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Chicago Debuts New IT, Digital Services Strategy for City

Mayor Lori Lightfoot also put two leaders in charge of the effort, including a city data specialist reporting to her office. The new effort builds upon a push to give more students Internet access at their homes.

Chicago (6)
A new effort from Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot aims to make the city’s IT systems more efficient, broaden data access, update legacy systems and boost residents’ privacy and security — and the city has put two of its tech experts in charge of that push.

According to a statement from the mayor’s office, the measures are designed “to modernize the city’s information technology to deliver more accessible city services for residents, businesses, and other constituents.”

Energy for this work comes in part from Chicago Connected, a collaborative program to connect 100,000 students to the Internet by giving them access at their homes for at least four years. This new move also follows the creation of a digital equity council for the city, which was announced earlier this year.

“As we saw with initiatives like Chicago Connected, technology, when properly wielded, has the tremendous power to uplift residents in all of our communities,” Lightfoot said in the statement. “By providing equitable access to better technological resources, we can empower our residents — giving them the tools they need to access opportunities, resources, and so much more.”

The main goals of the new push include: Lowering the cost and burden of receiving city services and benefits; updating business processes and deploying fresh technology; making more public services digitally accessible; improving data integrity; and helping city departments move past outdated systems.

“I have seen firsthand how residents will be helped by these new technology initiatives,” said 40th Ward Alderman Andre Vasquez in the statement. “As my office continues to collaborate with city agencies to build more transparency and a better customer experience into city service delivery, today’s announcement sends a strong signal that Chicago recognizes the power of technology to deliver better services.”

This new technology initiative also involves personnel changes and new jobs.

For starters, Nick Lucius takes over as chief technology officer in the Office of the Mayor, a newly created position, according to the statement. He is responsible for making sure the city’s technology strategy meets the mayor’s “goals of equity and better service delivery.”

Lucius also leads Chicago Digital Service — described by the mayor’s office as “another vital part of the city’s technology strategy.”

The service functions as what the statement described as a “collective of technology-focused city employees who work on product management, civic design, data, software engineering, and security.”

Lucius spent the last two years as Chicago’s chief data officer, and he holds a law degree as well as a master’s degree in computer science.

The city also named Kurt Peterson as its chief information officer.

According to the statement, he will manage the city’s Bureau of Innovation and Technology at AIS (AIS IT). His job is to make sure the city deploys technology that leads to more efficiency, according to the statement, along with building the tools needed for collaboration among departments.