County CIO: Partnerships key to lowering costs, improving service delivery

Whether its disaster recovery, procurement or cybersecurity, theres not much Oakland County, Michigan, Chief Information Officer Phil Bertolini doesnt think could be improved by collaboration.

We need to be better at partnering with each other, because there’s some things we can do together that we cant do apart, Bertolini told StateScoop in a video interview at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers annual conference.

Bertolini was at NASCIO to speak about collaboration between states and counties, and how his office collaborates across all governmental boundaries.

Its an interesting time we live in, Bertolini said. The states have some different priorities than we do locally, but some of our priorities are the same.”

Life as a county CIO is different than most other larger government IT roles, he said, due to county government’s proximity to the citizen. Counties are where the rubber meets the road, Bertolini said, and where residents can knock on their government administrator’s door if they want to.

Everything that we do from an IT perspective in Oakland County is to enable government to be able to provide the best services and the most quality-enabled services for the citizenry, he said.

And for Bertolini’s money, one of the best ways to enable those services is to partner with other local governments. When Bertolini’s team in Oakland County builds new technology products, they’re built with the potential for collaboration in mind.

Oakland County first adopted a collaborative mindset to solve budgetary concerns in 2003, and has since led several regional collaborations, including G2G Cloud Solutions , an Oakland-County led program that enables participants to join onto existing technology contracts for economy-of-scale savings.

We know that the borders and the fake government lines dont really matter when it comes to delivering service, Bertolini said. Some local government CIOs have asked me the question, Why are you doing this? Why are you investing and providing technology to all these other governments?

Because its the right thing to do. And some governments cant afford it on their own, and we need to be there to help do that.