London-based David Rimmer, Hewlett-Packard’s director of global government industry enterprise services, was brought to New Zealand by HP to address the ICT Council recently.
All of the major vendors have been invited to present to the council about global technology trends that are relevant to government CEOs and CIOs, he says.
Rimmer’s message is that governments have to innovate in a world where IT can have a major effect on productivity.
“There are profound long-term issues,” Rimmer says, pointing out that the latest US studies show IT delivering up to a 1.5 percent increase in productivity.
“Productivity improvements have taken a while to show up because technology is general purpose but when you hit a certain level, it starts to take off.
“We’ve seen that first in the US. It’s showing up in the UK, Ireland and Scandanavia but not yet in all European countries.”
The internet is one of the major drivers, he says
Rimmer addresses innovation from two perspectives: business and technology. Business trends include moving from cure to prevention; citizen participation, which drives the need for more analytics; and collaboration, not just between agencies but right through the lifecycle.
From the technology perspective, the big driver is mobile. “It’s ubiquitous. People have voted with their feet.”
Hewlett-Packard, for example, is involved in a pilot service for an un-named European country where the unemployed sign on via smart phones every two weeks they are out of work. Voice biometrics ensure the person signing on is the correct person.
“Mobility is also providing flexibility for government workers, which can lower building costs for governments,” he says.
Social media is allowing citizens to engage with politicians, while incidents such as bullying can be monitored via social media.
More broadly, mobile allows governments to better deliver services and to address complaints.
“Governments need to reduce the cost of government,” Rimmer says. “The chief actor now is the citizen.”
He says the only differentiator between countries is different attitudes to things like data privacy. “It’s cultural. Otherwise, the way governments go about things is similar.
“There is also a significant trend around the need for governments to collaborate: for example, around a single view of tax.”
Rimmer says he believes the cloud will have a real impact on more collaborative models.
He heads a team of 22 which is responsible for providing expertise to the public sector worldwide. Rimmer was involved in IT strategy for Inland Revenue in New Zealand.