Council approves plan to improve Perth County’s IT, GIS

·3 min read

PERTH COUNTY – The Perth County Council approved, in principle, the County of Perth IT and GIS Strategic Plan Report which was presented by Perry Group Consulting in collaboration with Esri Canada on Sept. 1. The proposed plan evaluated current IT (Information Technology) and GIS (Geographic Information System) within Perth County Technology Services and offered recommendations to improve their systems. The project, beginning in August 2021, was sponsored by Perth County’s Chief Administrative Officer and the Manager of Technical Services.

The report surveyed what is working within the county’s IT and GIS environments and provided recommendations for service improvements. The County of Perth IT and GIS Strategic Plan Report builds on the current systems in place and aims to create enhancements and efficiencies within the implementation of technology and digital solutions in Perth County.

Perry Group Consulting created a three-phase work plan, which included the discovery of current IT and GIS solutions, the strategizing of how to best leverage their current state and ultimately created a plan for proposed improvements to current systems.

The report concluded that the current state of the IT and GIS infrastructure within Perth County is a strong foundation for growth, being both stable and reliable. The major concerns within the report are that of understaffing and underspending within the IT sector in the county. The Technology Services team is lean and as there is a growing demand for these services and expertise, the team does not hold the capacity to handle this need.

In phase two of the report, Perry Group Consulting analyzed that there are current solutions being implemented but not fully leveraged. With a more manual approach on the backend of Municipal online services, the final stage of the plan looks to streamline this process to a more technologically advanced approach by fully digitizing paper-based backend processes.

The overall recommendations given in the report identify strategic directions to optimize and automate existing processes. They look to extend the outreach of IT and GIS to allow county employees to use current resources more effectively. Some additional opportunities discussed include creating a more formal IT service management process, to continue improving cyber-security, to develop a more formal IT risk management program, improve IT and GIS governance framework and to hire more Technology Services staff to accommodate the growing demand of IT and GIS within Perth County. Several of these projects are prioritized, with some currently underway, and are being put into place this year, while others are slated for 2023 to 2024.

The expected outcomes of this plan are an improvement in capabilities and effectiveness of IT and GIS solutions within Perth County, an increase in cost efficiency and customer service delivery and convenience. Additionally, the plan hopes to increase the overall connectedness and wellbeing of the community.

“Over the years we have seen how technology has changed our lives so dramatically. IT and GIS [are] almost as important as EMS,” states Warden Aitcheson.

The importance of technology in corporate settings has grown now more than ever and with 94 per cent of Canadians online, the municipal government needs to deliver secure and optimized solutions to satisfy this heightened demand.

“This is something we do truly have to build on,” says Aitcheson.

Melissa Dunphy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner