Editor's Viewpoint: Chasing the cloud is just part of the race


Cloud computing keeps moving, and all of us keep chasing it. It wasn’t that many years ago that I figured out what the cloud was and its potential to significantly change the technology landscape for local and state governments. Since then, we’ve written cloud cover stories, hosted webinars and developed special reports, and last year we held our first virtual conference focused on the cloud.

This year, we are hosting our second virtual cloud conference on April 26 and 27, and we are including additional topics such as “How to Support the Consumerization in Government IT.” Jeff James, IT news analyst from our sister publication Windows IT Pro, also will broaden the conference’s scope through his keynote, “Revolution Next: How IT is Revolutionizing Government Services.”

Technology’s role in the future of local and state government became clear after I joined American City & County 10 years ago. At that time, the subject was summarized with the term, “e-government,” which gives you an idea how far technology’s impact has changed since then.

Fortunately, the driving forces behind technology’s evolution parallels several trends, including fewer governmental resources, more demands from residents and the relentless need to provide basic public services. Today, not only is the cloud moving like a storm, other tech trends, such as mobile and wireless computing and social media, all have impressive trajectories of their own.

While technology is behind the scenes helping governments meet today’s demands, it’s government officials — from mayors and city or county managers to public works directors and public safety officials — who are driving the trends. Their constituents also are driving tech trends by demanding changes in their relationship with government. They have learned how to deal with business and their friends through computers, smart phones and tablets, and they expect to be able to communicate with their government similarly.

Has technology made your life easier? At this stage of dealing with the trends I’ve mentioned, I would guess the answer for some would be a toss up. However, in a few years, I’ll bet your answer will be the same as mine when someone asks me, “Do you like to write?” “No,” I say. “I like having written, though.”

Think of writing and technology as a journey, and know that you have to keep working at it to stay proficient, which is why I keep writing every month and you will continue to chase the cloud or any of the remarkably fast-moving technologies. Our goals here are the same as yours: serving the needs of the audience. And, when those we serve recognize our value, then we’ve done our jobs.

And, isn’t that what we’re here for?

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Derek Prall

Derek Prall is a professional journalist who has held numerous positions with a variety of print and online publications including The Public Manager magazine and the New Jersey Herald. He is a 2008...

Jason Axelrod

Jason Axelrod is an award-winning journalist who has reported for The Seattle Times, The Arizona Republic, the Phoenix Business Journal and Mother Nature Network, among other outlets. Jason...
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