Data Insights & Analytics

New Survey Uncovers Increased Urgency for Digital Transformation Among Government Leaders

May 2, 2023

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A new survey released by the Center for Digital Government (CDG) reveals that state and local governments are investing in new technology as the need for operational efficiency reaches an all-time high. Only 13% of respondents believe they have made substantial investments in modernizing operations but more than half (56%) will upgrade their technology solutions by 2025. 

CDG surveyed 100 state and local government leaders about today's biggest challenges, priorities, and areas they are investing in. Findings suggest state and local government leaders view technology as key to addressing improvements in efficiency, rising constituent expectations, and pressing climate priorities. Today, government leaders are investing in technology like Samsara to modernize their operations, increase efficiency, and maximize taxpayer dollars—while making progress towards long-term sustainability goals.

Read on to see the survey's most interesting findings—or view the full report here.

Tech investments see upswing as leaders face new challenges

The new CDG survey revealed multiple factors that are increasing the pressure on government leaders to modernize their operations:

  • Rise in severe weather and natural disasters is driving new urgency to modernize government operations through technology: Nearly half of respondents (45%) say a rise in natural disasters and severe weather has increased the need for technology investments.

  • Constituent demands are also forcing the public sector to modernize: Respondents report rising expectations from constituents to improve service reliability (66%), provide real-time updates (55%), and decrease their environmental impact (39%).

  • As these demands on government services have increased, there is a clear need to increase efficiency: 72% say operational efficiency is the top driver to modernize their operations, while 50% say cost savings and financial health is a top driver.

  • There is still a lot of opportunity to modernize physical operations: 40% of respondents have no plans or haven’t implemented any emerging technologies, such as AI or automation, to improve physical operations—but over half (56%) of government leaders say they are upgrading their technology solutions within the next three years.

Government leaders sharpen focus on efficiency and sustainability

U.S. state and local government IT spending is forecast to total $137 billion in 2023. With such a high IT expenditure, what technology are government leaders investing in—and how will these investments move the needle on their top priorities?

  • AI and automation are top of mind: Nearly half (49%) are currently implementing or planning to implement by 2025.

  • These technology investments will drive workforce enablement and productivity: As the demands of the workforce evolve, respondents cite a need to invest in communication and collaboration tools (52%), mobile devices or apps to support remote work (48%), and expanded access to data and analytics (43%).

  • Transformation is the ticket to meeting sustainability goals: At the same time, government leaders are zeroing in on creating a more sustainable future with technology solutions as an enabler. 84% of respondents said their organization has sustainability goals, and 67% say digital transformation is important to meeting those goals. 44% say reducing paper waste by digitizing paper-based processes is the most common investment they are making this year. Nearly 1 in 3 (31%) are also planning to invest in fleet electrification.

  • Initial investments show promise but there’s room for growth, as government leaders are only at the beginning of this journey of digital transformation: 72% have made some investments to modernize physical operations but only 13% believe their investments are substantial. 59% of government leaders say lack of funding is the top barrier that organizations face in using technology to modernize physical operations, while 56% cite IT staff shortages and skills as barriers and 30% cite outdated technologies.

How the City of Syracuse leverages digital technology to streamline their operations

One example of how state and local governments are modernizing their operations through digital technology is the City of Syracuse, New York. Syracuse is one of the snowiest cities in America, receiving on average 104 inches of snow each year. To ensure their streets are safe during the winter, their Department of Public Works (DPW) manages a fleet of 1,000 vehicles, including more than 150 vehicles used for snow removal.

Without the ability to digitally track the location and status of their fleet, neither the Department of Public Works (DPW) nor the public had visibility into which roads had recently been serviced and which roads had not. As a result, they were overwhelmed by a massive volume of constituent calls seeking answers around unplowed roads. By leveraging technology such as Samsara’s Connected Operations Cloud, the DPW team now has real-time video visibility into snowplow location and activity, all within a single pane of glass on the Samsara Dashboard—making route planning and service execution hyper-efficient. Now, the city can easily and accurately investigate constituent concerns and exonerate drivers from false property damage claims.

The City of Syracuse experienced tremendous time-savings and saw a stark 30% decrease in constituent calls about snowplow service as a result of this technology investment. Their exemplary service has not gone unnoticed—by leveraging Samsara to streamline their snow operations and beyond, the International Data Corporation (IDC) recently recognized the City of Syracuse as a “Smart City” in 2023.

If you would like to learn more about how government agencies are improving their operations using digital technology, view the full report.

View report

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