Amaya Capellan, who last month left her role leading digital transformation projects at Comcast to become Pennsylvania’s new chief information officer, told StateScoop there will be some adjusting to her first government job.
She said she’ll have to get used to having an office, a contrast provided by the tech industry’s predilection for open working spaces. And she’ll have to figure out which teams are responsible for the various aspects of delivering services to the state’s 13 million residents. But one thing that won’t require a learning curve, she said, is being “relentlessly customer-focused” when it comes to the state’s digital offerings.
“Digital transformation … is about ensuring a great customer experience at every touchpoint and in this case ensuring residents of the commonwealth engage with our agencies,” she said.
Capellan had stints at the professional services firm Booz & Company and the ad agency FCB Global before spending seven years at Comcast, where she helped launch its Xfinity App and the Xfinity Mobile wireless service.
She called the latter “really hard work and really exciting work” that will inform how she approaches her try at public service, a job she landed through the Tech Talent Project, a group that scouts the private industry for government technology roles.
Capellan said she was attracted to the CIO job in part by Gov. Josh Shapiro’s leadership on digital transformation. In April, Shapiro launched the Commonwealth Office of Digital Experience, or CODE PA, a new office housed under the CIO’s IT division tasked with improving the state’s digital services.
She said that “small but mighty” team is currently in “incubation mode,” developing a list of best practices for digital service delivery, spotting which agencies would benefit most from adopting such practices and researching projects underway in Pennsylvania that it might assist with. CODE PA has already started work, she said, on a project to modernize the state’s various permit and licensing applications.
Outside of digital services, Capellan said she’s interested in building a strong IT foundation, which includes further developing the state’s cybersecurity, data and workforce strategies.
“Focusing on helping the broader organization with how do we focus on the things that matter most and how do we streamline and clear blockers that get in people’s way and make their jobs hard is going to be core to what I’m here for,” she said.