Bakersfield Tech Chief on Data Analytics, Value of Simplicity

As component of Business Insider — California’s ongoing efforts to educate visitors on condition companies, their IT ideas and initiatives, here’s the newest in our periodic collection of interviews with departmental IT leaders.

Gregory Pronovost is technological innovation providers director at the metropolis of Bakersfield, a placement he has held for five yrs — and underneath his leadership, the entity has developed from a division to a comprehensive office. He is a veteran town worker of 25 a long time, possessing joined Bakersfield in July 1997 as an accounting clerk. Need to not too long ago, Pronovost was assistant director of facts technological innovation, a submit he held for a lot more than two several years in advance of ascending to director. He also invested additional than a decade in network techniques roles.

Pronovost retains a bachelor’s of science in business administration – administration information and facts devices from California Condition University, Bakersfield, exactly where he graduated magna cum laude.

Market Insider — California: As technological innovation services director at your business, how do you explain your part and how have the position and obligations of the director changed in new yrs?

Pronovost: I look at my part as the chief of the Engineering Companies Division, offering the vision and course we need to take to be profitable in our endeavors. To the rest of the organization, we are a consulting spouse, collaboratively working towards a widespread aim in guidance of every single department’s line of business. Over the final handful of several years, I have witnessed collaboration enhance. Departments are partnering more with Engineering Solutions as technologies by itself results in being more ingrained in the day-to-working day functions of the city. Technological innovation is the catalyst of adjust, alter is constant as this sort of, we as a section need to guide and handle that improve.

Field Insider — California: How large a purpose do you personally perform in producing your organization’s strategic system?

Pronovost: At present, the town does not have a strategic program. We do have targets set forth by our Metropolis Council that all departments use as a information in the implementation of initiatives. In the very last pair of several years, the senior administration team has been doing work on developing a core established of concepts or values in preparation of a larger sized extensive strategic initiative. As component of the senior administration staff, I as nicely as the other users are actively concerned in the improvement of our organizational strategic scheduling.

Field Insider — California: What huge initiatives or jobs are coming up? What kinds of RFPs must we be observing for in the upcoming 6 to 12 months?

Pronovost: We have a pair of massive modernization projects that will be coming to fruition inside of the calendar year. The 1st is a regional community safety radio program in partnership with the county of Kern to improved aid our very first responders. This new process will be a condition-of-the-art digital trunked radio system with improved coverage and capabilities. The second is the alternative of our aged enterprise useful resource organizing (ERP) system, with a modern-day ERP to far better support main performance. Shifting ahead, we will be likely out to RFP for the ancillary techniques in concert with the nonetheless-to-be-identified ERP, the greatest-of-breed modules to assistance particular traces of business. On top of that, we are making up our Details Analytics team and will be likely out to RFP to obtain a excellent associate to help us with that course of action.

Industry Insider — California: What term or phrase do you use to refer to what many contact “digital transformation”? How significantly together is your business in that procedure and how will you know when it’s concluded?

Pronovost: I merely refer to electronic transformation as modernization, simply because at its core it is the switching of processes and workflows to be extra assessable and accessible in modern strains of conversation that are used every working day. We are increasing our services from the conventional dissemination of info in newspapers, bulletins and websites to new platforms this kind of as intelligent gadgets, social media and (synthetic intelligence) AI bots, as effectively as transitioning totally digitized workflows so that citizens can do business with the city 24/7 from the convenience of their dwelling area or any place with cell units. This is what our inhabitants hope from us as company providers. Currently, we are in the early stages of employing these modifications and we are psyched to convey them ahead. As far as recognizing when we’re carried out, as I have pointed out right before, alter is regular, so we will by no means be concluded.

Market Insider — California: What is your approximated IT spending plan and how numerous workforce do you have? What is the over-all finances?

Pronovost: For the upcoming Fiscal Year 2023, the Technological know-how Providers Section is requesting a whole finances of $16.2 million. Our office has an approved compliment of 60 (complete-time employees) FTEs. The town of Bakersfield’s estimated finances is $852.6 million.

Marketplace Insider — California: How do you favor to be contacted by sellers, which include by way of social media these types of as LinkedIn? How could possibly distributors greatest educate them selves prior to meeting with you?

Pronovost: My desire is e mail that way if the item or company is of interest to us, I can then ahead to the crew that will get a closer glance. I’ll admit my LinkedIn video game is weak. Balancing function and life leave little time to update social media platforms, despite the fact that I do respect reading through what many others have posted. As with any new romance, the vendor must get to know us. There is a great deal of facts that can be obtained from our internet site as nicely as several council or committee conferences. During the first meet up with, discover out what our pain details are, see the place we may will need help, familiarize by yourself with our procurement process getting additional adaptable with yours could guide to a smoother transaction. Also, know that ought to you be successful in engaging us with your product or service or service, it is not a a single-and-accomplished transaction, we are seeking to spouse with our solution vendors, preserving abreast of enhancements, bug fixes, updates, and addressing our considerations.

Market Insider — California: In your tenure in this placement, which venture or accomplishment are you most happy of?

Pronovost: Quickly, it has to be the creating up of the section and the advancements to our employees. 4 many years back, the Engineering Expert services Division, was a traditional IT help assistance entity with an authorized employees of 37 FTEs. Today, we are a full department within the group, with an licensed workers of 60 and expanding. As portion of that advancement, we structured our complex positions in a way that encourages agility and various avenues of occupation development. Our employees are challenged to dedicate to continual approach enhancement and ongoing schooling. Most of all, we are positioning ourselves to lover with our fellow departments on the use of engineering and greatest tactics to superior put into practice courses and initiatives that provide serious, meaningful change to our citizens.

Industry Insider — California: If you could transform one matter about IT procurement, what would it be?

Pronovost: In a word, simplify. Staying a government corporation, there is a bureaucracy to the procurement procedure that ought to be followed. That course of action virtually generally functions against how know-how and engineering expert services are bought currently. Each and every procurement is a minimal little bit different in how the deal is created. We in Technological know-how Products and services are doing the job with our Finance and Authorized Solutions departments on what we can do internally to streamline the process. We also inquire our answer companions to do the exact same, so with any luck , it doesn’t conclude up taking months to invest in items and providers.

Industry Insider — California: What do you study to stay abreast of developments in the govtech/SLED sector?

Pronovost: I subscribe to a quantity of electronic mail newsletters and paper publications masking the 3 concentrations of govt, local, state and federal, with an emphasis in technology use, these as Governing administration Know-how*, as properly as all those set out by our alternative suppliers. On top of that, I see what my fellow public-sector CIOs are accomplishing through our membership with MISAC (Municipal Information and facts Methods Affiliation of California) and ICMA (International City/County Administration Affiliation). Lastly, my team and I show up at a number of conferences and collaboration chances. I’m normally pleasantly surprised in the exclusive means current technological innovation is made use of to tackle new issues.

Market Insider — California: What are your hobbies, and what do you appreciate studying?

Pronovost: I appreciate expending time with my loved ones performing escape rooms, solving book/activity puzzles and viewing videos. Not too a lot into looking at for enjoyment (do a ton of studying for operate), but do delight in functioning with my arms, this sort of as pictures, electronics and actively playing retro arcade game titles and digital (online video) pinball (the things I grew up with in the ’80s).

*Govt Technological know-how magazine is a publication of e.Republic, which also produces Field Insider — California.

Editor’s note: This interview has been lightly edited for model and brevity.