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Rebecca Hascall faced a dilemma upon taking the CIO position at Jefferson County in 2018. Jefferson County’s (Jeffco’s) prior IT strategic plan created a strong base of efficiency and effectiveness for IT services, but it hadn’t helped the organization take the leap to leverage IT for better business outcomes and adoption of new technologies. Working with her senior team, Hascall defined a new strategy for County IT that emphasized a drive towards innovation, a robust training program, and a push for stronger business partnerships.
“We realized we had created a strong foundation to build upon, but that foundation alone wouldn’t unlock the value of technology for Jeffco.
We needed to get closer to our county organizations and understand their core needs before we could help.”
By building partnerships with the CFO and CHRO, Hascall and her executive partners started working together to create and execute strategies for transformation that create lasting impacts on how the county operates.
“By partnering closely with our businesses, we also started to see new areas where technology could add value, but it exposed how we weren’t equipped to respond quickly enough to those needs.”
Hascall’s innovation program started in 2018 as a space for collaboration and brainstorming one day a week.
By 2020 she began dedicating headcount to building an innovation program that could focus on the needs of County organizations outside of traditional enterprise technology services.
The innovation mindset has caught on, and the value the program delivers has increased yearly. The program provides digital services, business intelligence, business analytics, and analyzes emerging technologies. Successful projects include chatbot, cost savings, and improved business processes in many organizations throughout Jeffco.
“Innovation is not just a team, it’s built into everything we do across the IT department. Although the Innovation team is part of the technology organization, we don’t look just at technology. We also focus on business processes. It’s about working throughout the county to educate, promote, and support new ideas.”
At the same time, Hascall and her team were looking at keeping the organization moving forward while some employees struggled to adopt new technology. Out of that need grew an expanded training program that has been a key initiative for the last four years. Hascall believes that it’s not enough to provide technology; you must also provide ongoing education and communication on the technology that employees use every day.
The training group provides many different types of training, including in-person, live and on-demand webinars, job aids, and working with other departments to provide office hours on processes and technology. In addition to the variety of training opportunities, Hascall also ensures that any new or updated technology rolled out to the county has been clearly communicated so Jeffco organizations are well informed and educated on these changes.
“We also tapped into technologists outside of our IT organization. We now have designated technology liaisons throughout Jeffco who send out training opportunities, share tips and tricks, and partner with us on opportunities and successes. These liaisons help drive deep adoption of our newest technologies and provide additional support resources in each business area.”
Hascall and her team’s success is now being recognized. Heading into the pandemic, her team moved the entire county to 100% remote work in just a few days with almost no issues. The IT team won an award for that shift and has continued to win more awards each of the last three years, such as:
● Granicus Innovator of the Year for the Manager of the Innovation program
● NACo (National Association of Counties) Achievement Awards for Jeffco’s Unified Cellular Services program
● NACo Information Technology Achievement Award for implementing the DMV Online Chat feature
● Traeger Award - 2021 Top Influencers in Local Gov Award Winners for Hascall
Multi-State Information Sharing & Analysis Center (MS-ISAC), Best of the Web award for Jeffco’s security website Secure Jeffco | Jefferson County, CO Has call attributes her success to creating an agile organization that has taken advantage of the partnerships her teams build and foster.
“The world continues to change in new and interesting ways. We employ technologists who are innovative, enthusiastic learners, and who are eager to work with Jeffco organizations on their strategic initiatives. Our key to success is accepting an ever-evolving pace of change with the purpose of meeting the needs of our constituents.”