March 27

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Last Friday, March 27, e.Republic hosted a webinar to break down the complexity of how to work with state and local government agencies in a time of crisis. In the span of a few weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrust every state and local government agency into crisis-response mode. Industry partners play a critical role in aiding this response, but they must rethink their approach so they don’t overwhelm leaders during this time. The webinar brought together former government officials at the state and local level, a gov tech market expert, and e.Republic’s own company president, to frame the challenges and priorities of current government officials and how best to engage – and not engage – with them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • What are the immediate impacts of this crisis on state and local government IT organizations?
    • 26 states and countless cities and counties have all issued shelter-in-place orders that have shifted non-essential private-sector and government workforces to a work-from-home model. Business leaders are helping by focusing on citizen communications, bringing essential services online, transitioning their workforce to a virtual setup, and reevaluating their primary and secondary suppliers.
  • What are the mid-range impacts?
    • Three to six months after the pandemic subsides, state and local agencies will begin looking at how to adapt their organizational plan based on the steps they took in their initial response. Agencies will use this time to refocus their strategy, re-prioritize their technology portfolio, re-align future actions with agency leadership, and re-review cybersecurity efforts and the supply chain.
  • And the long-term impacts?
    • Looking to the future, agencies will begin to shift their focus to preparing their organizations to the post-COVID-19 new normal. Specifically, agencies will reevaluate their disaster recovery and business continuity plans, enhance remote work capabilities and identify new technologies for mission-critical services. In addition, agencies will begin to plan for additional policy and IT modernization strategies to better respond to future crises. Expect to see new technology utilization (including many capabilities as-a-service) as the best practices that emerge during this crisis become a standard part of an IT organization’s portfolio.
  • How should the private sector engage with state and local agencies during this crisis?
    • Now more than ever, industry partners should stop cold-outreach campaigns. Stop contacting officials with unsolicited e-mails and phone calls. Instead, focus on the immediate needs of state and local agencies. It’s vital for industry partners to do their homework, including analyzing emergency procurements, to best understand the specific needs of state and local agencies and align any communication to solving these challenges.
  • What does the funding and procurement landscape look like in state and local government today?
    • Although many non-essential procurements have been put on hold, we expect to see a significant increase in essential service and technology funding with the passing of federal government aid. The historic $2.2 trillion stimulus passed by Congress last week provides approximately $424 billion to the state and local level ($274 billion in supplemental aid and $150 billion in direct support). This funding will be allocated to a variety of essential services, each with underlying technology needs – including elections security, telehealth, emergency preparedness and much more.


Phil Bertolini

Phil Bertolini

Co-Director, Center for Digital Government

Phil Bertolini is the Co-Director of the Center for Digital Government, a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. Previously, he served as deputy county executive and CIO for Oakland County, Michigan.

During his 31-year tenure, Phil built a world-class IT organization in the second-largest county in Michigan, just north of Detroit. As Oakland County CIO, he oversaw more than 150 employees serving over 1.2 million residents. In 2005, he was also promoted to deputy county executive, holding dual positions until his retirement.

Phil’s efforts earned the county national attention, winning numerous awards for technology innovation and excellence. He was named one of Governing Magazine’s Public Official of the Year and Government Technology Magazine’s Top 25 Doers, Dreamers & Drivers. He was also honored by the President Obama White House as a Champion of Change for 2012.

Joe Morris

Joe Morris

Vice President of Research, e.Republic

Joe Morris is vice president of Research and a national keynote speaker on issues, trends and drivers impacting state and local government and education. He has authored publications and reports on funding streams, technology investment areas and public-sector priorities, and has led roundtables, projects and initiatives focused on issues within the public sector. Joe has conducted state and local government research with e.Republic since 2007 and knows the ins and outs of government on all levels. He received his Bachelor of Arts in government and international relations from the California State University, Sacramento.

Cathilea Robinett

Cathilea Robinett

President, e.Republic

Cathilea is president of e.Republic, where she oversees operations for the company’s award-winning media platforms: Governing and Government Technology. Cathilea also oversees e.Republic’s websites, conferences and events, and its national research and advisory groups: the Center for Digital Government, the Center for Digital Education and the Governing Institute.

Cathilea is a frequent speaker for government and education organizations worldwide, including the United Nations, Harvard University, the State Legislative Leaders' Foundation, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments, and the World Congress on Information Technology. She has been quoted frequently in publications including the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Forbes and others.

Teri Takai

Teri Takai

Executive Director, Center for Digital Government

Teri Takai is the Executive Director of the Center for Digital Government, a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. She worked for Ford Motor Company for 30 years in global application development and information technology strategic planning. From Ford, she moved to EDS in support of General Motors.

A long-time interest in public service led her to the government sector, first as CIO of the State of Michigan, then as CIO of the State of California, and subsequently the CIO of the U.S. Department of Defense, the first woman appointed to this role. She then served as the CIO for Meridian Health Plan. She is a member of several industry advisory boards.

Teri has won numerous awards including Governing Magazine’s Public Official of the Year, CIO Magazine’s CIO Hall of Fame, Government Technology Magazine’s Top 25 Doers, Dreamers & Drivers, the Women in Defense Excellence in Leadership Award, and the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service.

Dustin Haisler

Dustin Haisler — Moderator

Chief Innovation Officer, e.Republic

Dustin Haisler is the Chief Innovation Officer for e.Republic. As the finance director and later CIO for Manor, TX, a small city outside Austin, Haisler quickly built a track record and reputation as an early innovator in civic tech. A member of Code for America’s original steering committee, Haisler pioneered government use of commercial technologies not before used in the public sector – including Quick-Response (QR) barcodes, crowdsourcing and gamification. In 2010 Haisler launched Manor Labs, a website that let residents submit their own ideas and vote other peoples’ ideas up or down. The most popular suggestions went to city officials for review and possible implementation. Haisler looked to the private sector to help broaden the adoption of these and other civic innovations, joining California-based Spigit as director of government innovation. While at Spigit, a company that makes crowd-sourcing and innovation management software, Hailser helped design and deploy innovation programs for New York City; Bogota, Columbia; and even part of the space program (through NASA’s Langley Research Center).