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CIO Bill Kehoe Brings His Strategic Vision to L.A. County

In his first few months on the job, Kehoe has been spending his time listening and learning about what it takes to lead an organization serving more than 10.1 million residents.

ln his first few months as CIO of Los Angeles County, Bill Kehoe has been spending his time listening and learning as he gets a firmer sense of what’s needed to lead an organization spread across more than 4,000 square miles and serving more than 10.1 million residents. He previously spent seven years as CIO in King County, Wash., home to Seattle.

“What I’ve been doing, initially, is just trying to learn where the county has been, where the county wants to go, from an overall strategic perspective,” Kehoe said. “And then I’ve been visiting with the departments, trying to understand where they want to go, and some of their business goals, and then how technology can help them achieve those.”

1. What sort of strategic vision do you want to bring to the Chief Information Office and the agencies you work with?

What we have from an IT strategic plan, from an enterprise perspective, is very outdated, is not really measured. So it needs to be refreshed. We would build a countywide project management methodology. We would build a knowledge center for best practices and templates, and have a learning center, if you will, where we could collaborate and bring the project managers from around the county together and, ultimately, what we want to see is the project management skill set and capacity increase in the county. 

2. What other ideas would you like to see introduced in L.A. County?

We’re expanding our information management team program. And data, data analytics, data integration, more of this predictive outcome modeling is really in demand in the county. Our information management program has built a platform of data, and they’re starting to do things like linking data from various departments. … We’re looking at this coordinated care model; we ultimately want to get a 360-degree view of the client and the services they receive, and also measure the effectiveness of the services. There’s a great opportunity to do more with data for the Office of the CIO, and the information management program. 

3. What challenges do you foresee as some of this is introduced?

I see this county being very open to some of these concepts … I think the challenge is going to be that shift from how things are  done today to how they could be done in the future, and bringing people along so that it’s not just an Office of the CIO initiative, but we make it a countywide initiative, whether it’s building the strategic plan, developing these common platforms and architectures, building out this project management center of excellence, and getting the buy-in to that, and the value out of that. 

4. How does Los Angeles differ from King County?

When I first came into King County in 2010, it was very much like L.A. County, where it was federated. You had IT departments in each of the executive branches. And in the seven years I was there, we were able to — and expected to — consolidate IT and the executive branch, build out a service organization with rates, move to a chargeback model, and really mature that consolidated organization over time.

L.A. County will not consolidate in that fashion. It’s fine — we just need to work the relationships. And the communication has to be solid. And so it’s about building consensus and relationships across the county, with the IT leadership and the business leadership, and really being focused on some things that we want to accomplish without taking on too much, which could then cause paralysis.

Skip Descant writes about smart cities, the Internet of Things, transportation and other areas. He spent more than 12 years reporting for daily newspapers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and California. He lives in downtown Sacramento.