CUSTOMER STORY: LEE COUNTY CLERK OF COURTS

Lee County Clerk of Courts leverages Info-Tech best practices to drive IT excellence

IT leaders Lisa DiDonato and Sharon Leventhal drive accountability, transparency, and efficiency in IT operations

Located on the southwest coast of Florida, Lee County is home to popular tourist destinations such as Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Renowned for its idyllic white beaches, abundant wildlife, and exceptional sport fishing, Lee County’s 800,000 residents enjoy this paradise year round. Local communities are supported by robust County services ranging from utilities and transportation to law enforcement and judicial services.

An important player in delivering those judicial services is the Lee County Clerk of Courts and Comptroller’s office, which provides administrative and operational support to the courts and the county, including safeguarding the integrity of all court and official records. Serving the technology needs at the Clerk of Courts is an IT Department led by CIO Lisa DiDonato. With nearly 20 years’ experience at Lee County, DiDonato began as a systems analyst after spending 18 years in the private sector. Another dedicated senior IT member at the Clerk’s office is Sharon Leventhal, Senior Strategy Analyst, who joined 14 years ago as a project manager, also making the switch from the private sector.

The Clerk’s office is committed to using the latest technology to drive accountability, transparency, and efficiency in its operations. DiDonato noted the difference in approach at Lee County versus her private sector experience: “Here, you can really focus on the outcome and not the output. In government, as long as we’re being responsible stewards of taxpayers’ money and working within our budget, we get to really focus on the mission.” Leventhal agreed: “In the private sector, it was all about the bottom line.”

Member Names

Lisa DiDonato, CIO,
and Sharon Leventhal, Senior Strategy Analyst,
​Lee County Clerk of Courts

Industry

Public Sector

“When working with our previous firm on a project, they would hand you a bunch of documentation and then you’re on your own. And when you asked for something further, you would always get a different person. There was no consistency.”

Putting best-practice research into practice with Info-Tech​

When DiDonato stepped into the CIO role at the Clerk’s office, she found an IT Department that was structured according to lines of business in a silo approach that lacked efficiency. To help the department evolve into a service-oriented organization, DiDonato looked for expert guidance. The Clerk’s office had used a large advisory firm in the past but found it was missing consistent and practical support.

Leventhal described the experience with the firm: “They would hand you a bunch of documentation and then you’re on your own. And when you asked for something further, you would always get a different person. There was no consistency.” DiDonato concurred: “In a 30-minute analyst call, the first 10 minutes of every call was wasted having to re-introduce yourself, your organization, and your goals. They would send all the documents they have on a particular question and each one was as long as a book. It was not helpful.”

In search of a more suitable solution, DiDonato was introduced to research and advisory firm Info-Tech Research Group via a referral from another public sector CIO in Florida. She found the Info-Tech experience a welcome change from the previous analyst firm: “Once you identify what you want to do, Info-Tech doesn’t leave you. They carry on and help you implement. And I get the same analyst each time I’m working on a particular initiative. We don’t have to start over every single time. Another thing that has been very beneficial is that the Info-Tech resources have all worked in IT and bring practical knowledge.”

Pursuing IT excellence with surveys, workshops, and training​

Leaning on Info-Tech’s expertise, the IT Department at the Clerk’s office has leveraged best-practice research, effective diagnostic tools, and results-driven workshops. Stepping into a CIO role where there were no documented strategies, policies, or procedures, DiDonato began with Info-Tech’s Develop an IT Strategy plan for an actionable and fact-based approach, followed by diagnostic tools like the CEO-CIO Alignment program to align IT with business priorities and the CIO Business Vision survey to measure stakeholder satisfaction. She also leveraged The First 100 Days as CIO blueprint and guided implementation: “I had a Guided Implementation where I met with an analyst twice a week. It was a wonderful experience,” she noted.

Over time, multiple IT members at the organization have used a number of Info-Tech surveys, workshops, and analyst engagements. The group recently leveraged a Change Management workshop to address the process needs of a related business unit. DiDonato explained that Info-Tech modified the content to suit the non-IT audience: “Info-Tech gave the week-long workshop and today the business unit is using a change management system. In fact, they absolutely could not live without it now. I’m really happy about the way that turned out.”

In addition, DiDonato and her team took a Resource Planning workshop followed by several months of work with two Info-Tech analysts. All their hard work was put to full use recently as the department embarks on the implementation of a new ITSM solution. While the ITSM vendor wanted the team to re-do the resource planning, they didn’t have to because of the previous work that was put in place with the workshop and analyst engagements. “We saved at least 6 months to a year’s worth of time because of our Resource Planning workshop. We didn’t have to start from scratch when it came time to implement our new ITSM system because of the work and expert resources we received earlier from Info-Tech,” said DiDonato.

macbook showing change management graphic

“We can’t know everything—technology changes on a regular basis and we get hit with new things. We go to Info-Tech to get the research and to get the results. We definitely view Info-Tech as our partner.”

Meeting the challenge of changing technology​

Reflecting on their experience with Info-Tech over the last few years, the IT Department at Lee County Clerk’s office has come to view the company as an indispensable resource as they enhance, standardize, and accelerate IT practices. Leventhal, who uses Info-Tech regularly, commented, “We can’t know everything—technology changes on a regular basis and we get hit with new things. We go to Info-Tech to get the research and to get the results. We definitely view Info-Tech as our partner.”

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