When King County, Wash., officials discovered a lack of coherent strategies among its agencies, they created the office of information resource management with the CIO position at the helm. David Martinez' reputation with the county earned him the opportunity to help county agencies achieve technological synergy. From atop his perch as CIO, Martinez is primed to help King County streamline e-government.
Why is it important to have synergy across the county?
Business priorities. We've never had a strategic plan in King County, which is very important for synergy to occur. We've always been in a traditional management philosophy where everyone manages their own specific needs. So the synergy in terms of how we provide services to the community is even more important at this point to ensure that we are working the right priorities and maximizing our existing resources.
What role do you play in the county?
The departments in all three branches were pretty much autonomous in what they did with information technology. [The CIO position was created] to guide the county on its use of technology to promote services countywide [and] oversee policy-making, technology standardization and technology investments, which are initiatives in the concept, development and/or implementation stage.
Have you noticed a change in King County since you took the position?
I do see some changes, but at a surface level. It's going to take time to actually see the value of those changes or the end result of those changes. One of the key things is the push on coherence in terms of how we plan and how we set priorities, specifically, looking at investments. They are seeing at the branch level the authority I've been given to oversee this, as well as to be the primary spokesperson in terms of what gets forwarded to the legislation for approval. [This] used to come from many different ways and everyone was going over to seek funding. Now there's a single focus here and that's where I see most of the changes where there's more cooperation and support in that area.
What are your long-term goals as CIO?
One is a re-examination of efficiencies with our existing IT management. We have a whole combination of decentralized management, centralized management, independent management. I'd like to move the county in something that is an efficient and effective way of managing technology. [Another] is an integration strategy for the county to interconnect our legacy data and at the same time maximize that investment with an efficient, effective way of doing that integration. We have a lot of legacy systems here that date back 20 to 25 years. The philosophy on legacy systems was, "If it was not developed here then it did not meet the requirements." So there was a lot of in-house development work that's been done but [there is] no interconnection between these systems.