Puerto Rico should speed up its way toward a comprehensive optimization of its IT systems which will result in efficient services and will enable the economic development of Puerto Rico.
Updating government technology involves changing obsolete equipment that still remains in most government offices. The plan to lead the island into the 21st century should also include training employees and recruiting skilled resources for new jobs.
In January 2017, Governor Ricardo Rosselló stipulated created, through an executive order, the Puerto Rico Innovation and Technology Service (PRITS), as well as the role of Chief Information Officer, aiming and speeding up the government's information and communication systems.
The PRITS office would be the administrative structure in charge of developing intregrated technological projects. In order to do this, the executive order proposed to hire skilled resources that would achieve the goal of intregating data from different agencies and avoid unnecessary redundancies.
The order emerges from the recognition of the need for such a structure to provide efficient services to citizens and businesses and for the government to save money and resources.
Specifically, the order proposes to establish an integrated system with all the government´s revenues, and other projects aimed at improving the capture and remittance of the sales and use tax (SUT) in transactions with debit or credit cards.
This is certainly an important goal in the efforts to achieve tax justice and balance public finances by collecting unreported income.
The directive also has the objective of implementing accountability systems that will favor the efficient use of state resources and transparency in public management.
Achieving this goal would help in a key area that has been long left behind: accountability. This would help position Puerto Rico in the confidence and credibility level that investors and the United States government demand from local authorities.
Multiple legal and analysis government offices are among the factors that prevented the government from reaching updated systems in all agencies.
PR-PC 749 Bill introduced on February 7, 2017, to establish the Puerto Rico Innovation & Technology Service (PRITS), recognizes that the government´s structure is traditional and inofficious, with services, information systems and technology that do not communicate with each other.
It also states that the Administration recognizes the need to keep evolving in technological innovation and use it to achieve efficiency in the administration by speeding up processes and reaching quality services.
For example, the Puerto Rico Department of Treasury is expected to adopt an agreement signed with the US government to delegate the monitoring of systems to identify gaps that put cybersecurity at risk to the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Such initiatives should help the Department of Treasury to avoid attacks to its system such as the one that involved data loss and $ 30 million per day.
For Puerto Rico to be a fertile ground to generate and expand businesses, it needs to have an advanced technological infrastructure that simplifies public management and makes the efficient use of resources transparent. This way, the island will position itself on the way of global competitiveness.