Governments spending big on technology in 2021
For many reasons, not the least of which are the recent cybersecurity breaches that have occurred throughout the country, governmental entities are announcing plans for large technology budgets in 2021.
Additionally, public agencies simply can no longer wait to modernize outdated technology systems, software and equipment. Digitization demand, cloud storage, and data analysis also contribute to increasing technology spending in all states and at all jurisdictional levels. Here are a few examples of upcoming opportunities that should capture the interest of technology firms.
The state of Connecticut has been moving aggressively to modernize its technology networks since 2017. The first chief information security officer was hired in 2020, and according to the state’s annual IT Strategic Plan, approximately $10 million will be spent on hardware, $14.6 million on technology consulting services, and $19 million on software by the state’s Department of Administrative Services. All other state agencies have technology spending plans as well. State officials are highly focused on updating, enhancing, and modernizing legacy software, slow-running computers, hardware, and security systems in 2021.
The city of Danbury in Connecticut also has budgeted heavily for IT spending in 2021. Plans have been announced to expand the city’s end-point computer anti-virus software to include additional ransomware protection. The city will perform an IT security and hardware audit at a cost of $411,200, secure cloud hosting for a projected cost of $150,000, connect with a server farm and network storage system for public safety for a cost of $300,000, and add computer-based automation for $275,000.
California’s governor has asked legislators to approve a large technology budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. His budget requests include $20.1 million to conduct IT security assessments in state agencies and funding for modernization efforts at the Government Operations Agency, California Department of Technology, Office of Digital Innovation, and the Department of General Services. Other technology projects of high interest include:
- Developing a new CA.gov portal that provides essential digital services.
- Researching the development of a Digital ID system to be used across all state departments.
- Accepting credit card payments at all public-facing state departments.
- Migrating state department websites to a web enterprise platform and evaluating compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility requirements.
- Transitioning all state forms to enable electronic signatures.
- Creating an electronic process for regulations that are submitted by departments to the Office of Administrative Law for approval.
The state of Massachusetts plans to spend $16 million in 2021 to expand cybersecurity protection across the executive branch of government, state agencies, independents, constitutionals, and other public entities. The funding includes allocations to enhance network monitoring and communication processes and establish a Vulnerability Management Program to address and remediate cybersecurity weaknesses. In 2021, the state is set to begin efforts to modernize the Commonwealth’s Human Resource/Compensation Management System, the Massachusetts Management Accounting and Reporting System, and its Unemployment Insurance Online systems. Another $42.5 million has been budgeted for other technology transformation projects.
In 2021, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will enhance its network security on individual devices and home internet access to remote learning from home. CPS will also continue its multi-year investment in the system’s Technology Modernization Program that provides high-speed internet for schools throughout the city. In FY21, the district has allocated $35 million to promote equity by increasing student-to-device ratios and address connectivity issues by building and improving network infrastructure across the district. To support student safety at every school, $2 million will fund new security equipment including cameras, intercom phones, alarms, and screening equipment.
The city of Norfolk between 2021 and 2025, plans to spend $20 million on technology projects. The plans include funding for an electronic health record system for the Norfolk Community Services Board, numerous security appliances, a cybersecurity assessment, and upgrades to the city’s e-services platform. In 2023, the city plans to spend another $2 million to upgrade its billing system for the Department of Utilities.
The city of Shaker Heights will replace its antivirus software in 2021 in an effort to ward off cyberattacks. City leaders hope to reduce or potentially eliminate the danger of business disruption and data destruction as a result of cyberattacks and hacking.
The city of Austin’s public transit authority, Capital Metro, plans to spend $15.6 million between 2021 and 2024 to upgrade or replace its asset management system, data warehousing and business intelligence portfolio systems, and its enterprise customer relationship management system. Additionally, Capital Metro has budgeted for a website upgrade, a new financial system, governance risk and compliance software, board management system, and real estate management software. The authority also will spend $7.4 million to replace its interactive voice response system and phone system. Funding is allocated to perform an enterprise audio-visual solution study, provide network infrastructure and increase WiFi capabilities for Capital Metro stations.
City leaders in Olympia have budgeted more than usual for technology projects. One large initiative planned for 2021 includes implementation of a new case management system for court services that allows the court to share a platform with prosecution, defense, and probation to facilitate electronic transmission of documents. Parks maintenance and operations also will receive funding to implement a computerized maintenance management system that moves work orders more efficiently, improves lifecycle management, and facilitates forecasting for parks and facilities. Legal services also have been granted funding for a new case management system.
Hillsborough County’s key technology projects for fiscal year 2020-2021 include implementation of a new records system for the court. The new system will improve processes that include recording and indexing mortgages, deeds, marriage licenses, and other records. The project will ensure greater efficiency and provide a more convenient public access process. The administrative office for the courts will oversee the installation of new software to modernize network access, internet utilization, and bandwidth and procure 62 new laptops.
Contractors interested in pursuing technology projects will find opportunities of all types in 2021 and even more appear to be scheduled for 2022.