Tips for tough times

Establishing formal consortiums with neighboring state and local agencies is just one way to stretch homeland security dollars. Project managers may also opt to:

1. Fast-track a technology project. If a nearby agency is negotiating with or has contracted with a vendor offering a  solution that would work for something you still have on the drawing board, turn that project into an action item. That could induce the contractor to sell you the same services at a discount to increase the contract for little additional sales effort, said Chris Dixon, manager of state and local industry analysis for Input.

2. Piggy-back with local businesses. Sometimes public- and private-sector interests converge. For example, a municipality that has a video surveillance network can encourage local companies to conform to citywide interoperability standards when they purchase their own security equipment. That can allow a city to expand the reach of its network without footing the bill alone, said Wayne Eveland, director of business development and marketing for Motorola’s Applications and Data Solutions Organization. If there's an emergency, the city can then tap into the network of compatible cameras installed at banks, stores and other commercial entities.

3. Give incremental funding a chance. There’s a bright side when you don't have the funds to pay for a large project in one budget round, said Howard Langsam, vice president of sales and marketing for state and local government at Keane, an information technology services firm. Big-ticket, complex technology projects are often burdened with higher risks associated with technology glitches and staff members resistant to change. Instead, piecemeal implementations might benefit from successful pilot projects and the gradual introduction of features, which can make it easier for the IT staff to correct glitches before they cause widespread frustration.

About the Author

Alan Joch is a freelance writer based in New Hampshire.

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