New York City anticipates saving taxpayers millions of dollars in the coming years, in addition to improving citizen services and expanding information sharing capabilities across City agencies, as a result of their technology transformation announcement with Microsoft today.  As part of the project, 30,000 City workers are moving to the cloud, accessing communications and collaboration tools (email, instant messaging, conferencing, etc.) hosted in a Microsoft datacentre facility.

The initiative, led by Mayor Bloomberg and NYC’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, is really about consolidation and taking advantage of shared resources.  Like many cities and many large enterprises, New York’s current IT infrastructure is challenged by fragmentation and siloed technology.  City agencies are maintaining their own IT environments, which is expensive and limits data sharing opportunities with other government organisations.   This project aims to centralise resources like servers and databases across agencies, efficiently distributing computing power and allowing systems to talk to each other. 

The agreement will also greatly expand New York’s Gov 2.0 capabilities.  With more residents than any other city in the USA, it’s essential for New York to have tools in place to collect citizen feedback and distribute important public information.  For example, the City has expressed significant interest in using technologies like Town Hall to facilitate online discussion groups with engaged citizens.  Cloud technologies will also make open government datasets available to the public, increasing transparency and allowing citizens to build new applications based on public data.  If there was ever a U.S. city that could benefit from crowdsourcing, it would be New York and the 8 million residents that have a stake in improving their communities.     

This is a major step for New York City in terms of getting the most for taxpayer dollars and providing citizens with a more efficient and effective government.  New York is tackling some of the country’s biggest challenges – from healthcare to social services to education – and this IT modernisation initiative delivers the potential to transform the way the City delivers services.   

For more information on this announcement, visit the NYC website.

Posted by Ian