isn't always behind the curve
April 15, 2002
BY MICHAEL KRAUSS
Moore just popped through Chicago. So did Andrew Pinder.
Moore is the
CIO of Brampton, a city of 345,000 in Ontario, not far from Toronto.
Pinder is British Prime Minister Tony Blair's eEnvoy, the top
technology advocate for the English government.
striving to expand Internet access and broadband penetration across
the United Kingdom and to get the government online. His office
has been running an extensive advertising effort to increase awareness
and use of the Internet as a channel to access government services.
Pinder thinks digital television is the key for access, and he's
keen on providing educational services and training to the British
populace through that route.
of a mayor in Brampton who thrice daily joins online chat rooms
to communicate with constituents -- especially younger voters.
His town is the headquarters burg for telecom equipment maker
Nortel, though he admits to having a lot of Cisco routers in place.
Moore says Brampton connected its neighborhoods in the mid-'90s
with a fiber optic backbone. Today, he's focused on wireless applications
that can make government workers more efficient.
Both are practical-minded
technology executives who've done prior stints in government service
and in the commercial sector, and are now committed to making
a difference for their communities. Moore comes from a Big Five
consulting firm and Pinder was one of the top European technology
executives at Citibank.
not alone. Here in the United States sophisticated technology
executives and projects are in place on the local, national and
federal level. In Chicago, where I live, Mayor Richard M. Daley
has committed to CivicNet, a citywide broadband initiative to
provide high-speed access to neighborhoods. Chris O'Brien, our
city's CIO, is a former technology strategist from Index Systems
with a full plate of practical programs.
with Moore, Pinder and O'Brien I got a new sense of what is possible.
And, I discovered quickly that these government technology leaders
are apt marketers -- looking forward but keeping expectations
firmly rooted in the ground. They don't promise more than they
can deliver, but they are clearly pointed in the right direction.
the United Kingdom's L 100 million, three-year campaign to accelerate
the rollout of broadband and raise awareness of the Internet,
is using traditional marketing tactics to achieve his end.
Moore is focused on both thinking and doing. His list of initiatives
is strikingly similar to a private sector CIO, plus there are
the added responsibilities unique to government. Here is just
a sampling of some of his programs:
strategy -- Moore's at the front end of a program to better
understand customer needs and to define IT projects and applications
that meet those needs. He sees the individual citizen of the
community as his customer, not simply his mayor and the city
departments (though they count, too).
plan -- He's studied the information requirements of all his
government units and defined a technology architecture to assure
efficient and timely delivery of relevant information.
metrics -- Moore's looking at new ways to integrate data to
assure city services are performing. Thanks to Global Positioning
Satellite-based technology, he now knows where city vehicles
are located in real time. He plans to integrate this information
with his other systems to monitor service effectiveness.
efficiencies -- He's pooling his purchases to gain leverage
in hardware, software and services procurements.
gold-collar workers -- Moore's evaluating wireless access devices
to give field-based city workers better information. He believes
many mid-level city workers who don't have offices, building
department inspectors, transit workers, sanitation supervisors
and health services personnel would benefit from links beyond
pay phones and cell phones.
platforms -- Moore sees city buses as potential information
recreational programs -- Moore sees himself as CIO for the community.
While effective emergency services are a critical priority,
he sees high consumer demand for effective non-emergency services.
He's on the lookout for packaged applications and outsourced
services that can be triple wins: for example, a program that
improves awareness and access to parks and recreational programs
that can be operated behind-the-scenes by a third party and
earns the city reasonable revenues.
O'Brien and the City of Chicago are bundling $ 31 million worth
of annual telecommunications expenditures from the police and
fire departments, schools, libraries and other city institutions.
Their first aim is cost efficiency; like his commercial counterparts,
O'Brien and his colleagues are bundling the procurement to get
a lower price. But their second goal is to use their procurement
as a carrot to entice a major telecom provider to invest in a
fiber optic backbone that will connect underserved city neighborhoods.
Atlantic, Pinder is committed to enabling "100% of the dealings
with government to be available electronically by 2005."
Increasing the number of transactions that can be accomplished
online is a common theme among these senior IT executives.
takeaway from all of this? Seems to me we commercial marketers
can learn something from our technology counterparts in government.
In Pinder, Moore and O'Brien, I see a group of technology leaders
with more challenging and complex roles than their private sector
they're paid less and have fewer resources to work with, yet,
they're undaunted and leading the way with innovative services.
Whether they succeed or fail -- and I bet they'll succeed -- they're
an impressive group to watch.
is a partner with Chicago-based DiamondCluster International.
He can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.