Balancing Short-Term Wins & Long-Term Goals for Public Safety Agencies

Cities often struggle with the sheer magnitude of competing priorities. This isn’t a new development, nor is it an unfamiliar battle for public safety officials. However, the environment surrounding these competing priorities has changed. Modern public safety agencies face a widening scope of mission and mounting pressure from the public and media to immediately respond to and enact change for seemingly every hot topic issue that arises.

For example, police departments are being pushed to purchase body cameras and quickly find new ways to deliver transparency to citizens. At the same time, they must balance these pressing issues with investing in long-term plans, such as modernizing computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems for next-gen communications or expanding analytics capabilities for predictive policing strategies.

So, how do public safety agencies choose between long-term gains and quick wins? The truth is, there is no simple answer. However, the best strategies will ensure short-term actions also contribute to longer term-goals.

The Struggle to Implement New Technologies


A key example of public safety agencies needing to weigh long-term vs. short-term gains is technology investment. On one hand, new technology can bring with it many long-term benefits. For example, implementing a next-generation CAD system allows public safety agencies to communicate with citizens in new ways by receiving more types of data such as SMS, chat messaging, video, and images that could potentially be life-saving. Additionally, linking CAD to new reporting and analytical technologies can help agencies increase productivity, boost capacity, and provide insights to enhance a wider policing strategy. But, on the other hand, new technologies can be expensive, time-consuming to research and implement, and have a learning curve.

Harnessing the Cloud to Achieve Goals


One way agencies are finding it easier to implement new technologies is by deploying in the cloud. As well as offering a fast, predictable roll-out, the cloud allows agencies to take advantage of new innovations while minimizing the capital expenditure needed for deployment. This reduces the resources required to maintain the solution and ensures it’s always up-to-date, which also eliminates disruptive system upgrades in the future.

The cloud is one of the few technologies that allows agencies to achieve both short-term and long-term benefits. The lower total cost of ownership and enhanced cybersecurity are considered short-term wins, and its scalable technological capabilities allow agencies to achieve their long-term goals.



Public safety agencies are facing unprecedented pressures and strapped resources, making each major decision even more crucial. However, it’s imperative to balance tactical and aspirational goals because although delivering isolated, short-term wins is far easier, short-term wins that also build toward long-term goals are what brings value and transformational benefits.

To find out more about how you can address short-term gains and long-term goals or learn more about solving safe city problems, download IDC’s new white paper Digital Transformation in the Platform: Unique Ways of Solving Complex Safe City Problems.


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