As we come to the end of 2018 and the mid-point of the financial year, it is a chance to look back and then ahead to what 2019 will have in store for local government.
The sector has certainly been undergoing change with some 21 new IT Managers/CIOs in 2018.
Throughout the year ALGIM was able to showcase many case studies around innovation. Timaru certainly shone the light on IoT innovation with their manufacture of their own sensors, Palmerston North City built a dashboard pulling together water data from a range of sources, Ruapehu District flew high to launch a drone-based capture of their cemeteries, and the Auckland pairing of Auckland Council and AT continue to lead some highly innovative projects.
For us at ALGIM we helped councils to stay ahead by looking at the new privacy legislation that was being considered by Parliament, ensuring drone operators knew the rules by running drone safety courses as well as publishing a public dronesafe video for free use by all councils.
ALGIM believes there will be much more change facing councils in the year ahead. The first prediction is an increase in cybersecurity attacks. Councils are at risk if they don’t have good security measures and strategies. So what is ALGIM doing to assist our members? ALGIM has launched a self-assessment, Local Government Cybersecurity Programme in partnership with SAM for Compliance. This will provide an indicator on how mature your organisation is or how at risk. It may also lower insurance premiums for those who reach certain levels of maturity as we hope this becomes the benchmarking standard for the sector.
ALGIM predicts more councils will move applications to the cloud and many will be considering Infrastructure as a Service. A number of councils are looking at their ERP systems and replacement projects are being planned in 2019. The amoutn of sharing of RFP documents and collaboration between councils for assistance in the evaluation process is very pleasing to see.
A number of councils already have migrated to Microsoft 365 but many more will follow in 2019. The power of 365 lies in the many functions it can perform so ALGIM is bringing a leveraged training programme to the sector to put the power of 365 into the hands of the users.
However, the biggest area of impact will be under the umbrella of digital transformation. We will see local government adopting robots, implementing RPA (Robotic Process Automation), greater use of IoT to enable more smart cities/towns/regions, a growing number of drones in use, and the development of strategies to assist communities in adapting to the new digital world. Addressing the digital divide is a priority for most councils as those households without connectivity will be left further behind. A big part of this being locations that don’t have access to 4G or fibre which should improve for some when RBI2 kicks in.
With the ever-increasing demands and more channels available to the public, chatbots, digital assistants along with artificial intelligence (AI) will assist to a degree with the less complex questions asked by customers. In the coming year new offerings from vendors will see greater use of AI in the sector, and big data will also challenge us to be able to navigate the vast arrays of information. ALGIM too is working on a shared digital employee business case with the aim to deliver a prototype in early 2019.
Finally, open data has the power to drive economic activity across New Zealand so we hope to see more data sets made available.
What an exciting time to be part of the digital era and all the opportunities it could bring. Hang on for an incredible ride as we journey into 2019.