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J.R. Sloan, CIO of Arizona

Do you feel the profile of your role has changed during the pandemic?

I feel it’s accelerated it. We’ve got great IT leaders in the agencies who are focused on the mission of those agencies and how to execute and how to deliver great services to their constituent populations. For me, my role is not only supporting them with the services that my organization does, but to try and look across those things and see where can we do better by working together.

What lesson will you take with you from the pandemic?

At points where we had challenges, communication is how you actually get that back on track. Technology aside, it really is communication, sharing of information, and everyone coming together around rallying to solve the problem, whether that was responding to how do we get vaccines in arms as quickly as possible, how do we ensure that our unemployment system putting checks in the hands of the people that need it. Even with the ancillary things, while those systems are burdened in the state, the rest of the services are continuing to serve citizens.

How do you anticipate managing a hybrid or remote model of work going forward?

Our Department of Administration, I think we’re collapsing from maybe two and a half floors down to one. My organization is going to go to about 25% of the space that we have previously. I think that from a work-life balance and as a benefit to state employees, this remote work is going to be a great thing. One of the really intriguing possibilities going forward is the ability for state government to engage workers in more remote areas of the state that might not have really thought about state government as a possibility before. It opens up maybe a whole other talent pool for us.

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