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Social media shows strong growth in state and local contracting


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State and local governments are using social media solutions for IT in virtually every area of government, according to a new report from Deltek.
The new report, Social Media in State & Local Government, a New Paradigm for Engagement and Innovation 2012, also suggests state and local governments will likely need help from contractors to do more, particularly in a handful of functions.
Analyzing opportunities from 2008 through 2012, Deltek shows particularly heavy social media use in higher education, general government, economic development, transportation, social services, and health care. Comparing state and local government solicitations from the third quarters of 2009 through the third quarter of 2012, Deltek analysts found strong growth and projected increased government solicitations through 2013.
For example:
·         In Health Care IT, government is looking to use social media to connect customers with service providers, and get feedback that will help improve customer service.
·         In Emergency Communications, governments are starting to integrate both third party platforms and their own emergency and disaster response software into systems that allow multi-directional emergency communication, including crowdsourcing disaster data. First responders in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy benefited from these systems in some areas.
·         In Educational Technology, schools are using social media to encourage engagement and manage class content. Higher education is building social media into student information systems, driving content and information among all members of the university communities.
·         Agency Human Resources professionals are turning increasingly to social media for both hiring and internal employee communications.
·         Transportation IT systems are using mobile applications to help citizens navigate public transit more easily.
Agencies have even turned toward social media for internal processes, managing service tickets for IT needs and facilities repairs, taking advantage of the anytime/anywhere collaboration of social media to streamline the work environment.

Governments are looking for help with using tried and true social media solutions, third party platforms, and integrating social media into their websites.

They are also looking to pay developers for purpose-built mobile apps with social media components that help government directly engage with citizens, deliver services, and gather data wherever citizens use government services, through their smart mobile devices.

In the short term, there will be opportunities to integrate social media into existing government enterprise applications. In particular, these will include health care IT, emergency communications, customer relations management educational technology, GIS/location-based, human resources, student information systems, and transportation IT.

In the long run, companies that can integrate mobile technologies into every IT solution will win contracts over those who can't.

Terms like "smart cities" and "smart government" win headlines for government officials – and sometimes win elections. Actually developing them, however will fall to industry. Companies that can deliver mobile apps that deliver improved services to citizens and gather data from them, and assist government in analyzing the big data that results from smart government efforts, will find a growing market in state and local government for years to come
This article was originally published on AOL Government.
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