Social media, mobility take center stage in Las Vegas
By Linda Tucci, SearchCIO.com | 2010-10-12
Realizing that their constituents come from varying generations, the CIO of Las Vegas decided to utilize social media and mobility tools to aid in business process automation within the state.
When you automate and improve business processes, do you run the risk of the automation of one system at some point causing inefficiency in another?
Marcella: Government systems are seldom integrated. There are multiple databases and some systems are very vertical, and there are anomalies in each. If you try business process re-engineering in government, it's almost like hidden time bombs. You peel back a layer and find something else. You can analyze the business practice, as we do, but when you finally get to the re-engineering, things will pop out and cause compromises. In government it is really tough to re-engineer in a wholesale fashion. You get to tweak, revisit and get to tweak again. In our case, sometimes you actually have to go the state legislature and change a rule, so that you can do things in a different fashion.
How long have you been at business process automation, or business practice re-re-engineering, as you call it, for Las Vegas?
Marcella: About 12 years. The city's organization needed to be addressed in the first place because every department and every division was vertical, each doing those things that they did best. But whatever they did before was how they did it forever.
However, there was a very wise city manager who decided that he ought to have all of the information of all of the divisions at his fingertips.
Now, if you look at our website carefully, you will realize that there is no real department presence. It is almost like we took a standard government website and turned it upside down. What you as a citizen are looking at is a whole city; and then virtually and electronically behind it is every one of our systems. So, we provide what the citizen is asking us for, rather than requiring a citizen to understand that that the Public Works Department does potholes.
This approach seems empowering for your citizens. Will this trend continue and, if so, how?
Marcella: You are keying on something that is going to happen with all governments. Or if they don't recognize it, they will have considerable problems. Remember that the economy has caused us to look at our services, and we don't have the people in the backroom anymore to do all the kinds of things we need to do. So, it has to be, not only self-service, but the citizen has to be part of the overall process. It is a different way of looking at things. In the past, citizens have always come to government -- "Give me the service" -- rather than being part of the process. Now we have the technologies that make them part of the process.