Working the Public Sector - Page 2

Sep 24, 2004

Esther Shein

Q: What are your primary goals for the new position?

One is IVR, an interactive voice response system. We're in the planning stages of doing it on enterprise-wide basis. Instead of just for the water department, our public works, 311 system (where non emergency calls come in) and probably another five departments that will have IVR initially. But it's being done in way so any department can use it.

Another is wireless broadband -- 70% of our workers are in field from police to trash collectors and there's a great opportunity to improve work order management by giving these workers mobile desktops so they would have access to same applications as someone in the office.

So they'd have access to GIS (global information system), voice over IP and email as a few examples, as well as the Internet. That just provides a great opportunity for us to communicate better and manage better and to rethink how we work and interact with each other and reduce a huge backlog of paper orders.

I think e-government is going to become a big factor again. Once people become connected to broadband they'll want to access services through the Internet more than they do today and the public will have high expectation for Internet services.

Q: What keeps you up at night?

A number of things. I have to try and move our organization forward while at same time keep it running and effective.

For the large part I see CIOs falling into a firefighting mode where there's so much change going on that things start breaking and it becomes an issues-management process as opposed to strategic management -- to the point where some managers sit there waiting for something to break and they lose sight of their mission.

The problem with that is then business gets frustrated because then IT isn't leading, it's trying to support.

So the things that keep me up at night are moving forward and balancing the two. You do have to put out a fire when it starts and then you have to be able to focus again to move forward on your initiatives. I'm working hard to put in a new management practice for the organization, one that's highly driven by performance metrics and planning and communication.

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