Data Management's Impact On Cybersecurity
How To Align Individual, Team, And Organizational Goals For Success...
Effects Of Global Turmoil On Local Government's Information Technology
IoT and how it is shaping future technologies
Newer Technologies are Redefining Government-Citizen Interactions
Aldona Valicenti, Commissioner & Cio, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (Lfucg)
Technology Changes, So Should You
Dorothy Aronson, Cio, National Science Foundation
A Holistic Approach to Cloud
Maria Roat, Cio, Small Business Administration (Sba)
What Government Agencies Will Map Out for 2020
Renee Wynn, CIO, NASA
Thank you for Subscribing to CIO Applications Weekly Brief
Strategizing an All-Encompassing Technology Roadmap
Behzad Zamanian, Chief Information Officer, Washoe County, State of Nevada
Behzad Zamanian is the CIO of Washoe County Technology Services, a critical position that oversees all technology infrastructure and investment of Washoe County. Prior to joining the organization, Zamanian served as CIO at the City of Huntington Beach. He has over 25 years of demonstrated experience in the information technology field and is certified as a CGCIO (Certified Government Chief Information Officer) by Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration and Public Technology Institute. In an interview with Government CIO Outlook magazine, Zamanian talks about how having a sound technology plan along a comprehensive cybersecurity roadmap and nurturing partnerships with cybersecurity organizations can help the latter improve its cybersecurity infrastructure.
Can you brief me on yourselves and the journey you have had, including your roles and responsibilities in the organization you're working for?
I graduated from one of the highest ranked engineering schools in the nation, California State Polytechnic University in 91 and started my career as a developer for the travel industry. After a few years I went to work for the University of California in different areas of IT while completing my Executive MBA program there. After nearly 11 years of working in Higher Education sector, I moved on to the Local Government where I served for 17 years as a senior IT Manager and CIO for the City of Huntington Beach. About two years ago, I accepted the role of chief information officer for Washoe County, the second-largest county in Nevada. My role as the CIO is to oversee all aspects of technology for all agencies and Departments within the county. We serve about 3000 full-time employees and 500,000 citizens in the County.
Having such extensive experience in this field, what would you say are some of the challenges in the market when you're talking about government tech today?
Before the Coved-19 pandemic, sourcing and budget were a constant struggle for public sector IT. The pandemic highlighted the relevance and importance of technology for public sector as it was vital to business continuity and also create many challenges. Over the past two years, the world has seen a shift in behaviors, the economy, medicine, how we live, and how we work. We’ve had to shift the way we approach most things including how to manage the day to day operation, priorities, and use of technology. More than ever, a comprehensive Technology Roadmap is needed with the highest priorities in sight, while making sure that it is aligned with the strategic objectives of the agency with clearly defined and concise actions.
In the next 12 to 18 months I predict more investment on technology modernization and also technology becoming user-driven with departments championing more technology needs. A lot of agencies wholly depended on IT to run technology operations for them, but the pandemic changed that mentality as the departments saw the need to step up and be at the forefront of technology on their own. So one challenge is addressing organizational structure and changes to IT governance to ensure streamlined technology support.
With the advent of artificial intelligence within a number of our software platforms, AI will play an important role in addressing Cybersecurity issues and data analytics become even more important to government agencies. Additionally, hybrid work is here to stay. The best solution isn't working from home or from the office, it will be a combination of both. We think employees should be enabled to do their best wherever they operate from and hybrid work seems to be the right answer in many cases.
A well-thought-out Technology Strategic Plan is like a headlamp on a dark winding road
The Covid-19 pandemic also highlighted the need for new policy and standardization as supporting hybrid work model without standards and policy was extremely difficult.
What would be your piece of advice to the upcoming professionals in this field?
My theory is to partner at all levels of the organization, not only internally with the departments but also partnering with other government agencies, businesses, vendors, and the community. I see everybody as a partner in the government sector. It helps me make sure that what I do is aligned with the strategic objectives of the county or the organization. As long as you can partner and provide the technology that the department needs to deliver the solution to citizens, you have automatically aligned your goals with parts of the organization's strategic objectives.