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Cloud Migration and Collaboration in Prince George's County

Wanda M. Gibson talks about her priorities as CIO of Prince George's County, Md., her agency's digital equity work and the lasting impact COVID-19 has had on county IT.

Wanda Gibson, CIO, Prince George's County, Md.
Wanda M. Gibson departed her position as CIO of Fairfax County, Va., in 2019 to become CIO of nearby Prince George’s County, Md., also part of the Washington, D.C., metro area. Four years and one pandemic later, Gibson spoke with Government Technology about her tech priorities and how they’ve evolved.

1. What are your top priorities this year?

We’re going to continue to focus on our cybersecurity program. We were successful putting some American Rescue Plan Act dollars toward some security initiatives. We’re also making a big push toward the cloud. As we’re implementing new business systems, most of those are going to the cloud. One of the major things we’re looking at while that is happening is data. We’re revamping our data portal.

We’re also going to work with different data reporting platforms that are more conducive to certain agencies, like in the health and human services arena. This county is big on data-driven decisions, so we are consolidating our GIS program and we’re going to be establishing a data architect over it all, working with the data itself and with the data science behind it. They’ll work with all the different agencies, helping them to develop the kinds of data analytics that they need to drive their decision-making.

We’re also focusing on public safety and the vast variety of technologies that support today’s first responders. This includes the next generation of the Internet of Things, robotics and process automation, injecting more AI into those solutions.

2. How are you working to support partner agencies in the county?

We’re revamping how we view resilience, availability and supportability. We’re getting more deeply embedded with county agencies in terms of planning, and building more platforms that can be adapted throughout the county environment. One of our big pushes is with the service desk, which we’re getting ready to move over to a new best-in-class platform.

Another big initiative we have partnered with core business-owner agencies on is e-procurement. We’re calling it buying-to-invoices. It’s a straight through workflow in one modern platform. It includes the vendor partners being able to send their invoices right through the system in the format that that product uses. Policies are being revamped and implemented with this system so things can go much faster.

3. What are you working on in terms of digital equity?

During COVID-19, the county had committees around this that included industry, citizens and government. Broadband was tabbed as something to fuel education and economic development. While we are an urban, suburban and rural county, where there is some challenge is where it’s more rural. On the inner core, there may not be equity applied by the industry in terms of what’s available. We’ve applied for grants to fill those areas in with fiber and wireless. We’re partnering with the marketplace to build.

We’re waiting now to find out whether we’re successful with our application for a $60 million grant. It would make a huge difference. Prince George’s County is made up of 20-some municipal governments. We worked together to identify areas of potential growth as well as big gaps. This county also put in an equity officer position to make sure equity is applied to government services and practices. Our part would be looking at how technologies are implemented in supporting agencies to ensure equitable use of our resources.

4. How has COVID-19 had a lasting impact on your work?

While COVID-19 was a terrible thing, that was just an exceptional opportunity. We were able to quickly get out there, and the government never stopped. As a result, there’s a greater variety of ways that our employees can work, including contractors. It’s much more flexible and there’s much more job satisfaction. It allows us to run a 24-hour operation with one 8-hour complement of employees. It is very exciting.

This story originally appeared in the July/August issue of Government Technology magazine. Click here to view the full digital edition online.
Associate editor for Government Technology magazine.