The merger between a global tech industry advocate and a locally focused professional development group will bring new resources to government IT decision-makers, with an early emphasis on counties.
The Computing Technology Industry Association, a global nonprofit industry advocate and professional development organization, has absorbed the locally focused Public Technology Institute, promising to bring international resources and expertise to PTI’s work with city and county governments.
Established in 1971 through a grant from the National Science Foundation, PTI consists of private vendors who sell technology to the public sector, and public jurisdictional members, such as chief information officers and other staff, who use PTI for professional development.
The merger, announced Tuesday, will allow CompTIA and PTI to take advantage of each other’s resources, advise local governments on emerging technologies and boost communication between elected officials and technology vendors.
CompTIA Executive Vice President of Industry Relations Nancy Hammervik said CompTIA has been working with PTI for a few years, and they found a lot of overlap in their respective missions. She pointed out that both focus on networking, education, thought leadership, certifications, advocacy and philanthropy. But with only about 70 members, PTI could do with a bigger footprint.
“PTI was doing great work, but they were a very small organization, and it’s hard to have impact with the budget and resources that they had,” she said. “CompTIA is a large organization. Our revenues are about $70 million and we have a global focus, so we have a very wide network. We have a strong association management team, a strong research team, marketing team, all the resources they need. Our intent is only to help PTI expand the good work they were doing.”
According to a news release, PTI’s corporate vendor members will integrate into the CompTIA State & Local Government and Education Public Sector Council (SLED), while PTI’s government members will form a new CompTIA Public Sector Council with its own set of association governance and bylaws. These members will participate in CompTIA events when appropriate, but not engage in public policy committees or have a say in the association’s legislative priorities. PTI’s board of directors will become an executive council to advise CompTIA.
Hammervik said a focus of the new partnership will be to use research and case studies to bring best practices to county-level IT decision-makers. She cited the procurement process as one place to start, since the public sector’s approach is often dated and based on buying hardware, as opposed to planning for a cloud environment.
Hammervik also pointed out that, with many gov tech innovations aimed at “smart cities” and therefore the local level, giving resources and education to local players will become increasingly important.
“One of the challenges with the tech industry is just trying to keep up with everything, understanding what technologies are out there, how they integrate with legacy platforms and infrastructures,” she said. “So we want to create this environment where our members can learn from each other, stay relevant and bring efficiency through shared learning.”