"When we debate IT spending and IT initiatives, that federates my risk. It helps me make sure I'm hitting my mark," Winter says. "I don't have the dollars to do everything I want. The ITOG gives me a gut check that the priorities I've set for IT align with the company's business strategy."
IT business partners aim to better serve citizens
With approximately 608,000 citizens and 3,500 municipal employees to serve in Las Vegas, Joseph Marcella is well aware that he has a wide range of people to keep happy. "Our customer' is actually the 20 separate businesses that comprise city government, and the multiple generations of employees and citizens that make up our population," says Marcella, who is CIO and director of IT for the Las Vegas city government.
To better serve the technology needs of that diverse population, Marcella recently reorganized his IT department. "From a tech perspective, it's difficult to understand the needs of individual boards or policymakers without being hands-on in their business," he says.
To get there, Marcella first established "communities of interest," grouping together city departments and offices that share common tech needs. For example, building and safety, operations and maintenance, planning and public works all comprise the Development & Operations community of interest. Other communities include Public Safety, Community Services and Internal Services.
Two business relationship managers within the IT department, who report directly to Marcella, coordinate services for these communities of interest, aided by two or three business partners who are embedded within the various city agencies. "They actually live within the organizations," says Marcella of the business partners. "I still own' them, but we needed to have somebody on the floor to function as a community partner. They report back to the relationship managers on a weekly basis, so I can be sure we're aligning IT with what the business needs." With that flow of hands-on information, Marcella says, "priorities and funding are seldom an issue."
That structure has served Marcella well as he has moved to significantly expand the city's portfolio of digital services. With the motto "Serving you online rather than in line" as a guiding light, IT has partnered with multiple municipal departments to create a full-service, high-quality online experience for the citizens and businesses that interact with the city government.
Just one example: Applications for business licensing, permits and planning are all now online, which is of particular importance because the city is once again in the midst of a building boom, Marcella points out.
Citizens can do everything online, from checking the status of court cases and looking up warrants to locating inmates. And a new mobile app lets them report on or check the status of transportation and public safety issues, such as graffiti, potholes or out-of-service streetlights. Crews receive real-time alerts out in the field, and a GPS component ensures accuracy down to the street level.
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