Category Archives: In The News

OpenGov’s New Open Data Solution Is Up And Running in Denton, Texas

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At the Code for America Summit, OpenGov announces Dallas-Fort Worth suburb as first customer to implement company’s new OpenGov Open Data tool

OAKLAND, Calif – At the 2016 Code for America Summit, OpenGov, the world’s first complete cloud solution for public sector budgeting, reporting and open data, announced Denton, Texas as the first city in the country to fully implement the OpenGov Open Data solution. Integrated with OpenGov’s other offerings, OpenGov Open Data is allowing Denton to increase public trust, facilitate civic action, and embrace the future of the smart government.

“It’s vital to our community and to the growth of Denton that anyone can easily access government information to enable civic developers and lay-users alike to gain value from public data,” said Justin Mercier, data system architect for the City of Denton. “The new open data platform works seamlessly, whether you want to run a hackathon or run a business, the data is easily usable and allows us to get vital city information quickly and efficiently.”

In addition to Denton, a Dallas-Fort Worth suburb with a population just over 100,000, several other cities and states across the country are looking to OpenGov Open Data to bring greater collaboration, transparency and innovation to governance. The tool is designed to work for governments of all sizes, and these additional governments – both big and small – will be implementing the solution in the coming months.

“Open access to government information is critical to the health of our states, cities and towns,” said OpenGov CEO and Co-Founder Zac Bookman. “Data is a foundation on which to build stronger and more sustainable governments. Leveraging OpenGov’s many tools, including Open Data, Denton and other cities can better understand trends, coordinate budgets, empower their citizens, and present a holistic view of the state of the city.”

Denton had previously released its data in PDFs and other formats that were hard to read and repurpose. As a result, the city’s tech community could not build applications; residents could not easily access a central location to search for data; and potential businesses could not quickly assess Denton’s economic condition The Open Data tool builds trust and shows elected officials and citizens how government agencies are performing in real-time. Open Data can also empower journalists with instant access to the data they need to tell accurate stories.

Working with OpenGov’s open data experts, Denton has uploaded numerous datasets that span a wide array of metrics to its data portal. Today, the city empowers residents and businesses with 71 machine-readable datasets, that range from the city’s demographic indicators to its upcoming building projects.

OpenGov Open Data is powered by CKAN, the industry open source standard for open data used by the federal government, the European Union, and hundreds of other agencies around the world. Earlier this year, OpenGov acquired Ontodia, the leading provider of open data and performance management solutions using CKAN, which allows governments of all sizes including cities like Denton to use OpenGov to connect budget and performance data with Census data, FBI crime data, and financial data from over 3,000 counties and 36,000 cities. In other words, it simplifies the ability to collaborate with other governments and agencies.

“Denton is leading the way in embracing the power of technology to improve our cities,” said Bookman. “We look forward to working with more cities across the country to make governments more transparent, accessible, and efficient through our toolkit of invaluable solutions.”

About OpenGov

OpenGov’s Smart Government Platform is the world’s first integrated cloud solution for public sector budgeting, reporting, and open data. Used by over 1,200 public agencies in the rapidly growing OpenGov Network™, OpenGov’s industry-leading technology streamlines the budget process, improves outcomes, and builds trust with the public. Founded in 2012 with headquarters in Silicon Valley, OpenGov works with leading governments of all sizes including the State Treasurer of Ohio, Minneapolis, MN; Maricopa County, AZ; and Washington, DC. OpenGov is backed by leading investors including Andreessen Horowitz, 8VC, and Thrive Capital.  Learn more at www.opengov.com.

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Contact: Brian Purchia, 202-253-4330, pr@opengov.com

John Chambers Joins OpenGov Board of Directors to Digitize Government

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We’re excited to announce that John Chambers, Cisco’s Executive Chairman and Former CEO, has joined OpenGov’s Board of Directors.

Chambers believes, as we do, that embracing digitization and connectivity positions all levels of government for success. He joins OpenGov to help us improve public administration by leveraging the latest in a series of technological shifts that have transformed citizens’ needs and expectations about government services.

Governments have always needed to embrace new paradigms and technologies

In some cases, citizens still expect similar services as they did two centuries ago – people wanted infrastructure such as canals then; they want bridges, airports, and roads now. Governments still collect taxes, provide police protection, and administer justice. But although these general service categories have remained the same, their administration has grown more complex over time.

Citizens’ expectations of their governments have also transformed. Many of these shifts are due to major events; for example, the Great Depression convinced Americans that governments should provide a social safety net. Other changes, such as expectations for rapid postal delivery and clean water, occurred because of technological innovations such as airplanes and networked piping. Technology disrupts public administration as new tools and paradigms shift citizens’ expectations and demands on their governments.

But today’s need is unprecedented

Chambers believes we are living through an unprecedented era of technological disruption. In an interview with McKinsey and Company, he said:

“This digital era will dwarf what’s occurred in the information era and the value of the Internet today. As leaders, if you don’t transform and use this technology differently—if you don’t reinvent yourself, change your organization structure; if you don’t talk about speed of innovation—you’re going to get disrupted.”

These reinventions and changes constitute vast technology-enabled improvements in public administration, improvements that OpenGov strives to help governments embrace. We’re enabling unprecedented collaboration across cities, states, and even countries. We’re leveraging data science to ensure public money delivers the highest-possible ROI. We’re empowering governments to show citizens how services improve a community’s outcomes.

John Chambers is uniquely positioned to help us. He grew Cisco from $1.2 billion in revenue when he became CEO to a record $48.6 billion in FY 2013. Chambers has also spent nearly two decades on initiatives bridging tech and government, and he has spoken extensively on the need for digitization and connectivity across all levels of government.

We’re excited to have John Chambers on our Board of Directors. He will help us continue to scale and give governments the tools to successfully serve the world’s most important customer base: we the people.

City of Tallahassee, Florida Launches OpenGov Transparency Site

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Photo Credit: Sean Pavone

We’re excited to welcome the City of Tallahassee, Florida to the OpenGov platform! This week, the city launched its public transparency site and received local news coverage. Tallahassee seeks to help citizens understand revenues and expenses, answer common questions, and drive public engagement. The city’s OpenGov site highlights important information with Saved Views such as:

  • What is the Tallahassee Police Department Budget Plan?
  • What are the major revenue sources for StarMetro?
  • What are the revenues that support the General Fund?

Saved Views are key to an effective transparency site, and Tallahassee takes this to heart. Focusing on the first example, the site gives residents an overview of the Police Department’s Budget Plan. Clicking on the Saved View takes citizens to an overview of departmental expenses:

Citizens can then explore more and dig deeper. For example, users can see how police expenses have changed over time by selecting a different chart type. Expenses for the Northern Patrol Sector have increased dramatically since 2012-2013:

Alternatively, users can view police expenses by expense type, then drill into Personnel expenses. Click the filter tab on the left of the screen and select the perspective you need:

Tallahassee launched its OpenGov site with a landing page and a compelling tutorial video:

Source: The City of Tallahassee

We congratulate Tallahassee on its launch! Check out Tallahassee’s OpenGov site to see how the city engages citizens with budget transparency.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy Visits OpenGov, Announces Innovation Initiative

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On Wednesday, March 9, Majority Leader of the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) visited OpenGov and met with our Executive Team to brainstorm ways technology can spur innovation within government. Governments equipped with the newest technologies help make their communities good places to live, work, and innovate. 

Today, Majority Leader McCarthy unveiled an Innovation Initiative designed to encourage increased technology adoption within the federal government. He writes:

“Our goal in government should be to adapt to changing times — rethinking what government does and how government operates to give every person the opportunity to succeed.”

Read the entire initiative here.

World Economic Forum panel

The World Economic Forum: Four Takeaways

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World Economic Forum panel: The Transformation of Tomorrow. Source: Rwanda Eye

On January 20, 2016, OpenGov CEO Zac Bookman joined a World Economic Forum panel to discuss the ongoing Fourth Industrial Revolution, a new era defined by the fusion and deployment of technologies like artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles. Joined by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Mahindra Group Chairman Annad Mahindra, and the New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin, Zac and the other panelists explored the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s transformative global effects. Here are four key takeaways:

1. Empathy is everything: Billions of people are connecting for the first time. And these relationships must be grounded in empathy. A connected globe both increases the need for empathy, and expands the opportunity to foster it. Governments are not exempt. All governments, from towns to nations, have to build empathetic relationships with each other and the public to spread innovation and foster trust. Governments that grow public empathy with its operations by embracing transparency and sharing narratives bolster public engagement and our civic life.

2. Governments must prepare for unemployment (again): Increased structural unemployment accompanied all historical Industrial Revolutions, and this one is no different. New technologies like 3D printing and autonomous vehicles boost productivity, but they also replace jobs. Governments must empower massive amounts of workers to retrain and re-engage with the new economy. The public will demand investments in initiatives like Adult Education, and governments need to strategize how to provide the infrastructure and programs to support these  services.

3. Innovation empowers leaders: Bold leaders deploy new technologies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution to grapple with unprecedented challenges. And bold leadership is critical in government: the only institution that can respond to economic and social changes wrought by technological innovation. New technologies that vex government leaders also empower them. The cloud and data analytics are merging to deliver relevant, actionable intelligence from across the government; new networks between governments allow budgetary innovations to spread rapidly around the globe; and data visualization technologies enable leaders to share their stories with the public and build the trust necessary for reforms.

4. Democracy thrives when governments bolster their tech: Zac explained how, for too long, technologists underserved governments. Inferior technology prevents elected officials and public administrators from providing the best possible services for citizens, and public faith in our institutions erodes. Technologists from all industries recognize this problem, and are collaborating with entrepreneurs and investors to help governments catch up to and even surpass the private sector. Empowered governments engage with the public to provide better services, foster trust, and cultivate civic culture.

4 Govtech Trends to Watch in 2016

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This article was originally posted on GovTech on January 6, 2015. Click here to read the original post.

1. GovTech Matures

“GovTech” will become even more important: From health care to e-commerce, innovation has transformed the private sector with new technologies refashioning antiquated processes and business models. Governments have been swept up in the wave, and that wave will grow. Technologists and entrepreneurs will revolutionize, or at least improve, all forms of government service and operation. Technologists have already started reimagining urban planning (mySidewalk), municipal debt investing (Neighbor.ly), capital equipment sharing (Munirent), and open data (Ontodia and ThinkData). These companies will grow in 2016 and new companies will emerge to tackle new problems, making change in this industry feel downright normal.

2. Open Data Expands

Intelligence applications will derive value from public data: Governments have published data online for years, but in 2016 they will release more data sets at little cost through open source solutions like CKAN and DKAN, powered by declining data storage costs from Amazon and IBM. Plummeting costs per dataset will incentivize governments to share increasing amounts of data and place a premium on applications that can glean insights from that data. These applications will form enterprise solutions that enable governments to leverage their data internally across departments and between governments, then share the data with the public.

3. Collaborative Finance

Agency budgeting will become collaborative: Stories describing how government budgets reflect political priorities are becoming more commonplace. The budget process drives organizations and involves loads of stakeholders. But governments craft budgets largely in spreadsheets. Sharing complex spreadsheets is cumbersome, and benchmarking against other governments is nearly impossible. In 2016, the clerical work required in the budgeting process will be as easy as posting a status to Facebook. With modern cloud-based technology, the budget process will be streamlined and governments will save hundreds or thousands of hours — time that can add value in research, benchmarking, and strategic planning. And, it will eliminate unnecessary information barriers within and between governments, empowering budget teams to engage staff, learn from other organizations, and then inform citizens and get their input.

4. Regional Service Growth

State and local governments will grow more important: Washington, D.C., dominates the news, but services from city halls and state capitals touch citizens’ lives far more than federal services. These include clean water, power grids, police services, fire and emergency response, and K-12 and university education. In September 2015, the Obama administration unveiled a $160 million initiative to fuel innovation in areas as diverse as traffic congestion, climate preparedness and energy efficiency. This initiative, combined with private-sector efforts, will increase the attention on and importance of local governments at the forefront of public-sector innovation. These governments will also gain new powers given that, for example, Congress devolved significant control and oversight of K-12 education to state and local governments in the recent Every Student Succeeds Act.