CitySmart Blog

Thursday, August 12, 2010
Tim Verras, Director of Marketing and Customer Experience
Social media, especially Twitter, is often a frequent topic of discussion amongst government professionals. We’ve heard it come up a number of times at conventions and there are always a few folks who seem to dismiss it as a fad for children. The problem is, that’s just not true. Many government organizations are finding ways to use Twitter that are dramatically changing the landscape of G2C communication. In fact, as this recent study shows, citizens are using Twitter and expect their government too as well. 18% of those polled said they would turn to social media for any emergency updates. Problem is, if the government’s not listening, they may lose an opportunity to communicate with almost 20% of their citizenship. That’s a significant number during a disaster communication scenario. Cities are no longer in a position to dismiss social media as a fad. If you don’t already have plans in the works, now is a great time to start.
Friday, August 06, 2010
Tim Verras, Director of Marketing and Customer Experience
GovTech is running a great article on Michigan’s CTO and how he’s followed the TV show to go “Undercover CTO”. The article lays out what he discovered by spending time in the trenches with the folks in his organization. He found that most folks were hard workers, with serious gripes but no way to air them. He found it refreshing that he could hear business issues from real people and how that affected his future police decisions. If you are managing a large organization think about taking some time to hang out with the folks that are doing the hard work out in the field. You’re likely to learn a lot about how to add efficiency and increase morale.
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Tim Verras, Director of Marketing and Customer Experience
Kevin and I just got back from the GMIS International convention held right here in Atlanta. It’s a collection of IT professionals from the City and County governments that meat to discuss how IT is shaping city governance. This year the two hot topics seemed to be city websites and social media. Twitter and Facebook are seeping into the government sector and often the task of administering these initiatives falls to IT. This is a difficult situation because this is not a traditional IT function. In the best case, this is a function hat should be handled by the internal communications and marketing department. Yet at the end of the day, cities with tight budgets are asking the IT team to watch over these sites. If your city is going down his route, you might want to seriously consider hiring in in-house social media expert. While IT has the technical chops to handle social media, they often lack the time to create the kind of compelling content that is necessary to derive value out of social media.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Kevin Howarth, Director of Business Development
If you are planning on going to GMIS International this year, we are pleased to announce that we will be displaying at the event. The conference moves from city to city each year but this year it’s in our hometown of Atlanta. GMIS is one of the most targeted conferences for us in the IT field and is a great way to hear what’s on the minds of government technology professionals from all over the country. Hope to see you there!
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Tim Verras, Director of Marketing and Customer Experience
We’ve discussed Google’s efforts to get into the Government sector in the past but the latest news is Google’s strongest commitment yet to the sector. This week the company announced that its now offering Google Apps for Government. This is the same Google apps that many people already use but the key difference is that it is on its own, secure cloud meant only for governments. Google has even had the system federally tested so that it now meets standards to store all non-classified information, which should meet the need of most governmental organizations. This should help to alleviate the fears that many leveled at Google during its roll out of Los Angeles’s Apps implementation, namely that the information would be easily compromised. It will be interesting to see if this actually spurs adoption or proves that cloud-based computing is still too new for government to be truly interested.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Kevin Howarth, Director of Business Development
Tim and I just returned from the MASC convention and I must say it was one of the best conventions we’ve been to all year. This year South Carolina’s cities seem to be focused on websites and a number of folks stopped by our booth to chat about their plans for upgrading and improving their web presence. It’s further evidence that cities across the country are realizing that a website is more than just an online directory – it is a crucial part of the city’s communications and services strategies. From YouTube’d mayoral addresses to integrated 311 applications we heard a number of really good ideas of where cities wanted to take their websites. As more city services move to the web is your city’s website up to the demand?
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Dave Mims, President
GovTech has a great interview with Seattle’s CIO Bill Schrier about having to potentially cut IT staff and projects out of the budget for next year. At the mayor’s behest, he’s been compiling information to show the importance of the IT staff and the projects they will take on. Instead of simply taking out the scalpel, Schrier is looking at how IT can actually increase efficiency and thereby reduce the stress in other areas. He also delves into the drastic consequences of cutting IT staff even as cities come to rely more on IT for operations. If your city is thinking of cutting back on its IT staff or project, you might want to check out this interview for some great insights into how to reduce the strain without making the painful cuts.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Tim Verras, Director of Marketing and Customer Experience
We’ve been tracking Google’s efforts to provide super fast broadband to a few lucky cities around the nation. As Google begins to award the bids and roll out the services, it’s launched a website to keep cities everywhere informed on the progress. The site also acts as a call to action to get cities more involved in improving internet access in their area.  Essentially, Google is making the case (and rightfully so) that like sewer and water, internet access is a critical part of a city’s infrastructure. Check the site out for some great information and a very Google-ly YouTube video to explain the program.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Dave Mims, President
Everyone here at Sophicity wishes you a safe, happy, and respectful Fourth of July weekend!

Fresh ideas and hard work are what made this country what it is and we are proud to help cities continue to improve and provide examples of how government can be effective, efficient, and energetic!

Thanks to all who have fought, planned, and worked to make our country great!

Monday, June 28, 2010
Kevin Howarth, Director of Business Development
We just got back from the GMA convention in Savannah and as always GMA put on a great show. It was great time to sit down with city decision makers from all over Georgia and learn what was on their minds. The biggest topics of conversation seemed to revolve around two things: City websites and project management. Many cities are starting to realize that having a good web presence is now an absolutely necessary part of their overall city strategy. Many are looking to update or redesign their current websites. Also, because it is budget season, many are looking at the potential of putting projects into action and are looking to make sure they are managed properly. IT projects can go bad real fast if the people managing the project aren’t in good shape.

Savannah was beautiful, stormy, and steamy. We even saw a few double and triple rainbows. It’s hard not to like a city with so much charm! Thanks to all who stopped by our booth to say hi!

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