Andrea DiMaio

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Andrea Di Maio
Managing VP
15 years at Gartner
28 years IT industry

Andrea Di Maio is a managing vice president for public sector in Gartner Research, covering government and education. His personal research focus is on digital government strategies strategies, Web 2.0, open government, cloud computing, the business value of IT, smart cities, and the impact of technology on the future of government Read Full Bio

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Are Government IT Professionals Really Honest About Government 2.0?

by Andrea Di Maio  |  October 6, 2010  |  9 Comments

HP recently published a survey about how U.S. government IT professionals are looking at government 2.0 and the use of social media.

Not surprisingly results show that IT professionals are probably ahead of their colleagues in the business in understanding social media. However, the sample also reveals some degree of naivety in how they see the route to government 2.0. A first proof point is that

Respondents feel the best ways to encourage Gov 2.0 at their agency is through management and an increase of the technology budget.

Why should the technology budget be increased? In difficult times, social media can give new ideas about how to make government services sustainable with less money. How many times have we heard that, in order to reduce cost in the business one has to increase the technology budget? This makes sense with gov 1.0, but shouldn’t gov 2.0 offer new ways to do things less expensively also from a technology perspective? If one looks at the success stories around gov 2.0, many are based on the use of less expensive technology in the hands of the business.

Another interesting point is that

A little over half of all respondents feel that their agency understands what Gov 2.0 is, and that their agency puts more effort into implementing Gov 2.0 than other agencies do.

Reading this I am not even sure people understand what they are talking about. What is exactly gov 2.0 and on what ground some people believe they are doing better. Interestingly

Most respondents learn of Gov 2.0 resources and programs available to
government agencies through Web 2.0 companies

So how come they believe they are doing gov 2.0, while they hear about gov 2.0 from web 2.0 companies?

When asked about the main barriers to the adoption of gov 2.0, 40% say “security”, 21% say “lack of budget”, 14% say “lack of technical experise”  and only 8% say “lack of a compelling reason”. While I assume that security is a concern for business people too (although maybe less from an infrastructure and more from an information perspective), I seriously doubt that lack of budget is stronger a reason than the lack of a clear business case.

When asked about benefits, 33% mentioned improved service to the public, 20% citizen participation, 20% collaboration between agencies, 18% transparency, but nobody mentioned efficiency and sustainability.

Even more depressing, the question about how to encourage gov 2.0 showed 31% for management taking the lead, 26% for increasing technology budget and 16% for examples of corporate best practice. The problem is that (1) gov 2.0 works from the bottom up and  management must facilitate but not lead, (2) there is no reason why the technology budget should be increased and (3) government is hugely different from the private sector and several corporate best practices are either irrelevant or even counterproductive. Luckily enough a meager 15% mentioned the need to show value.

I would invite you to take a look at pages 17 to 19 of the survey where respondents were asked to describe an actual or planned gov 2.0 initiative in their agency: they mentioned agency blog, posting videos on YouTube, training, recruitment. Nothing extraordinary, nothing transformative, mostly an additional channel for traditional services. Some listed “setting up web systems” and “making information on web site easier to find”, which confirm how IT professionals are more interested in using these technologies to maintain and increase their footprint in their agencies, rather that to encourage their colleagues in the business do things in very different ways.

I guess that the bottom line of this is that IT professionals should help but not lead government 2.0. Its disruptive potential includes changing the relationship between IT and the business, challenging its current role in the enterprise, actively encourage users experiment with consumer technologies rather than ban or tolerate them. I am sure that the most enlightened CIOs and IT leaders in government get this, but this survey gives reasons for concern.

9 Comments »

Category: web 2.0 in government     Tags:

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Steve Ardire   October 6, 2010 at 8:31 am

    >When asked about benefits, 33% mentioned improved service to the public, 20% citizen participation, 20% collaboration between agencies, 18% transparency, but nobody mentioned efficiency and sustainability.

    Yikes ….and what about effectiveness with enhanced collaboration and communication!

    >I guess that the bottom line of this is that IT professionals should help but not lead government 2.0.

    Pretty much same for enterprise platforms and applications unless you’re just ordering same ole wine in new bottles from big vendors ;)

    >I am sure that the most enlightened CIOs and IT leaders in government get this, but this survey gives reasons for concern.

    I hope so and agree !

  • 2 Tweets that mention Are Government IT Professionals Really Honest About Government 2.0? -- Topsy.com   October 6, 2010 at 8:47 am

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Steve Lunceford, John Moore, Gwynne, Steve Lunceford, Yannis Larios and others. Yannis Larios said: IT professionals should help but not lead government 2.0 http://bit.ly/bgtXmc (via @AndreaDiMaio) #gov20 #opengov #egov [...]

  • 3 Andrew Krzmarzick   October 6, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Hi Andrea – Great post as always. We’ve got a great conversation about the survey on GovLoop (http://bit.ly/gov20now).

    I wanted to respond to a couple of your points based on my read of the survey, understanding of the situation, and feedback on the GovLoop post:

    1 – “…but shouldn’t gov 2.0 offer new ways to do things less expensively also from a technology perspective?”
    >> I agree with you here and say as much in the GovLoop post – social media and the associated *technology* could lead to cost reduction…but if we are to achieve gov 2.0’s goals of greater engagement with the public, then we’re going to need *human* resources to interact with citizens across the new platforms.

    2 – “…gov 2.0 works from the bottom up and management must facilitate but not lead,”
    >> I disagree here. Few agencies have made significant advances on gov 2.0 initiatives without a champion. Name an agency and I’ll tell you the enabling leader who got the ball rolling or blessed the movement. Think Commandant Allen at Coast Guard or Linda Cureton at NASA.

    I don’t think the survey demonstrates naivete of IT professionals as much as it gives us a glimpse of the “state of things” in agencies…and IT professionals are a key group of agency leaders (working in tandem with public affairs, web managers, legal, etc.) who need to be at the table if gov 2.0 adoption will continue to advance.

  • 4 Gartner questiona entendimento sobre Governo 2.0 » Politica na Rede   October 6, 2010 at 10:40 am

    [...] [1] Mais detalhes dos comentários do analista [...]

  • 5 Alan W. Silberberg   October 6, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Andrea,
    Very interesting piece. It goes to the heart of the question of what is Gov 2.0? This study and your analysis of it shows very clearly it is not a cut and dry case that can be applied across the board. I constantly counsel people to look at the whole situation within their department/agency/contract vehicles. What works for the U.S. Defense Department may not work for the EU Parliament. Some contractors are certainly pushing for larger budgets, but that is a semi-permanent part of contracting anywhere. The points you make are important to understand in another way: The emphasis on tech and IT is only one part of the puzzle. Consistent training, cross-learning and a use of all of the above are key. We cannot rely on one piece of the puzzle to make Government 2.0 really work. Like the way we all use technology, the overall situation has to be looked at more organically, taking in the whole to make the small decisions.

  • 6 John F Moore   October 6, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Great post, thanks for sharing these statistics and your insights.

    Interesting, there is definitely a great deal of confusion around government 2.0 and too many people consider it to be a pure technology play using web 2.0 tools. Unfortunately, there is nothing earth shattering that comes from this viewpoint.

    When I define government 2.0 I say it is focused entirely on achieving goals through increased efficiency, better management, information transparency, and citizen engagement and most often leverages newer technologies to achieve the desired outcomes….

    While change is often driven from the bottom of the organization it must be structured in a way that remains focused on achieving organizational goals. Goal oriented strategies must come from managers/leaders first and then employee driven tactics follow.

    John F Moore

  • 7 Darron Passlow   October 6, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Andrea
    It is all about innovation to drive change.
    Unfortunately there is a sad lack of innovative thinking (practices) in most government bodies I have come in contact with.
    Implementing good ideas (the Toyota way) is driven from bottom up and supported by top down.
    Regards

  • 8 Steve Ressler: New Snapshot of Gov 2.0′s Evolution | Super Hot Topics   October 8, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    [...] analyst Andrea DiMaio reviewed the survey and surmised that it “reveals some degree of naivety in how [IT professionals] see the route [...]

  • 9 Steve Ressler: New Snapshot of Gov 2.0′s Evolution | World Press!   October 9, 2010 at 5:39 am

    [...] analyst Andrea DiMaio reviewed the survey and surmised that it “reveals some degree of naivety in how [IT professionals] see the route [...]