How SaaS Opens Doors for Innovative Staffing and Leadership - Accela

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How SaaS Opens Doors for Innovative Staffing and Leadership

Learn How the Cloud and SaaS Can Enhance State and City Recruitment Efforts

Hiring top IT talent has always been the bane of government and today it is even harder as technologies evolve, budgets shrink and a wave of baby boomers finish their careers.

The AARP estimates there are approximately 10,000 baby boomers turning 65, retirement age, every single day — a trend projected to go past 2030. In state and local IT departments the exodus has resulted in a loss of expertise that has become difficult and costly to replicate. Technical skillsets needed to maintain older systems are vanishing, with new staff unwilling or apprehensive to learn outdated coding languages and techniques. At the same time, governments face a world of rapidly changing technologies, ingenuity found in advancements like big data, the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and predictive analytics.

“What our customers have noticed is about 40 to 50 percent of their staff are at, or above, retirement age, and while they’re still hanging in there, there is a risk of folks departing the job market and a need to then backfill,” said Troy Coggiola, Accela’s chief product officer in a joint webinar with Microsoft.

Despite hiring challenges, governments are still expected to keep pace with current technologies and citizen expectations, and even with limited budgets, Coggiola said governments can scale services and hire innovative positions by using cloud solutions, or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). With SaaS, governments reduce financial costs tied with deployment, maintenance, cybersecurity and can steer this funding toward recruitment. Watch our webinar for more details on this.

“If you can direct your hiring and you’re recruiting toward more innovation focused roles, it will get you the talent a little bit more easily, as compared to bringing in a number of data center operations managers,” Coggiola said.

These positions are relatively unique depending on the city, but generally, the roles have driven innovation by partnering with new tech startups on new solutions, developing open data, predicative analytics programs, IoT tools, broadband connectivity and nurturing volunteer civic technology efforts.

Here is a breakdown of a few position that are having an impact on government:

Chief Innovation Officer:
“Innovation” is a broad term and can mean many things in government. When it comes to a chief innovation officer, however, the leadership role is usually focused on finding, piloting and scaling new tools that advance government services. Kerry O’Connor, the Chief Innovation Officer in Austin, Texas, has been doing just that since she was hired in March 2014 to implement a number of smart city projects. Most notably, she is leading an effort to use blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin, to track and assist the local homeless population.

Chief Data Officer
With data analytics pushing cities and states to develop more effective services and transparent government, there is a new need for data savvy leadership. The chief data officer (CDO) helps jurisdictions to identify what data is most valuable to them, to organize open data programs, and implement new strategies and technologies that improve performance. Joy Bonaguro, the former CDO, in San Francisco guided the city to open up its data for entrepreneurs and civic technologists as well as create a network of data officers in each department to facilitate new data publication.

Startup Manager
Cities and smart city tech startups benefit when they collaborate. Startups are looking for real-world use cases to deploy their solutions, while cities can find affordable, or even free, advanced technologies. These private-public partnerships sometimes happen naturally, and at other times there is a need for a startup manager. The startup manager’s role is to interact with the local startup community through local meetups, events, pilot programs or directly to hatch new solutions. Rory Cuddyer, did just that while working as Boston’s first startup manager.

Customer Service Officer
It might not sound glamorous or particularly dynamic, yet this position is one of the most impactful when it comes to driving citizen engagement and developing apps and other IT that actually connects with residents. As the former customer service officer in Philadelphia, Rosetta Carrington Lue brought customer service to Philly’s neighborhoods and streets with the launch of Philly311, a mobile app that revamped the city’s service request system into a popular tool for locals to report graffiti, potholes, and other issues in their neighborhood.

Learn more about Accela SaaS Solutions here.

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About The Author

Jason Shueh

Jason Shueh is Accela's content strategist and is focused on developing insightful resources that inform and support Accela's government customers. He has a passion for smart city growth and civic tech, two spaces he covered at length in his previous roles as a journalist at Government Technology magazine and as the tech editor at StateScoop, publications centered around public sector IT.

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