(Photo from PhillyHistory.org)
City Hall has a technology problem, and it’s no secret. (Technically Philly’s Transparencity reporting project focused on city data efforts last year but came across no shortage of such conversations.)
“Spend enough time in City Hall and you’ll hear countless stories of mind-blowing inefficiency,” wrote reporter Patrick Kerkstra in the Inquirer last Friday. But the $120 million city IT budget we first started hearing details for in early 2010 might actually get spent (though we’ve heard priorities for that funding before).
The administration says it wants to do something about it, and it’s got the money to show for it. Kerkstra writes:
[The Nutter administration] wants to reexamine pretty much everything, with the aim of upgrading not just the hardware and software, but also the work flow of city departments. Instead of spot improvements made on the fly, this time the city means to coordinate the projects across departments, with what could be far-reaching effects.
Officials have the money to do it, too: $120 million, already allocated by City Council, including up to $16 million for the planning alone, which will be spent hiring big-time professional consultants like Accenture or IBM. [more]
City Council also plans to upgrade its IT. For what it’s worth, as former city CTO Allan Frank was leaving his role last February, he maintained that $120 million would ‘just be a downpayment’ on the IT upgrades necessary to make Philadelphia a leader.
We’ll follow up with the city’s chief innovation officer Adel Ebeid, who will be leading the charge on these upgrades, and get back to you with more details.