March 3, 2009 By Tod Newcombe, Editor
Every public CIO job is demanding. But holding that position in New York City must rank among the most taxing in government. There are more than 7 million customers and Mayor Michael Bloomberg's high expectations for service delivery (you don't build a multibillion dollar company and win two elections in the country's largest city on a reputation of poor service). Paul Cosgrave, who has been CIO since 2006, is in the hot seat.
Despite the pressures that come with the job, Cosgrave has managed to deliver -- both externally to New York citizens and internally to city agencies. In July 2008, Cosgrave told the Center for Digital Government that his Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) was planning or executing five major IT projects, including a broadband wireless network designed to serve police, fire and numerous city agencies -- which will eventually cover the entire city -- and a version of 311 that lets New Yorkers connect with the dozens of community-based organizations that deliver health and human services.
Keeping with the mayor's directive to provide greater transparency, accountability and accessibility, Cosgrave continues to strengthen the city's 311 hot line, which has answered more than 80 million calls in six years of operation.
While new IT projects grab headlines, Cosgrave also took on the less glamorous job of improving the city's IT governance processes, enhancing IT management functions so DoITT can act as central service provider to the city's many small and mid-sized agencies and speeding up the city's lengthy, cumbersome IT procurement cycle.
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.