IT Revolutionizing Smart City Solutions
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IT Revolutionizing Smart City Solutions

Scott Cardenas, CIO, City and County of Denver
Scott Cardenas, CIO, City and County of Denver

Scott Cardenas, CIO, City and County of Denver


Within the City and County of Denver we support over 54 unique lines of business. The volume of projects and the need for innovation is ongoing and staying in front of that curve is a constant challenge. At the same time we value our employees and are constantly investing in our team to make sure we “work hard and play hard”.

“Our ability to understand that line of business and bring technology, process and project management skills to the table is a necessity”

With that said, I continue to look at technology partners to transition support services, such that our team can focus on what makes the city better, and drive or facilitate innovation for city agencies and departments. I know there are a plethora of providers in this space; we’ll need to determine the best way to balance our capex and opex funding.

Impact of Data Integration as Competitive Edge

For the City of Denver, we’re focused on the “customer experience” for our residents. So we’re focused on the data around residents who do business with us by walking up to a counter, utilizing our website or mobile web app, and calling our 311 contact center. Irrespective of how they engage, we work to integrate this data in order to improve how people experience their local government. We continue to enhance our mobility offerings and leverage automation tools to drive operational efficiency.


Our ability to stay ahead of our customers’ needs, keeps me up at night. A constant scrub of our strategic plan and verifying our tactical plan will correctly position us to reach our goals.

Technical debt is another challenge that will change a best-laid plan in a heartbeat.

Significant IT Trends

Smart City technologies are driving us to vet big data, IOT, cloud and mobility offerings. We’re spending time understanding the technology and how that will specifically solve problems. The key with Smart City initiatives is that all of these technologies work in harmony so we can gather the analytics to ensure Denver is on the leading edge for our internal customers and our residents.

Recent Technologies

Denver Technology Services also supports the city’s Safety organizations (Police, Fire and Sheriff). The technology that includes everything from body-worn cameras, to case management systems for our attorneys, is transforming that industry. As body-worn cameras are leveraged, it creates process and technology opportunities downstream.  It is a fascinating time to be able to partner with multiple agencies to drive automation and more reliable evidence.

New Role of IT and CIO

We have moved from a support organization to a business enablement partner. My role as CIO is to partner with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, his administration, and my colleagues around the city to solve business and community problems. Our ability to understand that line of business and bring technology, process and project management skills to the table is a necessity. It is a great time to be a CIO and play an important role in driving efficiency, innovation and solutions.

Contribution in Tuning the Relation of IT with Business

I mentioned in a previous answer that we’ve evolved from being a support organization to a business enablement partner. The transformation effort started by building a great culture so that we can retain high performers, and recruit new, valued team members. Once we developed a high-performing culture, it positioned us for improved interaction with our business partners to drive innovation and problem solve. We started with one win at a time, which positioned us for the next one, and the next one, etc. We have to continue to deliver and be responsive to the business needs of the city, which is a complex, diverse organization.

Role of Security and CSO

The role of security is significant. We continue to invest in resources as well as educate our end users on security. We have a full time CISO who has a team dedicated to ensuring our preparedness to threats, vulnerabilities and educating our users.

Advice to CIOs

My advice is to focus on building relationships and trust with your business partners. Stay committed to adding tools to your tools box around:

•    Building a great culture for your employees

•    Effective communication

•    Surround yourself with people who complement you

•    Deliver!

Use these tools to be a trusted business partner who can drive value to the business.

Check Out: 

Top Smart City Startups

See Also: Top Smart City Solution Companies


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