Technical.ly Philly

Nov. 3, 2010 1:00 pm

Philadelphia CTO Allan Frank to focus on city wifi, paperless government [Video]

Updating citywide IT infrastructure has had to be a major focus for his first year, but City of Philadelphia Chief Technology Officer Allan Frank again outlined an ambitious five-year plan to “bring city government into the 21st century.” Since coming on, Frank said he first worked on consolidating citywide IT services, which he finalized in July 2009. The […]

City CTO Allan Frank addresses a GovLoop meetup group Nov. 2, 2010.

Updating citywide IT infrastructure has had to be a major focus for his first year, but City of Philadelphia Chief Technology Officer Allan Frank again outlined an ambitious five-year plan to “bring city government into the 21st century.”

Since coming on, Frank said he first worked on consolidating citywide IT services, which he finalized in July 2009. The CTO then focused on building out “one hell of a network” for the city’s IT operating environment. Only now, he said, can he move to focus more on “enabling high performance government.”

“Number three is what I actually thought I came in to do… but I had to get one and two done first,” Frank told two dozen people attending the meetup put on by GovLoop, a Washington D.C.-based social network for government employees that is finishing up a 12-city tour.

After the jump, see the video of Frank’s entire speech.

Frank said the first “big thing” his department is focusing on is pushing forward the city’s network direction, combining the city’s recent purchase of the former Wireless Philadelphia infrastructure with other initiatives to create a rich public safety, field workforce and commercial-level core fiber networks. That move is part of the Nutter administration’s $120 million, five-year investment in the city’s IT department.

Overlooking the city from the banquet hall of R2L restaurant on the 37th floor of Two Liberty Place, Frank’s half-hour speech was the main event, receiving laughs and applause from a welcoming crowd with ties to various levels of government.

After consolidating all citywide IT infrastructure under his control and providing basic operations, Frank says he is eager to move forward with what has always been his favorite priority: using technology to enable high performance government.

He spoke about the opportunity to “leap frog” other cities that have updated their infrastructure recently.

“We haven’t touched this stuff since the early 1990s,” he said of basic infrastructure and systems that still involve inputting paper time sheets. In city planning, agency development and other decisions, Frank said, he can now push forward an agenda to make Philadelphia a leader in web-enabled municipal government.

Frank was asked to speak by Steve Ressler, the 30-year-old, 2004 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s sociology master’s program. Two years ago, Ressler founded GovLoop in D.C., where he now splits his time between Tampa, Fl. In September 2009, GovLoop was acquired by GovDelivery, a targeted newsletter service that is owned by Wayne-based Internet Capital Group [PDF].

Below watch Frank’s 30-minute speech.

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Christopher Wink

Christopher Wink is a cofounder and Editorial Director of Technical.ly, the local technology news network. Previously, Wink worked for a homeless advocacy nonprofit and was a freelance reporter for a variety of publications. He writes regularly about news innovation and best business practices on his personal blog here. The bicycle commuter loves cities, urban politics and squabbling about neighborhood boundaries.

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