Information Systems Technology
September 2, 2020
CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VA — For the 11th consecutive year, Chesterfield County continues to set an example for the innovative use of technology in local government, earning the top spot in the 2020 Digital Counties Survey. This is the fourth time being ranked No. 1 since 2010 among counties nationwide with populations between 250,000 and 499,000. Additionally, the county has placed in the top 10 each year since 2010, including nine times in the top 5.
The Center for Digital Government and the National Association of Counties recently announced the winners of the 18th annual Digital Counties Survey. The survey identifies the best technology practices among U.S. counties, including initiatives that streamline delivery of government services, encourage open data, collaboration and shared services, enhance cybersecurity and contribute to disaster response and recovery efforts.
“We are thrilled to be ranked No. 1 among the top digital counties,” Chief Information Officer Barry Condrey said. “Chesterfield leadership recognizes the value of technology and has invested at the enterprise level to equip all county departments to improve service delivery to the residents of the county. Our IST department, working in partnership with customer departments, has implemented systems and technologies to rival any in the private sector, all to raise the level of service to our residents.”
Survey judges identified a wide range of efforts across several areas in determining Chesterfield’s ranking. The survey notes that Chesterfield “handled sudden work-from-home orders well in part due to its 10-year technology modernization plan and enterprise approach to data-driven government.” Examples that were highlighted were “StratIS” (Strategic Information Sharing) data program and the county’s chatbot, “ChesterBot,” which helped the county manage a sudden surge in phone call volume during the pandemic’s initial stages.
In addition to a comprehensive review of more than 600 assets to create a 10-year Legacy Technology Asset Modernization Plan and the creation of a Disaster Recover System Availability Plan, the county prioritize its response to COVID-19, doubling its VPN capacity to allow most county employees to telework. Chesterfield recently implemented Microsoft Teams across all county departments, which has been instrumental in moving to a telework environment with people meeting and collaborating virtually.
Other projects included a website to guide employees through the transition to working from home, multifactor authentication, mandatory cybersecurity training, loaner laptops and other infrastructure, as well as a chatbot, public maps of dine-out restaurants and Wi-Fi access points, an online grant program for businesses, and an emergency operations center to harness data for response and keep track of personal protective equipment.
The Digital Counties Survey is conducted annually in the spring. All U.S. counties are invited to participate in the survey, which examines each county’s comprehensive technology plans and programs.
The county’s IST department will be recognized at the Sept. 23 Board of Supervisors meeting.