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Tracy Barnes, CIO of Indiana

How has the profile of your role changed during the pandemic?

Elevated. Significantly elevated. Especially for organizations that have done it the right way. A lot of times, we end up in a very utilitarian role as the tech solution provider or tech support provider. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve talked to a lot of my peers across the nation, and we’ve been brought into higher conversations at bigger tables to talk about how we actually drive value forward and change the way we do business and operate and provide government services and let technology lead, instead of just making sure the lights stay on.

What lesson will you take with you from the pandemic?

Despite the growth of technology, constituents still operate at extremely varying levels of technology adoption. The pandemic has made that a bit stronger in realizing that digital services can’t be the only way we think we can connect our citizens. We have to continue to find ways to reach those at the top and those at the bottom. No matter how modernized and transformed we get, there’s still a lot of people who like to, need to and the only way they can get stuff done is by making that call or coming into the office. 

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

A lot of it is going to be predicated on increasing communication and clarifying expectations. We have employed a significant number of new management training tools and modules that we’re requiring across the agency, encouraging and increasing meeting interactions, virtual or in person. Whether you’re in the office or not, how much are you engaging with people to understand what challenges and trials they’re having, giving them an opportunity to express their issues and roadblocks, and how do we as management and leadership make sure we’re giving them a conduit to share that information with us for us to make changes?

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