Best Practices in IT Investing: How to Prioritize Projects

Over the past two weeks, we’ve heard from four local government IT experts about getting stakeholder buy-in and investing effectively . For the third and final part of our “Best Practices in IT Investing” blog series, our local government panelists are tackling a difficult topic:
how to prioritize projects.

With the consumerization of technology, departmental users and citizens seem to be asking for more from the IT department. But how do you decide which projects should be tackled first?

Kimberly Samuelson, Director of ECM Strategy, Laserfiche

Kimberly Samuelson, Director of ECM Strategy at Laserfiche, said it is critical to understand the purpose of the technology and the organization’s goals before deciding which technologies to invest in. As technology moves from the personal sphere into the professional world, it’s easy for buzz words to be thrown around and assumed as best practice. Understanding goals can help you determine what is actually adding value to your organization.

One relevant example involves investing in the cloud.  Before moving to the cloud, an organization must consider the importance and ownership of its information. Depending on your organization’s sensitivity, this may not be a good idea and a hybrid model might make more sense.

Rob Houston, Assistant to the City Manager & IT Manager, City of Newport Beach

In the City of Newport Beach, Rob Houston, Assistant to the City Manager and IT Manager, said, “we’re outsourcing anything that’s a net increase due to an installation or implementation, and we’re trying to keep the day-to-day support in-house so that our staff has a face they know and there’s a connection made with those people.” By strategically outsourcing time consuming, one-off projects, the department is better able to focus on supporting the organization and operations.

He also adds that, “whether or not you have a mobile app is not an important discussion if you have a server crash or a network problem and no one can access anything. So, my first lens is: do you have a safe system?”

Anne Hartman, IT Director, Oneida County

For Anne Hartman, IT Director at Oneida County, the primary job of IT management is “to protect our assets, most particularly our data assets.” With this in mind, Anne approaches technology investments with three core values: confidentiality, integrity, and availability. When it comes to prioritizing investments, Anne focuses on technologies that meet needs, not wants, and adhere to these values.

Currently, she is working on projects that meet three goals: emergency preparedness/disaster recovery, improved efficiency, and implementing technology responsibly.  If a technology doesn’t contribute to these values and goals, it becomes lower priority.

Jakub Jedrzejczak, Enterprise Imaging Team Manager, Loudoun County

Finally, Jakub Jedrzejczak, Enterprise Imaging Team Manager at Loudoun County, prioritizes those projects that have the biggest impact across the enterprise.  Loudoun County is one of the fastest growing counties in the country, so it is important that the IT team finds technology that meets the needs of many departments at once. In some instances, the enterprise-first approach calls for investing in new technology, but other times that simply means integrating existing systems.  He starts by figuring out what systems are already in place, and discovering if there is potential to do more with these resources.

“Solutions are out there already, I just let [individuals] use the technology,” Jakub said.

Want to hear more from our panelists?
Watch the
recorded webinar for the full responses!

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