While many of the NASCIO Top Ten Priorities have remained somewhat constant through the years, this may be the first time that each one can be addressed through the power of open source.
Budget, Cost Control, Fiscal Management are often front of mind as state IT organizations are told to do more with less. Open source software has cost effectively helped with Legacy Modernization of proprietary technologies, Consolidation/Optimization of disparate systems into standard operating environments, and creating a vendor-lockin-free playing field as agencies move to both public and private Cloud Services.
Unlike proprietary vendors who can hide security flaws behind binaries, open source forces vendor transparency which enhances Security and Risk Management efforts. Commercially supported open source goes even further by providing tools to help Enterprise IT Governance in the areas of assessing what you have and planning for the future.
Open source is more than just passively consuming products and code -- it’s also about actively collaborating in communities larger than yourself for the benefit of all. Many states face common challenges, and every state independently reinventing the wheel 50 times isn’t as effective as working together to improve upon one wheel that’s 50 times better. As such, the Enterprise Vision and Roadmap for IT should factor in collaborating with peer state, local, and federal agencies using open source principles to ensure effort isn’t unnecessarily duplicated. The small upfront investment of building open source communities for Agile and Incremental Software Delivery will not only pay for itself, but it will also open up budget to focus on innovation and better serving the citizen, such as Broadband/Wireless Connectivity.
The approach to openness is bigger than code too -- open data needs to be factored into the state’s Data Management and Analytics Strategy as it allows agencies and external researchers to identify trends which can improve the lives of citizens and their communities.
Never before have government agencies been in a more prime position to embrace open source technologies and principles. As the Federal government encourages its agencies to default to open for many of the reasons listed above, now is the perfect time for state and local agencies to mirror that effort and find innovative ways to harness its power to create a smarter, more efficient digital government.