San Francisco's CIO Chris Vein calls himself an "accidental CIO." His background includes working in and around the White House during Reagan, Bush and Clinton administrations. For the city of San Francisco, Vein's political background has turned out to be an important asset. He is the first CIO of the city and county of San Francisco, which has a 150-year history of having individual departments that don't necessarily work well together, which isn't all that dissimilar from corporations with various fiefdoms...or government agencies.
"What I am trying to do is take 60 different departments within the city, and varying degrees of technology, varying degrees of control, and varying degrees of money and trying to come up with a common plan for the city and then based on that plan, come up with a rational way of identifying what we should be spending our money on and how we are going to spend it," Vein told me during video interview. He is applying his team of 330 people and about a $100 million budget to transform the operations of the city.
During our interview, Vein also shares his plans to upgrade outdated ERP systems, provide e-government for the people of San Francisco, bridge the digital divide and deliver affordable, municipal Wi-Fi Internet access to city residents.