I am always interested in the unique challenges within any vertical; they provide tremendous insight into your windows of opportunity when it comes to conversations about where technology can help those organizations. When CIO Insight offered its take on The Top 10 Priorities for State CIOs, I had to check it out.
The list on concerns includes the following:
- Cloud Services
- Budget/Cost Control
- Shared Services
- Legacy Modernization
- The Interoperable Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network
- Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity
I would argue that a well-versed solution provider can find an opening to a long-term services contract through any of those 10 doors, with the most obvious being cloud, mobility, security, BDR and cost control. The trick, of course, is understanding the unique challenges in this vertical.
Let’s talk about cloud, as an example. According to this article, state government CIOs are struggling to find the best fit for cloud in their environment – it could be a platform empowering customer service that will ultimately increase employee productivity due to a reduction in service calls; it could be a mission-critical app that lets all its departments share data for faster resolution of issues for its constituents. The question is how can you gain the inside track on where and what they need?
My best advice is to get in the trenches and ask questions. If you already have a state government customer, take them to lunch and ask about their challenges in terms of cloud. Where do they have pain points and what do they think could resolve those issues? Then, do some research to find out if there are purpose-built solutions for that particular issue, or, perhaps you can you find a software developer to help you create one.
Getting involved means asking for their opinion, and listening. You can also follow state government associations (some even offer “guest memberships”), such as the National Governors Association or the Government Finance Officers Association. For more ideas about sources of information, check out the International City/Country Management Association website. However you approach it, the only way you can take advantage of the challenges within any particular vertical is to be knowledgeable about both the problems and potential solutions, so get to work!