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'Smart cities' get snooze button

Enthusiasm for “smart city” projects was waning in local governments, even before the coronavirus pandemic stamped out IT budgets, according to a survey of city and county chief information officers released Tuesday by CompTIA’s Public Technology Institute. The survey revealed that just 10% of local CIOs believe “smart” initiatives are met by agency leaders with enthusiasm, while just 25% of CIOs even have a “smart” strategy in place. Much of that can be attributed to elected officials not fully buying in to the whole "smart city" concept. “There’s not really a universal definition [of a smart city] that people hang their hat on," said PTI Executive Director Alan Shark. Ryan Johnston reports.

A Message From AWS Educate

With over 1,500 institutions and hundreds of thousands of students who use AWS Educate, we wanted to take you on a trip around the world and highlight how students are learning and innovating with the cloud. Learn more.

Seattle makes contract management paperless

To more easily access, alter and file more than 5,000 vendor contracts, the City of Seattle spent nearly $3 million on an automated, cloud-based contract management system last year, according to public records obtained by StateScoop. The city signed a $2.84 million deal on December 30, 2019 with the Austin-based Aurigo Software, to organize and provide access to all of the city’s contracts in one virtual repository. The move removes the need for Seattle procurement staffers to physically pull and fax copies of contracts to vendors whenever an alteration is needed, and allows city workers and vendors to view changes to contracts simultaneously. Ryan has more.

Are your performance management efforts being misdirected?

More than a few local governments have developed impressive dashboards — accessible to officials and members of the public alike — as evidence of their commitment to performance management. But, University of North Carolina public administration professor David Ammons asks in a new commentary, are these dashboards truly tools of performance management? Performance management is about more than just reporting metrics on colorful charts, Ammons writes. For real performance management, a sizable portion of the IT investment should be directed toward targets a little lower on the organization chart. Read the full column.

Speaking of dashboards...

What the heck is going on with Florida's once-heralded COVID-19 dashboard? Its designer and manager said last week she was taken off the project after refusing to alter data that would have supported Gov. Ron DeSantis' aggressive plans to reopen more parts of the state's economy. And on Tuesday, the Miami Herald reported that the designer, Rebekah Jones, had been fired from her job as a GIS manager with the state Department of Health. Jones told her colleagues last week that "I would not expect the new team to continue the same level of accessibility and transparency that I made central to the process during the first two months." Here's what we know so far.


Strengthening security by improving device visibility

State and local agencies need to make it easier and safer for employees to work remotely. IT security experts discuss strategies to get the most from existing security tools and gain greater visibility of devices accessing the network. By increasing the visibility of identity, access and how remote devices are configured, agencies can reduce network risks. Listen to the full discussion.

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