Addressing the ‘You can’t still be using that!’ conundrum

It’s great to be part of the OpenText™ Public Sector team, after more than 20 years working at a senior level within U.S. government agencies….

Keith Nelson profile picture
Keith Nelson

May 31, 20224 minute read

It’s great to be part of the OpenText™ Public Sector team, after more than 20 years working at a senior level within U.S. government agencies. I think I’m joining the company at a really exciting time because I strongly believe that agencies – wherever they are in the world – must renew their focus on information management if they are to adapt to their evolving mission needs.

In my experience, it’s the people that make the difference in the quality of public service. I’ve led teams and/or projects within the U.S. Departments of Transportation, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, Defense, Homeland Security and State – and I’ve worked with many government bodies throughout the world. I’ve learned that one thing remains constant: public-sector employees aren’t just working for a paycheck. They are big thinkers driven to go above and beyond to deliver for their public stakeholders.

There are really only two common challenges that tend to hold them back: limited budgets and antiquated systems.

Often, government will still be operating systems that other customers (and, sometimes, the suppliers themselves) have long since abandoned. I’ve heard newcomers take a look at the technology agencies use to deliver mission-critical services with millions of dollars at stake and say: ‘What?? You can’t still be using that?!’

Modernization? Think information first

Of course, we all want IT modernization. Government at all levels is trying to implement it. Thanks to innovators like Amazon and Uber, citizens expect public-sector entities to deliver a similarly frictionless experience. The only problem is that government bodies don’t have the budget or skillsets to do everything at once. That means squeezing more life out of rickety legacy systems.

I joined OpenText because I believe there needs to be a change in mindset. Today, public sector organizations worldwide are burdened with volumes of content they don’t know what to do with. They don’t know where all of it is, or how it’s stored. Typically, it’s not been properly categorized or organized. The result is that incredibly valuable information is essentially invisible and can’t help either the overworked and under-pressure public employee or the expectant citizen.

Just gaining control of the current data and content and ensuring it’s surfaced to the right person at the right time will immediately improve the mission for agencies. Government employees will become empowered to deliver more effective operations and citizen experiences. They also have the satisfaction of knowing they’re delivering on the high-minded, mission-driven purpose that drew them to working for the public sector in the first place.

As governments worldwide begin to really embrace the cloud, there’s an opportunity to explore cloud-based information management solutions that apply artificial intelligence to provide the data and content users need without them having to search for it. They’re able to surface that information from any application or repository, including those public-sector legacy systems still holding on by a thread.

That, I’m convinced, is the power of OpenText.

Not a penny wasted

I have one great passion — making sure everything is organized so that we know exactly what we’re spending money on and the results we’re getting. That’s never been as important for the public sector as it is today. Digital transformation, while necessary, is big, messy and takes a lot of time and money to achieve. Releasing the value stored in information can be an important early step in that journey without breaking the budget.

I hope you’ll consider learning more by attending the virtual OpenText World EMEA 2022 on June 21-22, and I invite you to book a meeting with me at the event.

To find out more about government solutions from OpenText, visit our website.  

Share this post

Share this post to x. Share to linkedin. Mail to
Keith Nelson avatar image

Keith Nelson

Keith Nelson is Senior Industry Strategist for Global Public Sector at OpenText. He has more than 20 years experience working in public sector high-tech and management consulting and as a government appointee. His roles in government include serving as Assistant Secretary for Administration, Chief Financial Officer, and Deputy Chief Information Officer at multiple U.S. Federal Cabinet Agencies.

See all posts

More from the author

5 highlights from the OpenText Government Summit

5 highlights from the OpenText Government Summit

Key learnings we took away from this year’s 2024 OpenText Government Summit

7 minute read

Top 6 predictions for the Public Sector in 2024

Top 6 predictions for the Public Sector in 2024

In many ways, the year 2023 seems like a table-setter for a seismic 2024. We have two escalating regional wars with global impact, an economy…

6 minute read

It’s time to modernize the public sector

It’s time to modernize the public sector

With the increase in government directives related to digital technology, such as the NARA memorandum to transition federal agencies to electronic records and the Modernizing…

5 minute read

Stay in the loop!

Get our most popular content delivered monthly to your inbox.