Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Jersey city technology_whitepaper - final


Published on

Published in: Technology, Business
  • Be the first to like this

Jersey city technology_whitepaper - final

  1. 1. Technology Report Executive Summary While the lagging in the adoption of modern technologies, Jersey City is well positioned to take advantage of them. Doing so will provide more responsive services, improve the lives of residents and employees, create mechanisms to foster citizen engagement, and establish Jersey City as an innovator in the technology space. After examiningmarket and government technology trends, as well as an internal analysis on the state of Jersey City’s technology and community feedback, the transition team recommends that the following multi-year strategies be pursued by the Fulop Administration: Leadership Organizations that reap the full benefits of technology do so by creating governance structures that avoid common pitfalls and to maximize returns on investment.Focuson buildingstrategic technology leadership – this allowsall the crucial work of evaluating software, implementing a strategic technology vision, changing workflows and encouraging employees to adopt new technologies. Connectivity Departments often don’t communicate with each other, and residents often don’t know where to where to seek answers. Focus on software that enables more direct and efficient communication among city workers, between city workers and citizens, and among citizens. Responsive government From obtaining an event permit to opening up a business in Jersey City, the processes that residents must follow are often unclear and cumbersome. Focus on technology that improvesefficiency and delivers faster turnaround on city services. Mobile First The market penetration and immediate nature of mobile location-aware technology has created new opportunities for governments to reach previously underserved communities and to interact with their constituents both more frequently and more effectively. Focus on projects that put mobile first; doing so will effect quicker and higher quality change. “Open JC”– Open, cloud-based interfaces improve efficiency, integrate previously disconnected systems, and enable third parties to offer solutions to previously intractable problems. Focus on software projects that create open interfaces (to allow ease of development and interoperation), more open and transparent government operations, and open data access. Public Safety While our investigation of the emergency services systems was minimal, we became aware that there are issues with the communications systems used by the Jersey City Fire Department, and we recommend these issues be addressed immediately as this could be a public safety issue. To
  2. 2. the extent that civilian communications systems can be leveraged to support the JCFD (if legally allowed) they should be made available to do so. We also find clear consensus behind improving the Police Department website, both from a technology and content standpoint. General Technology Landscape Mobile adoption The growth in mobile technology and the pervasiveness of increasingly affordable smartphones and other mobile devices is one of the most apparent current technology trends. Mobile device market penetration rates now exceed 100% [1] and more than half of adult cell phone owners use their phones to go online [2] - frequently even in their homes and offices, where traditional fixed-line technologies are also available [3]. Mobile devices are increasingly affordable, and are able to penetrate communities with previously low rates of technology adoption, and specifically black and Latino cell phone owners use their phones to go online at higher rates than whites [4]. Jersey City is uniquely positioned to take advantage of these trends with pervasive data network coverage offered by multiple well-established service providers, and a large percentage of technically proficient citizens. Offering services targeted towards mobile users could open entirely new avenues of citizen engagement. Cloud computing & open interfaces Increased citizen interactions will drive the need for efficiency improvements and innovative approaches. The emergence of cloud-based services is enabling all types of public and private organizations to access technology services in efficient and scalable configurations that reduce the need to maintain expensive dedicated servers and infrastructure, thereby both reducing costs and enabling new remote access capabilities [5, 6]. Public and private organizations across the spectrum are also adopting open interface standards to offer access to data and systems that would otherwise be locked up behind proprietary software and closed networks. These emerging services both ease software integration efforts [7] and allow users to “slice-and-dice” government databases - often in ways that the originators never envisioned [8, 9]. Implementing cloud-based solutions and offering open interfaces to city services would enable Jersey City to offer more support options to employees, drive economies of scale, and encourage innovation in ways that would benefit stakeholders at every level. Technology Governance Organizations at many levels are beginning to realize that these fast-moving trends require government toadopt newer systems and and encourage team members make better use of technology. It has become increasingly common to have influential Chief Technology Officers (CTO) reporting to either the chief executive or the chief operating officer of an organization and involved in critical decision-making. CTO’s generally oversee critical technology projects and
  3. 3. evangelize technology adoption across the enterprise. A CTO recognizes theorganization’s strategic priorities, develops an overall technology strategy to formalize those priorities into methodology, and maintains that strategy as a living roadmap by updating it as conditions evolve. Successful organizations also foster strategic communication by establishing active, engaged governance committees consisting of both executiveand senior-level representatives of critical departments. Finally, a clearly-definedstaffstructure and established, reliably enforced decision-making processes provide stable management discipline and a sense of fairness around funding and resourcing decisions. Organizations that implement these best-practices generally experience increased rates of success with technology projects and the highest returns on their Information Technology investments [10]. This is even more essential for municipal governments as financial conditions simultaneously increase demand for constituent services and reduce the resources available to meet that demand. Information technology provides unique opportunities to satisfy this dichotomy - when properly managed - through decentralization of responsibility and economies of scale. Technology Trends in Government Open Source Software City, state and the federal government are moving towards an "open government" paradigm in both practice and technology [11]. In short, open source software allows anybody or any entity to download, install, use and modify the code to meet their specific requirements. Adopting a policy of using open source software is philosophically aligned with open government policies and prevents governments from getting locked into a singlevendor relationship, potentially becoming subject to their inability to perform over the long term and/or unfair increases in licensing fees. Code for America is an organization leading this new paradigm by improving the relationships between citizens and government in order to facilitate the development of citizen-generated, open source software. They do this by providing coordination services and fellowship-funded software developers. Cities who have partnered with Code for America software include: Kansas City, Las Vegas, Louisville, New York City, Oakland, San Francisco, Austin, Chicago, Detroit, Honolulu, Macon, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Boston and Seattle [12]. User friendly website Citizens come to a city's website to complete an action or to find specific information. Top city websites are efficient, focused on enabling these users. Because constituents don't think of city services in terms of the city’s organizational structure, organizing the city’s website on the basis of topic area and knowledge-seeking browser paths is the key tactic employed by best in class government websites [13]. For example, Albany, New York has instituted a "How do I…" navigation block on the home page which enables the visitor to quickly navigate the site based on the reason they are visiting the site [14]. Austin, Texas has implemented the same functionality on their home page but in a
  4. 4. more compact design [15]. Baltimore, Maryland is another city website employing this browser path [16]. Mobile, mobile, mobile As described in the general technology landscape, more people are using their cell phones and other mobile devices for information services, especially among poor and underserved communities [17]. As a result of these statistics, government websites are becoming more "mobile friendly," displaying in a layout better suited for small screens. Mobile apps are also a part of this landscape. Apps dedicated to reporting quality of life issues are becoming especially popular. One such app is SeeClickFix which has already seen adoption within the City. (In Harsimus Cove, for example, the residents use it to report issues to their neighborhood association, which then reports them to the City) [18]. Cities using quality of life reporting tools include Albany, Oakland, Los Angeles, San Jose, and Boston [19]. Open Data Open data means that the information stored in one software system is made available to another software system via a "machine readable" format. Because the data is freely and easily assessable on a website, governments are able to achieve higher levels of transparency than they are by producing copies of information in non-readable formats as is currently the method of transparency for many government organizations. When software systems can "speak" to each other through open data interfaces, the government is able to leverage the best aspects of each system [20]. The federal government, by executive order of President Obama, now has to make all data machine readable [21]. The federal government has a website dedicated to distributing open data sets in various formats [22]. Raleigh, North Carolina is doing the same, providing data such as building permits, crime stats and the city budget [23]. All of this can be downloaded and processed by anybody at any time. As a result, websites or apps can be built by anybody to process and display the data in various ways. Digital Agendas To cut down on the waste produced by printing agendas, reduce the time it takes to print the them, and better accommodate last-minute changes, cities are starting to adopt
  5. 5. interactive electronic agendas. Moving away from PDFs, interactive electronic agendas allow users to make notes and highlight the agenda. The digital agenda, including notes and highlights, are searchable for future reference and collaboration [24]. Currently, Sacramento [25], Dayton, Fort Wayne are adopting various forms of digital agenda. Question &Answers Engine Answers engines have become increasingly popular over the last 4 years. Internet destinations such as Yahoo Answers, StackOverflow and Quora allow users to search and post new questions that can be answered both by other users as well as by experts [26]. The answers are optimized for search engines like Google and can be delivered through mobile devices, phone or internet. Recently, municipal governments have adopted Question and Answers engines as a "knowledge base" full of 311-type information. Hoboken [27], Oakland [28], and Honolulu [29] are all cities with public-facing knowledge bases. In the case of Oakland and Honolulu, they are both using the same open-source software developed under the leadership of Code for America and have been able to modify the software for their specific needs [30]. Technology Community Whether having hack-a-thons like those done in New York City [31] or even simple technology advisory boards, the cities that are the most successful at adopting and maintaining technological innovations are those that have nurtured a civic technology community made up of citizens [32]. Example of cities with established technology communities include NYC, Raleigh [33], Chicago [34], Kansas City [35], and Oklahoma City [36]. Internal Analysis Jersey City IT operations are divided into two parts: civilian government and emergency services. Each part has completely separate systems, from networking and phone to email systems and servers. The scope of this internal analysis is limited to the civilian government. A further analysis of emergency services is required. The civilian IT department incurs annual contract expenses (detailed in appendix A) of about $2M and employee expenses of about $1M. Further investigation is needed to determine if these numbers accurately portray the full technology expense of the city. Hardware & networking Among other things, these funds support a modern datacenter at 1 Journal Square which hosts network equipment, email servers, internet gateways for the entire civilian network, and a short list of vendor products used by various departments. The datacenter utilizes state of the art UPS and generator systems, which allowed it to stay operational throughout hurricane Sandy and the following days. It houses approximately 50 servers and several units of networking hardware, handling a variety of services from email and VOIP to tax records and payroll. Of particular note
  6. 6. are the financial software systems from New Jersey vendor H & L Systems Inc., which performs accounting and tax collection functions, and a payroll system from Sunguard HTE. These are notable examples of software that implements specific accounting requirements inconsistent with those of other states. These requirements can pose unique challenges when considering implementing nationally recognized software systems. The primary wide-area network for civilian government is a redundant 1 Gbps wireless hub on top of the Beacon, which relies on line-of-sight and occasional outages. There is a hard-wire based backup system based on T1 technology that is relatively slow and rarely used. While we suspect the wireless network is relatively cost effective, as the city becomes more reliant on technology, a greater degree of reliability of the network will become imperative. Major Software The main Jersey City website is hosted by a third party (Serverside) and powered by a CMS solution from Ektron. While the CMS has capabilities for distributed content management that allow each department to keep information up to date for residents, it is instead used in a centralized fashion. GovQA is a ticketing system that has been implemented for some time, but is not yet well integrated into workflows. Some departments use the system well; others do not. In our analysis, we saw a pattern. A department determines a technology need, goes to bid, and the need is met for their department. Meanwhile, other departments could benefit from integration with the same technology platform. While this “siloing” effect strikes us as mild compared to what it could be, there is definitely room for improvement in the area of crossdepartment systems synergy. One example where this is playing out is the HEDC’s current project to implement Spatial Data Logic GIS software. While it fulfills a need at housing, there is also a lot of potential for this software in other departments, such as DPW and HHS. However, there is concern about possible overlap between SDL ticketing systems and e.g. GovQA, which could lead to rampant confusion and frustration. We believe a city-wide technology perspective is critical to ensure that in this and similar situations, tools are rolled out with a solid integration plan and adequate level of research to ensure a coherent package. Employee Feedback In the course of our internal analysis and research, we spoke to a number of employees about their own ideas for potential improvements. As such, they can lead to potential morale improvements. Their suggestions included: Document digitization Fax over IP or cloud-based fax Digitized agendas for council meetings (tablets) Cloud-based backups (replacing tape)
  7. 7. City-wide intranet to serve as a repository for policies and procedures, contracts, and forms Community Feedback Community feedback on technology was received in a variety of ways including at the public transition meetings; and in a survey shared online, on social medial and published by the Jersey Journal. The following survey results are also supported by information garnered at the public transition meetings. In addition, over 600 ideas for technology in Jersey City were submitted by the community through both the survey and through an in person brainstorming session. While not available in time for preparing this report, those ideas will be consolidated and turned over to the Fulop administration. Recommendations Institute Technology Leadership Quick wins Hire Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Complete a more thorough audit of all software and hardware Develop a community Technology Advisory board Strategic initiatives Establish technology governance committee staffed with department directors and members of city council
  8. 8. Develop yearly technology roadmap by scoring ideas sourced from the governance committee and the community technology advisory board. Below is a sample scoring guide, that under the technology leadership should be modified and adopted to ensure that each year the right technology projects are funded and executed. Connectivity Quick wins License and implement Microsoft Lync to connect all city employees on instant messenger Sample strategic initiatives Roll out text & email resident notification platform Investigate alternative WAN network options to thwart any potential reliability issues with the WAN networking, from VPN/internet based solutions to private fiber. Better integration between departmental systems by reducing the implementation of oneoff solutions targeted to only a single department’s problems and look for solutions that can be generally applied to the benefit of all departments. Create integration points between police and public safety and civilian departments Facilitate responsive government Quick wins Begin using the content management system(CMS) in a distributed fashion by ensuring that departments create and udpate their own content before going to the communications team for reviews and approvals. The CMS supports an approvals process.
  9. 9. Use GovQA to its’ full potential by empowering the Mayors Action Bureau agents to followup on cases and mandate the adoption/integration my more city departments and agencies. Launch a pilot with a public interface to GovQA tickets status & overall reporting. Strategic initiatives Adopt a community quality of life feedback tool Establish the ability to pay for all permits online Fully automate & digitize the entire permitting processes (events, parking, building) Go “paperless” - fully digitize all city documents Mobile First Quick wins Digitized council agendas. Strategic initiatives Create mobile-web friendly version of the Website Launch multiple pilot programs for utilizing mobile technology to empower city employees and engage with citizens. Citywide integration of GIS / SDL for wider adoption of location-aware services “Open JC” Quick wins Implement cloud-based fax to reduce costs Strategic initiatives Move as many services as possible to the cloud. Initial considerations could include archival storage and backups, email & other communication systems. Other system migrations, including H&L and Sunguard financial systems, Spatial Data Logic and accompanying large dataset, networking equipment, centralized internet access with content filtering, should be carefully analyzed and done over time. Evaluate Ektron(current website technology) versus other open source content management systems Develop and create open public data sets that can be leveraged by 3rd parties Develop a project in conjunction with Code for America Evaluate open source and open data interface options for all technology projects funded
  10. 10. Citations [1] Standard & Poor’s, Industry Surveys, Telecommunications: Wireless, James Moorman–CFA, Wireless Telecom Services Equity Analyst, JANUARY 2013 [2] Smith, Aaron. Cell Internet Use 2012. Pew Research, June 26, 2012. [3] Google. Mobile Search Moments. Understanding How Mobile Drives Conversion. Published March 2013. [4] Duggan, Maeve; Rainie, Lee. Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, November 25th, 2012. Cloud citations [5]("What is Cloud Computing?".Amazon Web Services. 2013-3-19. Retrieved 2013-3-20. ) [6] (Oestreich, Ken, (2010-11-15). "Converged Infrastructure". CTO Forum. Retrieved 2011-12-02.) [7] Antonopoulos, Andreas. Software-defined networking with open APIs will mean real integration. November, 2011. [8] Weiss, Michael; Gangadharan, G. Modeling the mashup ecosystem: structure and growth. R&D Management 40, 1, 2010. ucture_and_growth/file/9fcfd512d21174bafb.pdf [9] Pulliam, Richard. Open APIs Enabling Application Innovation. October 28, 2010. [10] Center for Digital Government, Digital Counties and Digital Cities Survey, Best Practice Guide for Local Government, compiled by Paul Cosgrave, Senior Fellow for the Center for Digital Government, and edited by Todd Sander, Director of Digital Communities.© 2011 [11] "Open data giving public new eyes on government",; Ingram, Ben; June 22, 2013: [12] Code for America,
  11. 11. [13] "NEW JERSEY E-GOVERNMENT: BEST PRACTICES FOR MUNICIPAL WEBSITES", A project of the Monmouth University Polling Institute and the Graduate Program in Public Policy; Murray, Patrick; March 19, 2013: [14] City of Albany website: [15] City of Austin website: [16] City of Baltimore website: [17] "A majority of adult cell owners (55%) now go online using their phones", Pew Research; Smith, Aaron; June 26, 2012: [18] "SeeClickFix Annual Report: Statistics and Observations", Harsimus Cove Association; Musgrave, Stephen; March 6, 2013: [19] Cities determined by looking at blog posts on and [20] "Open data", Wikipedia, [21] "The Best Thing Obama’s Done This Month",; Howard, Alexander B.; May 15, 2013: he_best_thing_obama_s_done_this_month.html [22] United States Government "" website: [23] City of Raleigh, North Caroline data website: [24] "The Do’s and Don’ts of Making a Paperless City Council",; Heaton, Brian; April 5, 2011: [25] "Public Participation at Legislative Meetings", City of Sacramento: [26] "Quora: the hottest question-and-answer website you've probably never heard of", The Guardian; Arthur, Charles & Kiss, Jemima: [27] Hoboken 311 website:
  12. 12. [28] Oakland Answers website: [29] Honolulu Answers website: [30] "Hacking the Change You Want to See", Code for America; Neditch, Nicole: [31] "REINVENT NYC.GOV, NEW YORK CITY GOVERNMENT'S FIRST HACKATHON", ml [32] "The Foundation for an Open Source City", Lulu 2013; Hibbets, Jason [33] CityCamp NC website: [34] "CityCamp 2.0",; Curry, Kevin: [35] CityCamp KC website: [36] "Cities", Appendix Attach JC IT contracts document& JC Internal Analysis IT report