Technology is all About Driving Value and End-user Experience

Technology is all About Driving Value and End-user Experience

Lynn Fyhrlund, CIO, Milwaukee County

Lynn Fyhrlund, CIO, Milwaukee County

As the CIO of Milwaukee County, Lynn Fyhrlund provides strategic technology direction, planning, and execution of IT solutions and systems. He oversees the entire information management services division, including IT governance, project/portfolio management, finances, vendor negotiations, and operational improvements as well as the IT disaster recovery and continuity plans.

 Fyhrlund started his career as a computer programmer and analyst. During his more than 27 years of experience in the industry, he took up different roles and leadership positions, including full stack developer and IT Director across manufacturing, logistics, and government sector. 

Following is the conversation that we had with Fyhrlund.

 What trends and technological advancements have you observed in the government sector, and how does it impact the field?

The government sector has changed dramatically over the last five years. The main reason behind this has been the adoption of current technologies such as cloud computing, data analytics, and cybersecurity for better service delivery. Especially after COVID, we are pushing ourselves to adopt technologies that ensure we serve citizens effectively.

We are ensuring that communities have broadband access and people are well trained to utilize devices. For example, ensuring whether people are able to easily leverage telehealth, banking, education and other facilities. CIOs, earlier, focused on keeping the infrastructure together and moving the business forward.

On the contrary, today, we engage with public leaders to ensure citizens have access to the services that government delivers. Our goal is to ensure nobody is left behind in technology and everybody has access to a high level of services online, even the population in remote areas.

What are the current demands that have propelled these changes?  

People today proactively focus on data security and privacy and demand transparency in government processes. We need to ensure security posture and keep up with current cybersecurity. We have to keep the public’s data safe from bad actors while guaranteeing access to data. To ensure transparency in the government sector, we are focusing on understanding the data better to augment our decision-making. 

"To ensure transparency in the government sector, we are focusing on understanding the data better to augment our decision-making"

Moreover, these days, counties are focusing on bringing racial equity and uplifting communities. In our county, we have declared racism a public health crisis. Ensuring internet access and the ability to use devices is all about equity from a technology standpoint.  

What are the leadership strategies that you have in place to lead your team forward? 

When I took the role of the CIO at Milwaukee County, I built and deployed an IT strategy in order to support the county’s mission and vision. We didn’t ask businesses what they need but identify the technologies that they actually require to support and meet their objectives. The examination of the gaps using data analysis provides us with a clear direction to formulate an IT strategy for the next three years.  

I always encourage my team to focus on end-user experience, be it employees or constituents. If employees have a great experience with technology while using computers, mobiles, or tablets, they can effectively deliver high-level services to citizens. Similarly, when constituents have a great experience with technology, they’re more apt to come back for services. However, if any of them struggle with technology, it could hinder both the intake of services and the delivery of services. We partner with businesses to understand where we need to invest in terms of technology. 

What is a piece of advice to your fellow colleague?

End-users experience is value-driven, and that’s why we need to ensure we deliver value for people through the right technology implementation. This has been my mantra for years. When we implement technology, we must be cognizant of the people who won’t be able to use that technology. We need to take significant steps to ensure that these people are engaged.

I would like my fellow professionals to understand that today, we don’t implement technology for the sake of technology deployment but to improve processes and deliver efficient services. We need to remember that a portion of our population is not technically enabled. Therefore, we have to figure out how to make that population technologically literate, ensuring no one is left behind.

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