The role of a government CIO is to serve his constituents, and Bill Oates, CIO of the city of Boston, has proven his dedication to building better relationships between citizens and their government via a citywide mobile and online collaboration effort.
In this video interview, filmed at the 2012 MIT Sloan CIO Symposium in Cambridge, Mass., Oates sits down with SearchCIO.com Executive Editor Christina Torode to discuss how government CIOs can reinvent how the city and its constituents communicate. Oates lays out his future plans for Boston's Citizens Connect, and delves into the technology that is making this mobile and online collaboration possible.
Read a partial transcript of the interview with Oates below, and watch the video to learn more about Boston's Citizens Connect and how government CIOs can use technology to better serve their constituencies. And don't forget to watch the first part of our interview with Oates.
Bill Oates: One of the problems is it takes government too long to turn around and leverage some of the dynamic changes in technology that are going on out there. What I am seeing now -- not just in Boston, but in some of the other entities we work with -- is bridging that gap. We want to take advantage of this rapidly changing technology -- and mobility is a great example.
We did Citizens Connect, and it kind of pushed right into our organization because I had people out there going to fill potholes. The constituents had the Citizens Connect app, but we hadn't yet implemented that mobility within the organization. The great news was, all of a sudden, our departments kept coming to us and asking for their own app so that they could respond to the constituents [in a] more timely [fashion]. So we implemented a city worker app, very much like Citizens Connect, [that] allows the person who is filling the pothole to get that request.
Could you make money from this?
Oates: Our plan has been, when we rolled out Citizens Connect, it would be available free to anyone. Will there be people who raise their hand asking if we should charge $1.99 for that app and make some revenue? I'm sure there will be those conversations. On the other side, we really want to share. We really think that some of the things we are doing in Boston are great, and we want people to take advantage of it. There are other people doing great stuff too, and we want that to be a collaborative, sharing opportunity.