The '60s band, The Byrds, famously reminded the world of something that Bible readers already knew: "To everything there is a season." (Turn, turn, turn.)
In thinking through the changes that have taken place in our state and local institutions since I began my public-service career in the early 1990s, I am struck by the notion that information and communication technology (ICT) budgets have come full circle.
In the early '90s, those of us who were involved with state and local ICT were pioneers and inventors. We were riding the wave of the technological revolution and bringing tools and capabilities to government unlike anything ever before imagined. Times were good, and we were "doing more with more."
In the mid- to late '90s, things started to normalize a little and much of the proverbial "low-hanging fruit" of system and process improvement had been at least initially harvested. The heady enthusiasm of technological "revolution" began to give way as ICT became a more routine part of public-service delivery, and the challenge became how to "do better with the same" levels of funding.
The economic expansion of the first half of the 2000s generated escalating property and sales taxes revenues that encouraged many local elected leaders to support major policy initiatives and capital projects at the same time they cut taxes in response to "excessive government surpluses." ICT was viewed as a necessary but routine business expense, and it was time to start doing "more with less" as funds were reprioritized.