January 9, 2013 By Colin Wood
Maricopa County, Ariz., is looking at technology upgrades across nearly every agency following the appointment of the county's new CIO. David Stevens took the helm as permanent CIO on Oct. 29, following his service as deputy CIO for the Infrastructure, Communications and Technology Department. Stevens became interim CIO in July 2012, following the departure of Steve Wetzel, who left for new opportunities in the private sector.
Stevens has a long history with the county, previously as CIO of the county's court system. That experience could prove valuable as the scope of Stevens' job expands. “Pretty much every domain across technology that impacts business here in the county, there's something happening,” Stevens told Government Technology. “There are a lot of great projects in the works.”
David Stevens, CIO, Maricopa County, Ariz. Photo courtesy of Maricopa County.
Among those projects is the county's recently launched Enhanced Regulatory Outreach web portal. The portal is envisioned as a public clearinghouse and discussion forum for regulatory issues such as air quality, transportation, and planning and development. Through the website, Stevens said, the county hopes to provide “aggressive transparency” by allowing citizens to follow and comment on regulatory changes affecting the county.
The county is also in the midst of implementing a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program that will allow government workers to use “any device, anywhere, any time.” Currently in a pilot phase, the BYOD project is expected to enter final planning stages in June 2013.
The county also intends to build out its infrastructure so that it can better support future improvements. There are plans to replace their 20-year-old telephone system with a VoIP system. “It's very exciting. It's going to touch every member of the county and offer new opportunities for communication through video and other collaborative communication tools,” Stevens said. Beginning in May, the county will also begin an upgrade of its public radio system with more advanced technology.
In addition, Stevens wants to expand the county's GIS capabilities and upgrade the ERP system. Perhaps most importantly, Stevens said, his department is working to build relationships and trust between departments so that these projects can be successfully implemented.
The CIO's office is meeting with other county agencies in order to establish connections and help others understand how technology can help solve problems in county government. “Something I talk about a lot here in the organization is relational capital. Building those relationships, trust and understanding the local needs is paramount to making any technology initiative successful," he said. "Listening and understanding their challenges is central to my management and leadership style and ultimately we're seeking to create collaboration and roundtables and leadership groups across the county's federated environment to implement some of these challenging changes.”
Phoenix, Ariz. image from Shutterstock.
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