Massachusetts is composed of 351 cities and towns. In just over one year, I have personally visited more than 150 of these communities to help them leverage technology.
Today, more than ever, our state agencies and local governments rely on technology to make services easy to access and responsive to the needs of the many diverse populations they serve. The state’s Information Technology Division (ITD) strengthens the Commonwealth’s technology community by working with them to meet their ever-increasing demands.
ITD works to improve service to residents, businesses, and local government through the strategic use of technology. We provide a wide range of IT services, from supporting education to public safety, and spanning from transportation to public works projects.
Historically, each of the Commonwealth’s cities and towns has managed its technology needs independently. As a result, the level of sophistication, range of services, and their cost varies widely from community to community. This has created rich opportunities for gaining efficiencies, saving money, enhancing security, and improving the delivery of services across all 351 municipalities.
To capitalize on these opportunities, Governor Patrick signed Executive Order 537, Strengthening the Level of Partnership and Collaboration Between State Government and Cities and Towns. In support of EO537, ITD launched a Municipal Outreach Initiative and created the role of Municipal Liaison.
Since taking on this role in April 2012, I have been focused on finding opportunities in which communities can benefit from getting technology services directly from the state. In the 150+ communities I have visited since then, I have found that IT leaders are very interested in learning about ITD services which they can leverage, such as online mapping and geolocation services through MassGIS, co-location services through our newly constructed Springfield Data Center and enhanced cyber security awareness programs.
Through the Municipal Outreach Initiative, Commonwealth Chief Information Officer John Letchford has also created the state’s first-ever Municipal IT Board. The Board, which is comprised of IT leaders from 18 communities and representatives from more than 20 state agencies, meets on a quarterly basis to collaborate on ways state and local government can work together to meet the pressing technology needs of municipalities.
The Patrick Administration has worked to form productive partnerships with a number of state agencies. We have cultivated IT-related projects funded through the Community Innovation Challenge grants. In addition, we’re partnering with the Department of Revenueto identify how the Commonwealth can help municipalities with their financial management systems. Lastly, the Administration is working closely with the Operational Services Division to help municipalities leverage the improved purchasing power they can gain by combining purchases with other entities.
In today’s constrained economic environment, it is important that we work together at the state and local levels to ensure that municipalities have the technology they need to effectively provide services to constituents.
To learn more and/or to connect ITD with your community, please email me at Tim.L.Sullivan@state.ma.us.
By: Tim Sullivan, Municipal Liaison, ITD