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Is Local Government Ready for the Connected Society?

Hundreds of Local Leaders Predict Rising Effectiveness of Mobile Gov, Interactive Websites and Social Media in New Vision Internet Study

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (February 4, 2015) As the nation moves toward an ever more connected society, local governments are challenged to keep pace with citizens who demand access to information and services anywhere, anytime, on any device. The results of a North America-wide survey, released today by the government website experts at Vision Internet, reveal that local government IT and communications professionals are keenly aware of their responsibility to keep up with new technology and plan to invest in core technologies in 2015. 

“A tech rich environment will impact local government whether they want to participate or not,” warned one survey participant, “Citizens will demand it.”

“New technology is what the next generation is growing up with,” said another. “In order to communicate and collaborate with this new citizenry, we need to do it in their language.”

More than 330 government leaders, representing cities and counties with populations of less than 10,000 to more than one million, gauged the current state of digital communications and projected future trends in the December 2014 online survey.

Highlights of the study findings include:

  • More than 94 percent of those surveyed believe local governments have the responsibility to keep pace with new technology.
  • More than three quarters (77 percent) view their agency website is “essential” to their overall communications and public service strategy
  • Social media and content management systems (CMS) topped the list technology investments planned for 2015. 

At a time when 90 percent of adult Americans own a mobile phone and 63 percent of them use it to access the Internet, mobile government continues to be top of mind for municipal and county communicators. But more than half of survey respondents said their agency does not currently provide citizen-facing services using mobile devices. While funding and security concerns topped the list of obstacles to using mobile technology, more than a third (35.4 percent) plan to invest in mobile government services this year.

Survey participants almost unanimously (97.5 percent) listed “citizen convenience” as the top benefit of mobile citizen service, with “expanded communications reach” and “time/human resource savings” following in second and third place, respectively.

Comparing respondents’ views on the most effective channels for citizen communications today and tomorrow predicted an interesting shift. At the end of 2014, most respondents ranked e-mail as their most effective communications tool, followed by agency websites and social media. But in their predictions for 2020, agency websites leapfrog into the top “highly effective” spot, followed by social media and e-mail, which dropped to third.

“Municipal websites, social media, mobile gov and other digital communications tools are helping municipal and county governments become more accessible, convenient and transparent for the people they serve,” said Ashley Fruechting, Vision Internet’s director of strategic initiatives. “While harnessing the value of digital communications holds varying degrees of challenge for local government entities, this survey confirms that an overwhelming majority recognizes that doing so is key to fulfilling their roles as civil servants and delivering greater value to their constituents.”

For information about Vision Internet’s transformative government website technology, please call 888-263-8847 or visit visioninternet.com/inforequest.

About Vision Internet
Headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif., Vision Internet is a national leader in government website development with more than 600 government, non-profit and education clients in U.S. and Canadian communities with populations that range from less than 1,000 residents to more than 5 million. The company creates cost-effective solutions that increase government efficiency, transparency and interactive communications with citizens. For nearly 20 years, the company has earned hundreds of prestigious awards for its unique websites. Vision Internet’s visionCMS™ is a powerful, easy-to-use content management system developed with feedback from hundreds of municipal clients. 

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