with common issues quicker, it could also save tons of money in time and resources. Let take for example email. This is the life blood of most communications within the public sector. By having 60 or 70 dedicated government email specialist from around the nation all in one group you could solve common issues much faster than calling a vendor for support (although I am not saying get rid of the vendor). Not only could you solve issues faster, but you can also help prevent them by discussing best practices with people that understand the constraints of government.

This only one way to integrate Web 2.0 in to government, there are many other applications that can be used to help organize and solve issues.

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