I think workflow applications may have the most potential for positive impact toward increasing effectiveness and efficiency within large organizations such as county government. They can be used to streamline any business process that involves multiple people / approvals / forms etc. You can even author a 311 workflow such as this example. It might be very effective for inter department processes. Joget is the candidate technology. It is completely free and open source with web interfaces for all administrative tasks. You don’t need a developer or IT admin to create and maintain workflows once the infrastructure is setup.
Business Data Applications
Some data is too complex to efficiently store in excel but creating business data apps can be expensive. The team has had some success with LightSwitch which allows you to create simple business data apps very quickly. One of Ardent’s interns developed an app to track contracts, resources and resource allocations. An app to track service records on county vehicles is one example that is very doable.
Content / Document Management Systems
We have done some research into Alfresco which is a free and open source CMS that has been successfully leveraged by large and small government organizations. It has very good records management capability as well.
We wish there were more comprehensive open source 311 systems. The best one seems to be http://www.fixmystreet.com/ which is fairly specific to one aspect of 311. If the county does look at for fee 311 systems I recommend staying with something that conforms to the Open311 standard.
Real Time Bus Tracking
The county currently has integrated with Google for publishing route and schedule information. It would be a fun project to integrate real time tracking. However GPS enabled phones with data plans would be required. Although this is a neat project it has some significant complexity so we may want to keep it in the backlog.
I am active in the larger Gov 2.0 community and recently submitted my app for the Apps for the Environment Challenge. The younger volunteers do not have significant GIS experience so it might not be a good candidate project.
Everyone wants to work on mobile since it is such a growing sector. Obviously there are lots of potential applications for the county.