The Coronavirus pandemic has had a tremendous impact on local government work over the past year. Although most government CIOs had contingency plans in place pre-corona to ensure the uninterrupted continuation of operations in their district, the unprecedented, rapid evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak and the new technological challenges that came with it left many CIOs in unchartered territory, continuously adapting to these tumultuous times. With no previous “coronavirus guide book” available for reference, many leaders had to adjust on the fly. One thing that became abundantly clear over the past year is that leaders that had accurate data to drive their decisions and actions were often able to adapt more quickly and confidently, despite these uncertain times.
At Zencity we are privileged to work with thousands of local leaders championing their communities through the pandemic. As we enter into our second year where the virus is just as prevalent despite the hope that vaccination brings, some of the CIOs we work with, like Mike Pegues of Aurora, IL, offered to share their knowledge and lessons learned in the hopes of helping other local government leaders continue to navigate this “new normal”.
Here are 3 core challenges CIOs have faced as a result of the pandemic, and tips from Mike and from the field on how to tackle them:
With more residents taking to the internet to voice their thoughts and concerns on all things related to COVID-19, understanding residents’ key pain points through online discourse allows local governments to effectively plan, strategize and anticipate needs, as well as allocate resources to communicate priorities internally and externally. In situations where time is of the essence, the ability to methodically communicate with one’s residents is a must.
One of the biggest obstacles that CIOs and local governments have faced over the past year is the lack of IT and general resources readily available, coupled with a demand for rapid digital transformation and an almost instant need to move to the virtual space. In times of calm, it is extremely important to perform due diligence as a means of developing a more efficient supply chain and delegation system for when the next unforeseen crisis occurs. With many local authorities facing limited resources and a deteriorating economy, it has proven crucial to find a solution fast.
While there are many benefits of technology in the workforce, particularly in times of social distancing, there are also residual drawbacks. It is the CIO’s responsibility, alongside his or her team, to tackle these limitations appropriately, as some departments easily migrate to digital platforms, while others do not. How can this be done to ensure efficiency in the workplace?
IT departments can play a new unprecedented role in helping cities understand their residents’ real time needs and priorities. As the virtual world has made its way into our new normal, it can be harder to connect with residents directly, and IT departments can bring in new tech solutions and good data to help bridge the gap.
Understanding exactly where your residents stand can help tackle all of the aforementioned issues. As we enter into what’s hopefully the last phase of the pandemic, a swift and successful recovery depends on the ability to connect to residents’ needs. Thankfully, IT departments and CIOs are uniquely positioned to access this kind of data, as they’ve spent the past year incorporating and ramping up new technologies and systems which should make the transition smooth. By utilizing a tool like Zencity to swiftly gather and track thousands of public discourse data points in real time, hundreds of local governments are able to pinpoint their community’s needs and improve their crisis management processes. Learn more.
Interested in understanding the impactful role AI and resident feedback can play in your crisis management efforts?Join us for an eye-opening discussion March 1st!