Information Systems - November 9, 2017
For the 16th year in a row Winston-Salem has been ranked as one of the top 10 most technology-focused cities of its size in America by the Center for Digital Government, a national research and advisory institute.
Winston-Salem ranked second in the center's 2017 Digital Cities Survey of cities with a population of 125,000 to 249,999. The annual study ranks the use of information technology by local governments.
The 2017 survey ranked cities for their use of digital technology to improve citizen services, enhance transparency and encourage citizen engagement, said Teri Takai, the center’s executive director. "This year’s leading digital cities are leveraging technology to connect disadvantaged citizens with critical information and services, promote citizen inclusion in important government processes and share government data with the public," Takai said.
The center cited the city’s collaboration with Bloomberg Philanthropies' What Works Cities initiative, with the twin goals of establishing an open data policy to promote transparency and accountability in government, and of better using data to improve services and manage performance.
It also praised the city's "broad and comprehensive mobile-first strategy that encompasses internal departments, such as engineering and zoning inspections, as well as facilities maintenance, building inspections and housing code enforcement. The result: more workers in the field with mobile devices and better workflows and task management."
Over the past year, the city has implemented a new Online Information Center, Electronic Plan Review, and new Permitting and Inspections suite of applications to offer new and enhanced services; completed 120 miles of city-owned high speed fiber network and a core ring of 14 primary sites; and extended AT&T’s ultra-high speed gigabit network to five more recreation centers.
Tom Kureczka, the city’s chief information officer, attributed the city’s ranking not only to its IT initiatives last year but also the city’s "overall success in the healthy balancing of staff time and resources toward IT infrastructure, internal business systems, and solutions for citizens, the development community and other external agencies. I am also very excited, because we are already continuing to build upon last year’s successes with new projects this year."
Winston-Salem has ranked in the top 10 of the center’s annual survey every year since 2002, the first year the city participated. This includes a first-place ranking in 2014 and second-place rankings in 2003, 2008 and 2011.