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Driving Innovation and Change in Government Technology

Summary: 
Phil Bertolini is the CIO and Deputy County Executive for Oakland County, Michigan. Phil strives to drive innovation and real change in government technology, even in hard economic times. He has proven that with the proper long-term approach, government technology implementation in a tough economy is possible and necessary for the continued provision of critical government services.

Phil BertoliniPhil Bertolini is being honored as a Champion of Change for his efforts in local innovation. 


In my role as Oakland County Chief Innovation Officer, I have worked alongside our County Executive, L. Brooks Patterson, to provide the vision, leadership, and executive sponsorship needed to drive innovation and real change in government technology, even in tough economic times. Michigan remains among the hardest hit by the national economic crisis, with recent years bringing the worst economic environment the state has ever seen. Creating and implementing large-scale change can be challenging under the best circumstances. Innovation seems nearly impossible for governments struggling under the twin burdens of rising costs and dwindling revenues. With our long-term approach to government technology implementation, however, Oakland County has shown that driving innovation in a tough economy is possible and even necessary for the continued provision of critical government services. My philosophy of “build it once, pay for it once, and everybody benefits” supports further innovations in government technology, which in turn produced an information technology operating budget that is balanced for the next three fiscal years.

Oakland County’s Information Technology Department creates cost-effective “eGovernment” solutions to meet customers’ needs. Wherever possible, as a team, we meet requests for increased or improved services with investments in technology that can be used across all units of government. For example, Access Oakland is a robust suite of eCommerce services that is used by many County departments, courts, and municipalities. Since 1997, Access Oakland has provided convenient online services to people doing business with the County, resulting in an annual average net benefit of $1.3 million to County taxpayers. Cumulative benefits resulting from the County's eGovernment programs are estimated to be more than $71.5 million for fiscal years 2003 – 2011.

Last year, I led the formation of G2G Cloud Solutions to support intergovernmental cooperation while containing operating costs for everyone. G2G Cloud Solutions enables technology sharing among governments via the Web. It is based on the idea that governments can work together to create a sustainable model for digital government by sharing and leveraging technology for mutual benefit. As a unique government-managed cloud computing service, G2G Cloud Solutions has no precedent. Through G2G Cloud Solutions, participating government agencies benefit from the opportunity to use technology that may not otherwise be within reach. The technology solutions available through G2G Cloud Solutions support reduced operating costs, increased reliability, security, and privacy protection for government data. G2G Cloud Solutions is working in partnership with the National Association of Counties (NACo) to expand shared services and hosted applications on a national scale, offering technology solutions to other governments at a cost that is significantly lower than other options.

As a result of these efforts, we are working to transform how government works for citizens, and I am honored to be recognized on behalf of the work of so many. 

Phil Bertolini is the CIO and Deputy County Executive for Oakland County, Michigan