The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), America’s top science and technology think tank, today released a new analysis of why and how states should better harness information technology to drive public-sector productivity and generate savings for governments, businesses, and citizens. ITIF proposed a series of state and federal policy initiatives that would encourage and optimize IT-enabled productivity in government to capture $472 million in savings for Florida while also saving time and cutting costs for businesses and citizens.
The new report, “Driving the Next Wave of IT-Enabled State Government Productivity,” found that if state governments made it a top priority to boost productivity with IT, then they could significantly lower the cost of providing public services—by as much as $472 million in Florida over the next five years—while making the services easier to use for citizens and businesses.
“In the same way that technology has driven productivity growth in the private sector, there is a great opportunity for savings by state governments,” said Dr. Robert D. Atkinson, founder and president of ITIF and a co-author of the report. “But to achieve this promise of e-government, leaders will need to clearly articulate the goal of replacing labor with technology. They will need to take on entrenched political opposition and overcome an array of administrative challenges, including an unwillingness to increase IT investments that would generate significant returns.”
The analysis focuses on three key areas where states can use information technology to cut labor and material costs while enhancing the efficiency of government workers and creating value for citizens:
1. Replacing routine government employee tasks with self-service tools on the Internet, mobile devices, and kiosks.
2. Automating routine government employee tasks such as manual entry of paper forms with online applications and smart, connected devices.
3. Optimizing agency operations with data and analytics.
While there are examples in every state of the government using IT to increase its productivity, the report argues that no state has made IT-led productivity a top priority. ITIF recommends a series of reforms to do this in every state, including giving state chief information officers more decision-making authority, embracing public-private partnerships, and better incentivizing IT-enabled productivity.
“Imagine a leaner state government that needs fewer workers and materials to get the same or better results,” said Atkinson. “By fully integrating technology into agency operations, governments can cut the time citizens waste standing in line or filling out forms, reduce the burden on taxpayers, and make everyday services more efficient and effective. This not only cuts costs, but also makes everyone more productive—which is essential for state economic growth.”
Read the report here.
Potential State Government Savings Over Five Years from IT-based Productivity Gains
(Source: Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, “Driving the Next Wave of IT-Enabled State Government Productivity,” October 2015)
The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute focusing on the intersection of technological innovation and public policy. Recognized as one of the world’s leading science and technology think tanks, ITIF’s mission is to formulate and promote policy solutions that accelerate innovation and boost productivity to spur growth, opportunity, and progress. Learn more at www.itif.org.