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New York City : Blueprint for Cloud-enabled economic transformation

The two most fundamental requirements of any new technology investment will be covered in our upcoming webinar this week, ‘MaaS’ – Municipality as a Service.

Ultimately ROI planning boils down to asking how will this new investment enable our organization to save money, and to make money?

MaaS offers the potential for both, and via reviews of case studies like the City of New York, we will be showcasing what the innovation leaders are pioneering to achieve these goals.

ITaaS

How it will save money is a very easy answer for Cloud services, headlined under the banner term of “ITaaS”, standing for ‘IT as a Service’.

Moving from a ‘buy and own your hardware’ approach to IT to a service-centric one will transform the cash flow requirements of your organization and present multiple opportunities for cost saving.

Recently Cisco explained this effect in their recent white paper Enabling IT as a Service (11-page PDF).

Local Innovation Clusters

As we’ve all experienced during this economic meltdown the second part of driving growth is much harder, and this is why identifying and sharing innovative new best practices is so important.

In the case of NYC their program blends together foundations of Open Government, Citizen engagement, universal Internet access and an industry stimulation focus to communicate an exciting vision of Policy Leadership that will encourage and enable a new generation of entrepreneurs.

The Roadmap for the Digital City (65-page PDF) from NYC describes their strategy for Cloud Computing and Open Government. The City leveraged these new technologies to publish Open Data and build an Apps Store for citizens to use and contribute to.

With goals of attracting new engineering talent to the city and providing technology to support more entrepreneurism, they’re accurately linking investments in social media and IT platforms to meaningful outcomes.

They operate over 200 social media channels, blogs, newsletters and mobile applications, and wire these up to citizen interfaces like 311 services, with the heart of this technology described as the Cloud-based Open Data API:

“The single greatest request from the developer community was nearly uniform: a RESTful Read/Write api, or Application Programming Interface, for public data and services. Some commentators added that open source software will ensure that data is easily, lawfully extractable and processable. Developers also advocated for a secure, cloud-based infrastructure to ensure scalability. An api enables different software programs to communicate with each other, supporting an ecosystem of tools and features powered by an application.”

They explain how this technology platform will play a central role in enabling them to realize a compelling vision:

“The City of New York will build on this success by embracing the opportunity to become the world’s most comprehensively Open Government. Using technology to enable even greater access to information and services, the City of New York, led by doitt, will create a powerful nyc Platform that supports innovation, efficiency, and economic growth.”

This program has already delivered considerable economic benefits most notably:

“New York City runs the most advanced municipal Open Data initiative on the globe, with over 350 government data sets that serve as the backbone for independently created applications that attracted over $6 million private investment.”

Without spending any additional funding New York has simply used their existing technology and information assets smarter, and attracted new Venture Capital!

Even better, they’re improving citizen service access methods, which in turn drives down costs, and the byproduct of this process is they attract new investors and catalyze new local businesses. That’s like eating chocolate cake and getting thinner!

Additionally they’re then maximizing this effect with key involvement from the Center for Economic Transformation at NYCEDC, who operate a City network of eight incubators where they provide access to low-cost office space for new startups who have then raised more than $20m in venture funding and created over 500 new jobs.


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