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While the development of citizen-facing applications like podcasts and RSS feeds sometimes get lots of attention, the 2010 Digital Counties Survey announced in July found that more practical projects really are the ones dominating county IT departments' efforts.

The survey ­- conducted annually by Government Technology's Digital Communities program ­- measures trends in county IT deployments, priorities and challenges. This year's survey found large increases in what have long been considered government IT best practices: joint service deliveries, data center consolidations and mergers of redundant agencies.

While historically many agencies have resisted such efforts, the combination of declining tax revenues, staff reductions and cuts in operating hours have increased reliance on e-government and are necessitating collaborative and cross-jurisdictional projects, according to many Digital Counties survey respondents.

The survey found that agency managers are becoming more open-minded about relinquishing control and adopting new technologies as agency work forces are reduced. And 52 percent of respondents said they may cut public service delivery -- a 16 percent increase over 2009.

Many respondents believe the changes happening in their IT departments are more than temporary -- they're creating new standards for doing business. These trends may be resulting in more livable and economically sustainable solutions for the long term.

Power of Staff Reductions

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Andy Opsahl  | 

Andy Opsahl is a former writer and features editor for Government Technology magazine.