Overcoming the Government Technology Deficit
July 31, 2014 – Nate Levine
Government is one of the industries most underserved by technology. While we’ve grown accustomed to a world of instant connections, where friends and family are always a click away, the relationship between local government and citizens has become increasingly disconnected. Governments want to innovate; they have a thirst for new solutions and tools as more demands are placed on their shrinking budgets. Yet the same technology companies that are innovating daily in the consumer and business worlds have left most of the government market behind.
The greatest deficit is on the software side. Much of the software used by government is outdated, cumbersome, and incapable of engaging constituents. Instead of wrestling with issues of public policy, many administrators are fighting their software systems and spending valuable time just to retrieve the data they need to govern.
While you and I have instant access to our files and financials, most local governments don’t. Government software systems often act solely as a data repository: massive quantities of data goes in, complex spreadsheets and multi-hundred page PDF reports come out. The end result is a format that is difficult for administrators to use and unintelligible for citizens.
Transforming this raw data into accessible, understandable, and shareable information – achieving Open Government – is how municipalities can empower themselves and create new interest from the community.
Until now, governments haven’t been able to achieve “openness” without huge investments of resources (New York City spent nearly $3 Million on an Open Checkbook site), but technologists and entrepreneurs are starting to build turnkey solutions that quickly and affordably present information in a way that creates business intelligence for senior executives and transparency for citizens.
Our focus at OpenGov is on government financial data and our mission is to deliver world-class software that helps public administration become more data-centric, digital and efficient. We achieve this through a platform that converts thousands of pages of “dead data” – the complex spreadsheets, budget books and raw financial data sets – into beautiful, interactive and lively presentations that can be viewed on a single screen.
Visit our Governments Page to see our software in action or watch our recorded webinar to see a demonstration. Government executives and citizens can instantly find the data they need by department, fund or type. Questions like “how much did the police department spend on uniforms?” or “how much revenue was generated from sales tax since the Great Recession?” can be answered in seconds.
OpenGov has also set a new standard for financial communication, and governments like the City of Los Angeles are taking OpenGov even further. In May of this year, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti presented his first proposed budget to 4 million residents through the OpenGov Platform.
Over one hundred governments across the United States and Canada use OpenGov to monitor current-year and annual revenue, expenses, transactions and checkbook data. Governments no longer need to spend millions of dollars and years of development to create a financial transparency portal. The smallest of municipalities like the Borough of West Homestead, PA to the largest mega-cities like Los Angeles, CA leverage OpenGov and be up in running in a matter of days.
We are proud to build technology that is connecting governments and constituents. And, in the near future, we’ll have tools connecting and comparing governments’ financial data – providing new insights never before possible. That is the future we’re building.