Web Technology and City Apps

Feasibility of Strategies for IT Innovation in Local Government
PRS Briefs
PRS Policy Brief 1213-13
Friday, May 31, 2013
De Luca
Leigh Ann

In this paper, we analyze information technology (IT) innovation strategies across the United States and assess their applicability to the City of Lebanon, NH. Through collaboration with Lebanon’s City Manager, Greg Lewis, we identify three goals that align with both community needs and the local government’s capabilities. First, Lebanon seeks to enhance communication between citizens and government. Second, the City wants to optimize its web interface to increase accessibility and integrate mobile applications. Finally, Lebanon seeks to increase its website viewership and application use by residents.

To perform this study, we first analyze Lebanon’s current programs and their statuses. We compare these to programs of cities with similar demographic and/or governmental profiles in New Hampshire. Then we analyze examples of IT innovation in local governments across the United States. We note that a comprehensive strategy contains three factors — a clear, publicly available strategic plan that details strategies and goals; a highly structured IT department; and a web-based presence. Having identified these key features, we select four localities (Montgomery County, Maryland; the City of Rockville, Maryland; the Town of Gilbert, Arizona; and Chesterfield County, Virginia) with comprehensive, clearly defined IT optimization strategies.

Altogether, these case studies offer useful and informative indicators of what the next steps may look like for tech advancement in Lebanon. Based on our targeted analysis of these cases, we construct a set of considerations pertinent for accomplishing the City’s technology goals. At the broadest level, Lebanon could create an official overarching strategy to establish an explicit direction for its e-government. More specifically, Lebanon has a range of potential options, from the creation of digital dashboards to a more aggressive maintenance of various social media channels, for the strategy’s implementation. Lebanon may wish to consider these options as it expands its use of digital technology.