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CIOs Discuss Digital Transformation Trends and Strategies

In recent “One-on-One” interviews, chief information officers from two state agencies and two cities shared their thoughts on digital transformation.

Digital transformation includes purpose, envisioning a strategic plan and a fundamental shift in business, according to two state and two local IT leaders. This year, Industry Insider — Florida had the opportunity to interview several CIOs in state and local government regarding digital transformation earlier this year. Below is a wrap up of what they stated.

Russell Haupert is CIO and chief technology officer for the city of Tampa and during a one-on-one interview with Industry Insider — Florida he stated: “Here at the city, digital transformation aligns with our broader aspirational tech goal — allow our citizens, customers or suppliers to do business with us in their preferred mode at their preferred time with as limited an understanding of our internal processes as possible. In that regard, we’re always moving forward.”

Glendora Fortune, CIO for the Florida Department of Transportation echoed Haupert’s thoughts when it came to digital transformation moving forward: “I do not believe in ‘doing IT to do IT.’ Digital transformation should be purposeful, meeting internal and external customer needs. Our technology leadership team is currently working to update the department’s technology strategic plan. As part of this plan, we want to ensure that technology is used to advance the department’s missions, reduce business friction, improve the user experience, support a culture that attracts and retains top talent as well as focus on cybersecurity in everything we do. I believe we have made great strides toward a digital transformation, but we still have more to do as we continue to use technology to transform our business processes and better support the safety and mobility goals of the department.”

Rosa Akhtarkhavari, CIO for the city of Orlando explains digital transformation means adjusting staff and supporting the cities needs: “Our transformation is driven by envisioning and adjusting our staff to their work environments, processes and technologies in order to meet the city’s objectives, support the mayor’s priorities and best serve the citizens, businesses and visitors in Orlando. This approach enables us to review and adjust our organizational structure, culture, processes and technology to provide optimized delivery of customer-centric city services effectively. Our information technology department completed a five-year transformation agenda, and we will always continue to review, evaluate, measure and adjust as part of our continuous improvement cycle.”

Ruth Lang, CIO for the Florida Department of Corrections, said: “Digital transformation, as I see it, is the comprehensive integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how we operate and deliver value. It involves more than just adopting new technologies; it’s about a fundamental shift in the business’ functioning, fostering a culture of innovation and adaptability. Our organization is making significant strides in this journey and is currently at an intermediate stage. We measure our success in this transformation by observable improvements in service delivery, operational efficiency and customer engagement. However, digital transformation is never truly complete, per se. It’s perpetually a step behind innovation. Keeping pace with and adapting to ongoing technological innovations is the real indicator that we are ‘complete’ in a sense. This process is inherently ongoing, and the goal is to continuously evolve with the digital landscape, ensuring that our operations are utilizing the most efficient tools to meet our objectives.”

To learn more about these CIOs, check out Industry Insider — Florida’s one-on-one interviews online.
Cristina Carter is a Tallahassee-based staff writer. She has a bachelor's degree in English literature and a master's degree in international affairs, both from Florida State University.