INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: CITYWIDE CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER

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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: CITYWIDE CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER
Problem Identification:
Information technology management within the five studied departments and throughout the rest of City government is highly decentralized. No technology oversight responsibility exists for establishing a Citywide IT vision, managing common applications and infrastructure, and setting standards to ensure the interoperability of systems.

Recommended Action:
Elevate the Chief Information Officer (CIO) position to cabinet level and create an independent IT department.

Classification:
Cost Savings, Organizational

Functional/Operational Area:
Citywide

Estimated Annual Impact:
While the immediate financial impact cannot be estimated, costs for technology projects should be reduced through the development and enforcement of standards and project proposal reviews.

Estimated Implementation Costs:
Not Determined

Barriers to Implementation:
None

Projected Implementation:
90 days

Next Steps:
Extract the Bureau of Information Technology Services (BITS) from the Finance Department and elevate the City’s CIO to a cabinet-level position.

Analysis:
In the absence of an overall governing entity, City departments have established their own internal IT organizations. As a result, systems strategies have been developed independent of a shared vision for technology and, consequently, there are no technology standards in place to facilitate the efficient and effective delivery of information.

Strong overall IT oversight is essential in order to implement the systems and technologies necessary to improve operations and to realize related efficiencies through reducing duplicative effort and sharing data across departments. A centralized IT department should be responsible for functions and applications which cross departmental boundaries. Critical IT infrastructure components must have a unified direction in order to be effective. These components include wide area networks, electronic mail, and voice communications. Certain applications should also be under central control in order to ensure equal access for all City departments. Not only are core financial and payroll applications appropriate for centralization, but applications such as GIS cannot effectively serve multiple departments while development is under the control of a single user.

It is important to note that this recommendation does not suggest elimination of the IT functions within an individual department. It does recommend that infrastructure and non-department specific applications be governed by an organization with a broad strategic view of technology. The senior IT managers within the operating departments should continue to report to their department heads, however, they would also have a “dotted line” reporting relationship to the CIO. This federation approach to technology management, wherein a central governing body has responsibility for setting overall direction, maintains IT functions within the departments to respond directly to departmental priorities.

Providing empowered technology leadership should have a positive impact on the costs of developing and implementing technology as follows:

– Ensuring that standards are developed and met should reduce the costs associated with integrating applications;

– Reviewing application development plans should reduce the number of costly ground-up development projects and increase the use of less expensive packaged software; and

– Providing a project budget review should ensure budget estimates are in line with project scope.