Masterplans have been the order of the day with literally all key ministries articulating their road to utopia where the citizen is served efficiently and cost-effectively, corruption is neutered and a host of other benefits that read well in an election manifesto. Excellent documents in themselves, these masterplans lack the granularity that should guide the day to day in terms of the resources, infrastructure and frameworks needed at ground zero where the true implementation and adoption begins.The magnitude of what is lost in the big picture view might only come to the fore in another two years just as the election bug bites us again and we start to compare what really is and what should have been.
County heads in a mad dash to show progress and action have moved swiftly to deploy technology based solutions to address the myriad of issues affecting the citizens under their jurisdiction. The main drive I feel – courtesy of the solutions rolled out, has been primarily to increase inflows into county coffers, not a wrong motivation but that these platforms do not play well together and are synonymous with the data silos private sector has been trying to demolish that have fed inefficiencies is a reason to worry.
Future proofing is an important part of crafting any solution architecture and the core of this is standards. Data standards can be described as “documented agreements on representation, format, definition, structuring, tagging, transmission, manipulation, use, and management of data”. This allows for unique experiences to be tailored depending on the identified need but making sure platforms can talk to each other should the need arise without excessive overhead on either side.
Therefore any county head looking to leave better systems in place or at the very least come back to an ecosystem than can be plugged into the national masterplans – once those get realized at high level; must begin interrogating the solution architecture presented by the various vendors angling for county automation projects. The ICT heads should be well versed with the innards of the technology components of all national level roadmaps and distill that into the requirements for any system delivered for their use.
Flying blind on this will be costly in the long run both for those in office, the institution of government and the citizen for whom all this is being done.