Pitkin County IT department prepares for changes in 2015
October 25, 2014
Pitkin County is making changes to its website and technical infrastructure and adding staff in 2015 to the Business Information Technology Services Department to make the transition as smooth as possible from the current combined city/county organization.
Just don't ask Chief Technology Officer John Loyd about the technology involved in the transition, because his philosophy is that it's just one part of the equation.
"With me, it goes people first, business second and technology third," Loyd said. "Technology is just the medium through which you solve problems."
Loyd was hired in April 2013 by the county to lead the department in anticipation of the changes it was considering. For the past 20 years, the city of Aspen and Pitkin County have shared an IT department, but in February, the county gave one year's notice that it wants to establish its own department.
Loyd's philosophy centers on people because, as he says, without them there is no technology. Any answer will start with the people involved, whether it's as simple as getting them to understand an answer or perhaps helping them get comfortable with a new process that Loyd might be integrating with others.
"When we decided to split our IT functions from the city, it wasn't limited to just hiring someone to fix our phones and computers," said Pat Bingham, Pitkin County's community relations specialist. "We were looking for someone to create a department that will analyze our business processes, help us run our departments more efficiently and make it easier for our customers to do business with us."
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One of the things Loyd initially did was review the joint website between the city and the county.
"We didn't feel we were getting the best bang for our buck with that setup," he said. "We weren't in direct control of our image. The goal right now is by the first quarter of 2015, the joint website will be replaced by dedicated sites for both the county and the city."
Loyd said the county simply wasn't getting the types of products and services from the city that the county needed to efficiently complete its mission. He said the city provided the infrastructure but didn't provide application development or records management.
"Generally, the services the city provided have been excellent," Loyd said. "We just weren't getting enough services for our current needs."
One area Loyd has targeted to improve is the ability of county departments to integrate efficiently with one another. Loyd explained that in the past, each department was responsible for its own fixes, even when those fixes didn't necessarily jibe with other department's needs.
Loyd is changing that and hopes to have all the county departments integrated and usable with one another by the end of this year.
In 2015, the Business Information Technology Services Department will add three full-time positions that will be dedicated to working within the county.
"The primary role of the new hires will be to define the needs and requirements of each department," Loyd said. "Then they can apply the technology to resolve any issues they might find."
Loyd said he's hired an outside consultant to help develop the new county website. He wants the public to feel comfortable and recognize some of the look and feel of the new site as well as make it an easy site to navigate.
"When I accepted this position, I was looking for a challenge," Loyd said. "I was looking to provide something beneficial in a position that is both complex and rewarding. I found it here in Pitkin County."