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Budgeting and Long-Range Planning: Best Practices from Award Winners

Saturday, April 15, 2017  
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Annually, the Municipal Information Systems Association of California (MISAC) presents Awards for Excellence in Technology Practices to outstanding member cities and special districts. Among last year’s winners, Anaheim, Encinitas, Fresno, Foster City, Moreno Valley, Riverside and Santa Clara demonstrated exceptional strength in budgeting and strategic planning, making them exemplary entities for professionals to draw from and potentially collaborate with while planning for the next fiscal year.  

 

Prospective award recipients are assessed through a 107-question application process spanning 11 categories related to technology: budget and strategic planning, purchasing, operations and staffing, customer satisfaction, internet, project management and application development, professional development and training, disaster preparation and recovery, security, GIS and base levels of service. Applicants’ strengths in budget and strategic planning are evaluated through a series of eight questions within the application.

 

Award-winner City of Santa Clara begins the IT operating budget development process approximately two months prior to the budget submission deadline and requires contribution from key stakeholders in departments and the IT department. Additionally, the IT operating team spends a half-month to one month making final adjustments following discussion with the City Manager.

 

Award-winner City of Santa Clara begins the IT operating budget development process approximately two months prior to the budget submission deadline and requires contribution from key stakeholders within the IT department. Additionally, the IT operating team spends a half-month to one month making final adjustments following discussion with the City Manager.

 

In their award-winning application, the City of Moreno Valley stated, “Executive involvement in the [Technology Services Governance Committee], the City’s policy requiring Technology Services’ approval of any technology-related purchase, coupled with close working relationships among Departments results in a high level of engagement and cooperation.”

 

Agencies with strengths in budget and strategic planning incorporate new technologies strategically. Alignment with the city’s objectives, goals and responsibilities must be ensured prior to the implementation of new technologies.  

 

Prior to fiscal year budget development, award-winner City of Moreno Valley uses their Technology Services Governance Committee (TSGC) to align technology investments with city wide priorities. In their application, the city stated that “The committee has resulted in a partnership between the Technology Services (TS) Division and City departments that ensures the alignment of business needs, available resources, and technology investments while also minimizing the risks associated with large technology projects.”

 

An IT strategic plan is an integral component of all agencies that have demonstrated excellent governance practices in budget and strategic planning. Award winners display strategic plans that are directly tied into the IT budget and implement processes that ensure the plan will remain funded.

 

Interested in applying for an award yourself? Here are some of the criteria MISAC considers when recognizing programs:

  • Percentage of agency’s annual budget related to information technology.
  • Engagement of information technology manager/director in developing the agency’s annual information technology budget.
  • Mechanisms for replacement of major hardware, software and other infrastructure.
  • Incorporation of new technologies.
  • Strategic planning development and maintenance.
  • Engagement of information technology manager/director in agency’s strategic planning meetings.

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