CUSTOMER STORY: TODD RYAN, CIO, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
CIO of Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office leverages Info-Tech expertise to meet complex IT needs
CIO Todd Ryan brings order to the IT department at Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
Home to approximately 1.5 million residents, Hillsborough is one of the largest counties in Florida and hosts one of its major cities, Tampa. Law enforcement services in the area are provided by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), whose mission is to serve, protect, and defend the community.
Chief Information Officer Todd Ryan is responsible for meeting the technology needs of the HCSO. With more than 30 years of IT management experience primarily with large private-sector corporations, Ryan’s initial experience with the HCSO was in the role of a volunteer reserve deputy. When an opportunity came up to work in IT at the HCSO, Ryan made the jump from private to public sector, thinking it would be an interesting but short-term assignment. “Here I am 12 years later. I ended up staying and getting immersed in the challenges,” said Ryan.
When Ryan began working at the HCSO, he discovered an environment that was quite different from commonly held beliefs about the public- sector. He confessed, “As a private sector employee, I believed in a certain government worker stereotype – they work only four hours a day and are 20 years behind. I was shocked when I started at HCSO because they had a modern data center, use modern technology, and ran like a private-sector shop.” Further, Ryan appreciates the sense of satisfaction he has in leading a public-sector IT department that is working hard for the good of his community.
Todd Ryan, CIO, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
Leveraging step-by-step support with Info-Tech
Eventually moving into the role of CIO, Ryan found an unwavering executive commitment to providing law enforcement with the best technology available: “From the moment Chad Chronister became the Sheriff of Hillsborough County, it was clear that he expected the absolute best from everyone. He installed an executive leadership team, led by Chief Deputy Donna Lusczynski, that pushed for the highest level of service possible from every single department. I knew we were in trouble—I had passionate, hard-working employees, but we lacked the frameworks needed to channel that passion.”
Faced with a department where standardized, formal processes were previously avoided, Ryan knew he would need to get frameworks in place quickly to bring structure to IT processes and efficiently serve the needs of the organization. To help socialize, design, and implement those frameworks, Ryan looked for external guidance. Starting first with another large IT advisory firm, Ryan quickly realized that they simply weren’t providing the practical guidance that he and his team needed at that moment in their transformation journey. He compared the experience to trying to lose weight and being given the science around exercise and nutrition but no instructions for how to apply that knowledge.
Seeking a better match, Ryan found Info-Tech Research Group, which partners closely with IT leaders and teams, providing actionable information and tools to help deliver measurable results. Continuing the weight-loss analogy, he described his early experience with Info-Tech: “When we did a trial with Info-Tech, they gave us the meal plan for the next five days. They said, ‘Meet us at the playground at 7:00am to do exercises and remember to log your food consumption in this app. The change starts today, and here’s step one.’ They gave us enough structure and enough of a nudge to get us going. It was a lot more actionable. So, we signed up with Info-Tech.”
Following a roadmap to reach their destination
Ryan and his team at the HCSO were quick to take advantage of Info-Tech’s blueprints, which serve as roadmaps and contain the methodology, tools, and templates needed to solve specific IT problems. Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides access to Info-Tech’s world-class analysts for a series of calls to help with project execution. For example, the team used the Guided Implementation for Standardize the Service Desk. Ryan reported on the value of that program: “The ‘Standardize the Service Desk’ Guided Implementation was an eye-opener, and it was also great timing because we were in the process of selecting a new help desk system. What we learned from Info-Tech helped us greatly as we designed, implemented, and administered the new system.”
Ryan also completed Info-Tech’s project management blueprint Tailor IT Project Management Processes to Fit Your Projects to help build out the formal approach to projects that was lacking at HCSO. To further build a more mature, service-oriented IT organization, Ryan has also taken advantage of The First 100 Days As CIO program with an executive advisor and the Build a Business-Aligned IT Strategy blueprint. He is also working through portfolio management.
“The ‘Standardize the Service Desk’ Guided Implementation was an eye-opener, and it was also great timing because we were in the process of selecting a new help desk system. What we learned from Info-Tech helped us greatly as we designed, implemented, and administered the new system.”
Gathering feedback to measure business satisfaction
To help measure how the IT department’s performance was perceived by HCSO stakeholders, Ryan took advantage of several Info-Tech diagnostic surveys, including the CIO Business Vision survey, which was designed to gather actionable feedback on business partner satisfaction with IT services. Ryan commented, “It was great having the guidance and the framework of the CIO Business Vision survey. It was very insightful – the walkthrough of the results was eye-opening. Prior to the survey, we had set certain goals, which didn’t even register in the top-five list of what people cared about in the survey. So, we did a quick shift of our goals to better match user feedback.”
Checking the fine print for contract savings
Using Info-Tech’s comprehensive Contract Review services, the HCSO has gained insight into negotiating the best terms, conditions, and prices for software contracts. Prior to using Info-Tech, the HCSO had used the other advisory firm’s review service for a major software contract. Ryan reported that Info-Tech’s review provided added value: “Info-Tech’s Contract Review was extremely useful because, even though we had previously run that same contract through the other organization, Info-Tech came up with some things that hadn’t been identified. I was surprised because I thought this other organization was so big and well-known worldwide that it would surely review contracts as thoroughly as anyone, but Info-Tech delivered a far more comprehensive and accurate assessment for us.”
“Info-Tech’s Contract Review service was extremely useful because, even though we had previously run that same contract through the other organization, Info-Tech came up with some things that hadn’t been identified.”
Learning from experienced and unbiased Info-Tech advice
As part of the HCSO’s Info-Tech membership, Ryan has regular access to a dedicated executive counselor. Initially unsure that he would need this feature of the membership, Ryan quickly discovered the benefit of executive coaching: “I realized the value in talking to someone who wasn’t afraid to be honest with me. Our executive counselor has served in a CIO role for several years in the past and has such valuable practical advice to share on achieving success as a leader. I would say for me personally, the dedicated executive counselor has been by far the most valuable aspect of the Info-Tech membership. It’s been fantastic.”