What do public sector leaders need to know about Technology? Lots. Read on.
I was asked recently to submit technology topics for a graduate computer science class that would apply to leadership in the public sector. Hmmm. Sounds like all the stuff I deal with on a daily basis.
Technology is pervasive and invasive. We cannot escape it, or run any business without it (public or private). Leaders in all business units of any public entity should be versed in technology basics as they apply to leadership, at a bare minimum. I’m not talking about the typical “this is an input, this is an output” kind of discussion. I am talking about the broad topics that arise constantly as leaders are conducting business and guiding their organizations.
So for those of you who are involved in leadership development in the public sector, or those who are leaders but are falling behind technologically, here is a list of concentration areas for study. These are all leadership-focused issues that revolve around around technology. These topics are also “hot” issues in public sector information technology. I have presented on all these topics and they are the ones I constantly find organizations struggling with.
Resources? Yes, I know … Perhaps in a future blog post. For now, Google is your friend. There is lots of information out there about these topics.
Technology Investment Management – How to select the right projects for funding and how to achieve a predictable return on investment and advance the goals of the larger organization. Managing the portfolio of projects as opposed to managing a collection of disparate technology efforts. Leadership of investment management happens at every level and in every department of the larger organization. With fewer dollars to invest, it has never been more important to make sure you are investing them wisely. How much should be returned for each dollar invested in technology?
Digital Natives & Digital Immigrants – Technology views and use differ dramatically depending on when you were born. Imagine never knowing a time without smartphones, the internet or digital cameras. How would that change your view of life? Some employees have immigrated to technology, others were born into to as a native culture. Leaders need to understand the culture clash that technology is forcing on us, what happens when immigrants and natives collide and how to use it to the benefit of the organization. BTW, neither immigrant or native is “right”, and both have value to bring to an organization.
Social Media – Creeping into every corner of our lives, Social Media in public service cannot be ignored. How can you meet a citizen on his/her own terms without speaking their technology language? What is Social Media good for, when should it be used in public service. Explore the challenges of Social Media that are specific to public service such as the first amendment, public forums and records retention. Also explore the technologies that enable Social Media and benefits of using it.
Information Security – Technology is everywhere, growing at the rate of Moore’s law and out-growing our ability to control it in many cases. Securing the informational assets of the citizens requires an informed leadership position. Information Security is EVERY leaders responsibility.
Cloud Computing & Next Generation Computing – What is all the buzz here. What is cloud computing, why is it important, what are the public sector challenges to its adoption. Cloud computing is one paradigm shift of many. Take a break and review what is coming next to a computing environment near you. Hint: Be willing to adapt your leadership to make best use of the technology.
Solutions & Project Management – How to apply technology to solve a business problem. Definition of the problem (analysis), review of the solution possibilities, technology selection, execution, project management of the efforts. Leaders need to see this as a repeatable process, and their employees need to know they are invested in the process. Your IT group doesn’t do this? Convince them, get another IT group or do it yourself.
Technology Funding – Methods for financing technology. All these topics mean nothing if you can’t spend some money occasionally on the people, processes and technology. Look at how public financing is different from private enterprise with regards to technology. Capital cycles, funding restrictions, conflicts with certain types of technology and why.