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Chicago CIO Danielle DuMerer Works to Streamline Citizen Service Delivery

Plus updates on the Array of Things Project and the city's redesigned website.

Danielle DuMerer was Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s choice for CIO, affirmed by the City Council in June 2017. While in her current post less than a year, DuMerer is a longtime innovation and technology department staffer who joined the city in 2008 and was previously its acting CIO, chief technology officer and first deputy commissioner. She described her experience, and working for a tech-forward mayor, as great enablers.

“We are sometimes resource-constrained, but through partnerships and collaboration and just our nature of rolling up our sleeves and getting things done, all the teams here have been able to achieve quite a bit,” she said.

1. What is the city working on to improve service delivery to citizens?

The city has really been a leader in terms of how we use data and leverage that information to address policy and operations and decision-making. I think one of the things we really need to focus on now is more of that user experience, and how our residents and businesses interact with us. There’s a number of ways that we’re addressing that particular issue while at the same time transforming and modernizing. The first is the city’s 311 modernization project. We are in the process of re-engineering all of our existing processes and then we’ll be implementing that in a new platform. You’ll be able to interact through an online portal. You’ll be able to interact through an app, text, social media and  phone.

We also recently added a role. We have a design director, Jason Kunesh. He is helping our team think about how we’re going to build our technology and processes in ways that are going to be easier for people to use as a whole.

2. What’s the latest on the Array of Things project?

I think the launch of [data streams] will be very exciting. We are looking to do that this quarter. And then we’re going to continue to roll out more nodes over time. Right now … I think we’re getting close to the initial 40 [nodes] that were identified. Our goal is to roll out several nodes a week over the course of the year.

3. What is the status of the new CityKey ID card effort?

It’s in pilot right now. It’s a government ID, but it’s also your transit card, your library card and they’re looking to add in additional services and features as we go forward. It is nice to have that more streamlined service without having multiple cards in your wallet; and pairing that with what we’re doing with 311, to have these key tools, whether it’s a physical tool or a virtual one, is getting you access to services and the things you need around the city.

4. Chicago’s redesigned website, launched in October, was designed to adapt to resident input. What were the priorities with the new site, and how are responses helping change the website?

We needed to prioritize improving the mobile experience and accessibility because we know that more than half of our users come from mobile devices. And then, we also looked at making some changes with the navigation to streamline some of it.

We are collecting feedback and we’ve had some response — not as much as we would like, which is why doing concerted community engagement around the 311 project is going to be really helpful because it’s more about meeting people where they are to collect that feedback.


Theo Douglas is assistant managing editor for Industry Insider — California, and before that was a staff writer for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes covering municipal, county and state governments, business and breaking news. He has a Bachelor's degree in Newspaper Journalism and a Master's in History, both from California State University, Long Beach.