Public Organizations, Smart Cities, and a Digital Future

Public Organizations, Smart Cities, and a Digital Future

Hong Sae, Chief Information Officer of City of Roseville

Hong Sae, Chief Information Officer of City of Roseville

1. As the Chief Information Officer, what are some of the key roles and responsibilities that you take while serving at the City of Roseville?

As the Chief Information Officer to the City of Roseville, I play a strategic leadership role that is more important today to form collaborative partnerships in many of our innovative projects, foster relationships in a 360-approach [internally and externally], and invest in team members with the right skill sets – to deliver cost-effective solutions to support the Citywide operations and provide excellent services to our community.

In my spare time, I serve on the MISAC-Board as President [Municipal Information Systems Association of California], actively involved with the Sacramento CIO/CTO Leadership Forum, and create a positive relationship on our regular check-in with the State of California Technology Dept and CIO-Liana Bailey-Crimmins, CCISDA-California County Information Services Director Association, CSDA-California Special District Association, and ACWA-Association of California Water Agencies.

The internal and external partnerships allow us to collaborate across boundaries to support common business processes, share best practices, discuss legislative topics, review the latest innovative ideas, enhance public services, challenge cybersecurity policies, and create a culture of inclusivity and diversity.

2. The COVID-19 crisis compounded longstanding challenges but also unleashed opportunities to overhaul how public services are delivered. It radically accelerated changes that governments knew were coming but did not expect to see so soon. Your views on this?

Roseville started down the path of digital and engagement services for residents even before the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything two+ years ago. We need to continue building on our successes achieved during the pandemic, continue to be flexible and further expand our technology capabilities and civic responsibilities in the challenging years ahead.

Over the past year(s) we have given our residents stability due to our ability to go virtual and digital within a short time. The City has been able to not only keep services “status quo”, but we’ve also been embracing these changes by adding more ways for our residents to interact with the City online.

3. Public service organizations now face a set of circumstances they have never seen before. On one hand, there is widespread and accelerated digital transformation coupled with the digital building blocks to create almost anything. On the other are blank slates waiting for the next vision of the future to be defined. Combined, how can this be a once-in-a-generation opportunity to actively shape the future almost from the ground up?

The importance of technology for our organization and our generation was never more apparent than during the pandemic. Without the necessary technology, many areas of the City business would have been severely affected. The City first established and adopted a Smart City Vision through the use of game-changing technology and innovative leadership. As a result of this initiative, the City was able to continue offering state-of-the-art, efficient, effective, and award-winning services for the benefit of our staff/team and residents/community.

“The importance of technology for our organization and our generation was never more apparent than during the pandemic. Without the necessary technology, many areas of the City business would have been severely affected”

Smart City/Vision 2020 – Was about Standardization, Partnerships, Infrastructure, Cybersecurity, Data and Analytics, and Transparency. With this vision in mind, several initiatives were created to improve stakeholder engagement (City leaders and citizens) and to control the deployment of digital-friendly and business-effective fashions. Programs shaping the future of Roseville and the State of California technology programs included:
  • Enhanced Enterprise Resource Program - standardization, consolidation of financial and human capital management applications
  • Implemented Collaboration and Conferencing tools for remote work capabilities and city services
  • Improved Cybersecurity Posture with single sign-on, multi-factor authentication, and gamification of cybersecurity training
  • Reenergized Open Community Data through the use of performance measurement, financial data, and analytics program
  • Explored proactively Talent Retention and Recruitment Strategies 
  • Reestablished Organizational Inclusion and Diversity programs for transparency and cultural improvement purposes

As part of the statewide public services technology leaders, overall California technology maturity has grown significantly in the past few years. Through external collaboration efforts (MISAC/CCISDA, State of California, Private and Public Partnerships), our business peers have evolved from the traditional systematic approaches to become more adaptable, matured, and pre-active today (predictive and proactive). One of the most important goals this year was the establishment of the IDEA Committee [Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility] within MISAC, and I am so proud of the entire MISAC Team who helped created the Inclusion/Diversity mission, established the sense of equitable and cultural urgency, and becoming more focus on its mission to foster technological innovation and excellence.

4. What would be your piece of advice for your fellow peers and leaders?

In light of what is going on [infection-Covid, inflation-economy and invasion-physical and cybersecurity], all CIOs and Leaders should continue sharpening our focus on People, Process, and Performance!

People – Continue building a dynamic workforce through engagement, improving retention and succession planning, and fostering a culture of innovation, collaboration and partnership internally and externally.

Process – Continue enhancing organizational processes through the adoption of common and innovative technology platforms, timely following up, and being agile in engagement and delivery with our business partners.

Performance – Continue transforming organizational technology through innovation, reducing the overall cybersecurity risk, exploring emerging technology solutions, and simplifying the way we all do business.

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