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Chicago's CIO doesn't believe in 'good enough'

Patrick Thibodeau | Jan. 7, 2013
Brett Goldstein brings a deep background and big plans for the city's IT.

Before being appointed CIO, he was the city's chief data officer, and is a former commander in the Chicago Police Dept.

Goldstein adamantly rejects the idea that government work is second to the private sector. "One of the things that drives me crazy is this idea of 'good enough for government work' -- that is not OK," he said.

"I am going to raise the bar really high -- I don't want people pointing to IT as ever inhibiting business, it should be enabling business," said Goldstein.

State and local governments, such as Los Angeles, Wyoming, Colorado, as well as some federal agencies, are using public clouds for email, word processing and spreadsheets.

But government adoption of "pure play" cloud, something similar to what Microsoft and Google offer, remains low, so Chicago is still in early adopter category. IDC expects the potential government market using these cloud services will reach about 1.5 per cent this year, a 50 per cent increase from last year, said analyst Shawn McCarthy.

Chicago, and other government agencies that move to cloud services, typically announce substantial cost savings up front, but McCarthy says the potential savings can easily shrink.

One problem McCarthy sees is users lagging on shutting off older systems and making a complete transition. "The savings that they potentially could get don't always materialize," he said.


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