Balancing Essential Work and Emergency Budgets

Essential Services versus Emergency Budgets Balance Graphic

Balancing Essential Work and Emergency Budgets

Exponential Leaders in Government will balance essential projects and fiscal stewardship in order to navigate the path forward.

Government contract limits are a new symptom of the global pandemic. Reducing planned expenditures is a vital effort to mitigate the economic impact on local and state coffersThis means ambitious modernization projects are becoming backloggedand many departments are feeling the squeeze as they adjust their IT roadmaps for the foreseeable future.  

With effects from the pandemic expected to reverberate for the next few years, exponential government leaders must focus on mission-critical projects that meet time-sensitive needs, enable safe and effective telework, and realize budget savingsThe goal is balancing essential services with financial responsibility.  

Here are five IT initiatives that could make the biggest impact on these desired outcomes:

1. Cloud-Based Business & Collaboration / Telework 

In the effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, every State entity needs to enable their workforce to telework effectively. Cloud-based tools are key to maintaining productivity, organization, team communication, and morale. Security, of course, is a paramount concern for public sector leaders. We recommend leading cloud solutions such as AWS, Azure and O365 for government bodies seeking a secure and robust, centralized remote work platform. Best practices include identity management and access such as Single Sign-On (SSO).  

There’s good news: due to the pandemic, many cloud tools are offering free trials so you can defray and delay costs (listed on our Essential Services page). Just make sure you have the right partner to help you configure them for your environment, so that your team can make the most out of teleworking.

2. Remote Security & Cybersecurity Training 

There are inherent security risks to remote workplace constructs, especially with a newly distributed team that may be unfamiliar with using VPNs or other security tools. Compromised government data would be a catastrophe, so cybersecurity—and cybersecurity training—has never been more important for your agency. The best security measures you could implement at this juncture are a combination of hardening security infrastructure (such as access management software), updating security policy (including backup and restore for recovery), and training your staff to recognize and mitigate potential security hazards.  Request a security assessment & remediation, or virtual cybersecurity training for your IT staff and frontline workers at 

3. Business Continuity Services 

This crisis is testing every organization's capabilities. In the effort to continue serving citizens effectively and reliably, business continuity planning is of paramount importance. Work with a partner like Direct Technology’s IT Services team to build a business continuity plan. Creating a roadmap for the next few years could help enormously with updating budgets, prioritizing time-sensitive critically needed projects, and creating a staffing plan to achieve your department’s goals – all while helping keep services stable through impending hardships. A little investment now may prevent a lot of mitigation later, as we ride out the rest of the pandemic’s effects. 

4. Digital Accessibility Services & Remediation 

Speaking of time-sensitive critical needs: As government rapidly transitions services to online options during the effort to reduce social contact, ensuring information and services are accessible to all your constituents is more important than ever—not to mention required by AB-434. Departmental websites are changing every day to reflect new information that must be disseminated quickly. Are you sure all of it is accessible to people with disabilities? Accessibility remediation and monitoring is a smart project to outsource, since it can be performed remotely and intermittently by experts, without taking time away from your team’s main roles. 

5. Flexible Hiring for Essential Positions

Public sector departments must use discretion when filling vacancies in an environment of severely constrained resources. For mission-critical IT projects, contractors may offer advantages in speed by (minimizing lengthy hiring cycles) and savings (since the government agency avoids overhead costs and maintains flexibility in hours). Fractional services also offer flexibility; once the critical need has been addressed, it's simple to adjust to other priorities in your organization. Direct Technology can take care of hiring vetted professionals, onboarding and offboarding, which will help you keep hiring tight and achieve the personnel budget savings you need. 


Exponential Leaders in Government will balance essential projects and fiscal stewardship in order to navigate the path forward. 

We understand how challenging it is to look at your agency’s IT roadmap and see an uncertain future for your planned modernization and innovation projects. This is a time for leadership and agility like never before. Using the 6 principles, Exponential Leaders can identify and prioritize the critical IT projects with the biggest bang for your buck.   

As you shift your plans and budgets to maximize customer service and decrease economic impact, your agency will serve Californians thrice over: through your services, your savings, and your partnerships with local businesses. 

Finally, from all of us at Direct Technology to all of you: Thank you for your unwavering public service in the face of uncertainty and hardship. We stand ready to assist you in serving the Human Side of Technology. Visit our Essential Services Page to learn more about what we can do to help.  


You can schedule an Essential Services Consultation with our GovSolutions Director, Kyle Keyser and IT Services Manager, Jared Coleman on our meeting scheduler. 

In our first article on Accelerating Exponential Growth,we asked the question: “How does a government agency (often grappling with tight budgets, aging infrastructure, and competing citizen and political priorities) move through modernization to acceleration? 

The answer lay within the six characteristics of exponential leadership (from Ismail’s Exponential Organizations): 

  1. Visionary Customer Advocacy 
  2. Data-Driven Experimentalism 
  3. Optimistic Realism 
  4. Extreme Adaptability 
  5. Radical Openness
  6. Hyper-Confidence


Catch up on the entire series at

"Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together." – James C. Penney​