12.22.2015Enterprise Tech

Q&A with Maggie Hallbach: What is driving state and local digital government initiatives?

By: Kevin King

The City of Houston’s Office of Business Opportunity recently awarded its Purchasing Prime Contractor of the Year award to Verizon. The award recognizes a company that exemplifies commitment, excellence and support of the Office of Business Opportunity’s mission and the City of Houston’s supplier diversity program. I sat down with Maggie Hallbach, vice president of government and education markets for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, to talk about the drivers impacting the state and local government market and how technology is enabling the business of digital government.

Briefly describe Verizon Public Sector Markets?

We have built a nationwide team responsible for customer engagement and solutions development to address the increasingly complex requirements of state and local government, education and public safety clients.

Based on your discussions, what objectives are top-of-mind with state and local government IT leaders?

State and local government IT leaders are increasingly focused on outcomes. You can really distill their primary areas of focus into three categories – improving the customer experience, driving performance and managing risk. These primary areas of focus touch on a wide range of objectives, including livability (aging infrastructure, congestion), sustainability (economic growth, environmental impact) and resiliency (continuity of operations, public safety). This list is by no means comprehensive but it gives one a sense of what is top-of-mind with state and local government IT leaders.

What are some of the technologies driving digital government transformation initiatives?

In one word – networks. Intelligent networking forms the foundation of any successful digital government initiative. In fact, a recent Verizon report noted that 85 percent of IT leaders consider network connectivity critical to achieving business and operational goals. Networks, whether they are wireline-based IP networks or 4G LTE mobile broadband, for the foundation upon which other advanced technologies, such as cloud computing, advanced communications and Internet of Things are delivered. Without an underlying network that is reliable, resilient and secure, these advanced IT and communications platforms are hard pressed to deliver on their promise. Secondly, cybersecurity is absolutely essential. In fact, it goes hand-in-hand with intelligent networking in terms of creating a strong IT foundation for state and local government organizations. As more of the business of government is conducted online, the security of platforms, applications and data, oftentimes very sensitive and personal information, becomes an essential area of focus.

How can companies such as Verizon help state and local government IT leaders navigate the technology landscape and meet their operational objectives?

Technology is evolving rapidly and, similar to the federal government and enterprises across the country, state and local governments are finding it challenging to find and retain technology talent. That is where a company such as Verizon can deliver tangible value. We place high value and focus on forging strong relationships with our clients. This in turns helps us better understand their challenges and objectives, and develop solutions to help them succeed and achieve their desired outcomes. My team has deep subject matter expertise, with many having previous experience on the client side. This enables them to understand the specific goals and objectives of our customers and develop effective solutions that leverage our network-centric portfolio in the areas of cybersecurity, mobility, advanced communications, IT infrastructure and professional services. Over the past year, this approach has enabled us to help a wide range of clients in the state and local government segment, including the City of Houston, State of California, MiCTA, National Sheriffs’ Association and Boston City Public Schools.

For more information about the IT solutions Verizon provides to state and local governments, visit: http://www.verizonenterprise.com/industry/public_sector/state_local/.