Category: Technology & IT Procurement

Technology & IT Procurement

Implementing eGovernment: 3 Lessons from Estonia

State governments across the country have switched to work from home to comply with quarantine orders. This has closed some state offices, significantly reduced the hours of other state offices, and has caused wide-spread delays in citizens receiving services across the country. This has created a demand to expand eGovernment services and, according to the United Nations survey, some world governments have responded to this demand by making more government services available online. As more states expand eGovernment services, lessons can be learned from how one country went almost 100% online years ago: Estonia.

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Technology & IT Procurement

Can’t Touch This: No touch/low touch solutions

Raise your hand if you have touched at least four things today that do not belong to you. Keep your hand up if your toddler touched an additional seventeen things that do not belong to you. What if there were ways to reduce the number of things you and your toddler touch? Would you buy or use them? Read more “Can’t Touch This: No touch/low touch solutions”
Technology & IT Procurement

Back to School Technology: Are You Ready?

Most districts and states have begun working through the logistics of returning to school for faculty, staff, and students. Many lessons were learned over the spring and early summer about how to implement distance education and working from home. However, access and digital security issues remain. Unfortunately, these issues will not be resolved unless we take in the entire landscape of making the digital connection from students to instructors in a virtual environment. Below are some things to consider.

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Technology & IT Procurement

The State of Cybersecurity: 3 Bold Plays for Change

In March 2018, the city of Atlanta suffered a ransomware attack that compromised the data of their employees and anyone who conducted business with the state and ended costing $2.6 million in emergency contract efforts[1]. When Louisiana was attacked in November of 2019, 10% of the state’s servers were infiltrated and some 1,500 computers were damaged.  These examples demonstrate cybersecurity should be a top priority for procurement officers to protect the sensitive information of both vendors and staff. Understanding the issues and goals of your state Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) can pave the road toward a more productive working relationship and allow procurement officers to address increasing cybersecurity threats as partners.

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Technology & IT Procurement

Data Privacy and Security: Where Are We in 2019?

Scary stories of cybersecurity incidents, ransomware attacks, data breaches, and/or data privacy violations have sadly become a part of life now. News reports, such as the recent Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal, show how private companies’ lax policies on data sharing and lack of proper auditing leave room for data misuse and abuse. Individuals are entitled to know what information private companies or government organizations have on them and how it is shared and protected. As citizens and consumer advocates are becoming more aware of data privacy and security risks, they are calling upon state and federal government to enact regulations so that living in the digital age doesn’t turn every-day social media users into commodities for companies that are willing to “trade” their personal information to make a profit. Read more “Data Privacy and Security: Where Are We in 2019?”
Technology & IT Procurement

Blockchain: The Public Sector Big Picture

The private sector has invested more than 1.4 billion dollars in blockchain since 2014. To put this number into context, this is on par with the amount of money spent on internet investments during the early 90’s! What do you know about blockchain? Personally, I knew almost nothing besides the fact it was a technology people were excited about and that it had something to do with Bitcoin. Luckily for me, Procurement U recently released a free course entitled “Blockchain: The Public Sector Big Picture”. This course provided me with a basic understanding of how blockchain works and explains it in a simple, approachable way through videos and interactive graphics.  As someone who is not the most technically savvy, I can say that this course helped me understand blockchain and made me excited about its potential uses. This course goes over how blockchain works and how it can be used in procurement. Take this Procurement U course to start exploring blockchain and its uses in your office!

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Technology & IT Procurement

Top Tips for Procuring Accessible Technology

Imagine trying to use a computer without a mouse. Imagine trying to watch a video without speakers. Imagine trying to type an email on your phone without being able to see the screen. These are all  examples of inaccessibility – and we can imagine how frustrating that would be. Accessible technology means that everyone can use the same technology, no matter how they need to manipulate it in order to process information.
So why is accessible technology so important to procurement?

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Technology & IT Procurement

Building a Procurement Team for a Digital Future

Want your procurement staff to be ready for the next big thing? There is undeniable value in a staff that is savvy with current technology, but how do you prepare your staff to be ready to keep up with the digital trend that’s here to stay? In many cases, trends come and go, but sometimes they are the forces that drive innovation and success for businesses worldwide. Organizations of all sizes who embrace changing times are better able to develop strategies to manage change in a way that positions themselves for the future. Digitalization is achieved through the use of technology to strengthen existing processes and practices. It can also be looked at as the thread that is woven through multiple silos of information as means to integrate people, processes, and data throughout an organization. Outside of cost savings, there is value in digital efficiency, especially since procurement plays a vital role in shaping strategic models that support the execution of a multitude of contractual goods and services.

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Technology & IT Procurement

The Age of AI: Will Robots Take Over? Part…

Living in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
In the previous installment of this two-part series I discussed the amazing transformation and evolution made possible by automation and technology advancements of the 20th century. Today’s technology transformations such as robotics, artificial intelligence, biotechnologies, and the Internet-of-Things will have a great impact on society, disrupting every industry and improving many aspects of our personal and work lives. They also create problems for governments around the world that must now figure out how to regulate this new environment and respond to socio-economic concerns such as displacement of workers by automation, or inequality.
Of all big tech companies using AI to enhance their products or services, Amazon is clearly leading the pack with home automation products like Alexa, its version of a personal assistant. Facebook has recently sunset “M,” which hoped to take current personal assistants to the next level where the trained AI machine would have had the same knowledge as the user and do more things than regurgitating various scenarios scripted by app developers. However, the race to lead in AI as a service is on.

Read more “The Age of AI: Will Robots Take Over? Part II”

Technology & IT Procurement

The Age of AI: Will Robots Take Over? Part…

The Benefits of Automation
The Technological Revolution, including automation in manufacturing and the automotive industry is synonymous with great innovations and rapid developments taking place during the Second Industrial Revolution in the late 19th century through the early 1900s. Advancements like the assembly line and automated machines, which replaced work that used to be performed manually, led to positive outcomes, including efficiency and mass production of manufactured goods at significantly higher rates.
It’s a known fact that in a manufacturing setting, robotics and automated machines improve productivity and reduce labor costs. And yes, they replace workers. So, it is not surprising that businesses will always embrace automation. To business, automated machines are like the perfect worker who works seven days a week, never takes breaks, never asks for a raise, and never gets sick. Sounds like a deal you simply cannot resist, doesn’t it? Ask the same question of a blue-collar worker displaced due to automation and expect a different answer.

Read more “The Age of AI: Will Robots Take Over? Part I”