Philadelphia restructures tech shop, launches new open data office

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Philadelphia’s open data and website teams are getting a new office under a recent restructure of the city’s Office of Innovation and Technology.

They’ll be moving out of the OIT and into a new Open Data and Digital Transformation Office, which will sit under the city’s chief administrative officer. The new office will be led by Chief Data Officer Tim Wisniewski and will focus on publishing public-facing data and leading the alpha.phila.gov project — where a team of seven employees are redeveloping the cities’ website in the open.

Chief Administrative Officer Rebecca Rhynhart said the creation of the Open Data and Digital Transformation Office under her department would allow OIT to concentrate on updating their old systems. 

“This will allow OIT to focus on the core legacy systems and IT services to departments that are sorely in need of modernization,” Rhynhart said in a release. “At the same time, this new structure elevates the prominence of the initiatives of open data and digital transformation.”

The new office plans to help departments improve city services through user-centered design, and focus on the integration of open data and digital transformation across city government.

The creation of the Open Data and Digital Transformation Office comes after several tech officials in the city’s government have left for the private sector following the resignation of Adel Ebeid as chief innovation officer late last year. Ebeid, a 2015 StateScoop 50 winner, left days before Mayor Jim Kenney was inaugurated as Philadelphia’s mayor.

Ebeid was replaced by Chief Information Officer Charlie Brennan, who opted to change the “I” in his CIO title from “Innovation” to “Information.” 

Requests for additional information from the Philadelphia mayor’s office, Office of Innovation and Technology and Office of the Chief Administrative Officer were not returned by press time.

Contact the reporter who wrote this story at jake.williams@statescoop.com and follow him on Twitter @JakeWilliamsDC.

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Chief Information Officer (CIO), Digital Services, Innovation, Open Data, Open Government, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, State & Local News, States, Tech News, Tim Wisniewski
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