Scaling Down The Redundant Data

Charles T. Thompson, CIO, City of Houston
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Charles T. Thompson, CIO, City of Houston

Things done while tuning and elevating IT's relationship with the government functions process transformation efforts

We have implemented an IT Governance Model, which is really about decision rights that has the business providing guidance around a 3 year IT Strategic Plan, with 1 year operational roadmaps. The process by which we capture business requirements is called IT Continuous Planning, which dovetails into the Budget Planning process, yet happens on a more frequent basis.

The IT Advocate, sometimes called the Business Relationship Manager, is responsible and accountable for advocating on behalf of the line of business they face. A Smart CIO will quickly realizes that they cannot respond to all needs without a process by which to,Capture (IT Continuous Planning), Prioritize (IT Governance), Invest (Budget/Finance) and Deliver (Structured IT Project/Program Management) with the needs of the business in mind.

Using data to identify and reduce duplications in service; lower costs; decrease readmission and avoid adverse events

Our enterprise data management solutions enable the use of key technologies such as business intelligence applications, data and location analytics, data warehouses and eventually big data. Historically, with 25 City departments having siloed repositories and strategies, the City has not been efficient in this space. But there are efforts in progress to centralize and reuse data which is already yielding benefits and will eventually drive down costs and improve operations. The datasets are very large and support decisions for public safety, health, justice, airports, traffic, finance, and more. We recognize that some of the data is repeated (e.g. Citizen Data, address information, etc) and hence are taking steps to become more efficient. However, because of requirements for agility, performance, and workload management, these steps are very carefully being worked through detailed analysis through each phase of very complicated parallel projects.

Addressing pain points for which solutions do not exist

We will use operational efficiencies to fund innovation and investment. It is extremely dangerous to have a wish list, as we re-surface from the economic downturn from just a few short years ago. We are extremely fortunate in Houston to only have a small dip in the economy; yet, there are investments that are required for operational aspects of serving the business and the public. We ask ourselves every day, how do we provide services that increase the productivity of our employees and enable the public to be served?

Impact of social media, mobile, cloud and tablets on business environment

We are in the process of developing the end user architecture around the ‘service needs’ of the employee. The architecture will provide a foundational framework for services (devices, applications, security profiles, etc.) to improve operational efficiency, yet keep pace with the fast moving rate of change within emerging technologies.Our focus on an ongoing basis is to understand the government value of social media, mobile, cloud and all other emerging technologies through research. We then use that research and knowledge to develop strategies that the businesses can take advantage of to fulfill our objectives. We recognize the impact of these trends not just in local government, but also in the citizen’s lives. We realize that the public will force the strategies to the surface, or our customer’s customers will go around IT, so we try to be ahead of the demand so that we can be properly prepared before the technologies outpace us.

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