Keith Hanson has tremendous goals for the City of Shreveport, Louisiana. As the City’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Director of Smart City Efforts, he is blazing a trail not only in his position as the City’s first CTO but for bringing digital transformation to a community of Shreveport’s size—nearly 200,000 residents.
“I’m making up the game as I go along,” jokes Hanson. “I’m responsible for all tech in the City, including software and hardware, and for bringing the City universal broadband.” Hanson is faced with lofty goals, but he is up to the challenge.
“It’s exciting for me. I know that in other communities, things can move slowly. We’re small enough to be nimble. We’re practically at ground zero from a technologist’s perspective.”
Where CivicPlus is going, building solutions to help de-silo governments and offering integrated systems out-of-the-box is incredible. It makes our jobs easier and more impactful, so keep it up. We appreciate you. You make my life easier.
Chief Technology Officer and Director of Smart City Efforts
Bringing Private Sector Skills to the Public Sector
Having built, scaled, and successfully managed his own Information Technology consultancy for over a decade, Hanson maintains the skillset needed to lead Shreveport’s digital transformation.
“I’m very acquainted with software problem-solving and challenges, and diving deep into a consultative, value-based role for C-Suite-level staff. Doing such work for the Mayor is exciting. There is no shortage of challenges in any city government, but I love my job. Once I became involved in local government, I realized how much I loved giving back to the community and pushing our city forward relative to technology. Now, it’s an itch that I have to scratch.”
Relying on CivicPlus® for Integrated Technology
One of Hanson’s early initiatives was familiarizing himself with the City’s existing software stack, which includes the CivicEngage content management system as the foundation for the City’s website, hosting, and digital presence.
“I’m a big fan of the CivicEngage solution,” said Hanson. “We benefit from a lot of integration through a single partner. CivicPlus has bent over backward to help us solve our problems. We could be paying twice as much and getting half the service from a bigger company. When I look at CivicPlus’ product strategy roadmap, I very much like your focus. What you’re doing for governments like ours is extremely exciting.”
In addition to CivicEngage, the City of Shreveport leverages the CivicReady® mass notification system.
“CivicReady is so easy to use,” said Hanson. “I only needed 30-minutes of training.”
In his quest to continually innovate and leverage technology to meet the City’s needs, Hanson has found some unique use cases for CivicReady.
“One of our neighborhoods’ residents were concerned that a liquor store was going to be built in their community,” said Hanson. “They obtained 1,000 signatures trying to block the development. All that stress and effort could have been avoided; however, if we could have proactively facilitated a conversation between the store owner and the residents. To enable such dialogue in the future, we’re now using CivicReady to allow people to sign up for alerts about any development projects that will impact their neighborhood. If there is a project that raises concerns, we’ll schedule a mini town hall and facilitate proactive discussion and resolutions.”
Looking Ahead to Greater Digital Transformation
When asked what element of the CivicPlus roadmap is most exciting to Hanson as he continues his digital transformation efforts in Shreveport, he says it’s CivicPlus’ commitment to device-agnostic communications.
“I saw the [Internet of Things (IoT)] of the CivicPlus product strategy roadmap, and I can’t get it out of my mind, even though we have some work to do before we’re ready for such connectivity,” said Hanson. “IoT devices are essentially sensors and cameras and audio that are backhauled on the Internet to a central office. The hard part is figuring out the interoperability between all the devices and collecting the data. We’re solving the data warehouse challenges already with data we pull from our [enterprise resource planning (ERP) software], financial systems, contact systems, etc. We’re tying all that information together. The next big step for our City is to add real-time data. Imagine being able to pull data from every traffic signal, light pole with a Wi-Fi antenna, and garbage truck—who else drives every other street in your city every week? Your garbage truck! Imagine the possibilities of the data we could obtain from them with the right technology.”
According to Hanson, IoT technology, and the data that such devices can aggregate can help cities like Shreveport meet the modern expectations of local citizens.
The challenge is getting rid of the siloes that local governments naturally create. If we can de-silo government and create a more connected and responsive city that uses open data and is more transparent, the more our citizens will trust us. Where CivicPlus is going, building solutions to help de-silo governments and offering integrated systems out-of-the-box is incredible. It makes our jobs easier and more impactful, so keep it up. We appreciate you. You make my life easier.
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