A Look Back at the NC Digital Government Summit

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Tech experts from the public and private sectors gathered for the 17th Annual North Carolina Digital Government Summit (NC DGS) on August 30-31 at the North Raleigh Hilton.

“The Digital Government Summit is a wonderful event that we at the Department of Information Technology always look forward to. It provides an excellent opportunity for leaders in IT to come together, share ideas and learn from one another,” Secretary and State Chief Information Officer of North Carolina Department of Information Technology (NC DIT), Eric Boyette said in his opening remarks Wednesday morning. Sec. Boyette then introduced Governor Roy Cooper, the first North Carolina governor to attend the annual summit.

Gov. Roy Cooper called for expanded high-speed broadband service throughout North Carolina in his address to the more than 400-person audience. Emphasizing the state’s need for high-speed connectivity, he noted that, per the NC DIT Broadband infrastructure Office, there are more than 400,000 N.C. households without access to high-speed internet service, 89 percent of which are in rural areas. Gov. Cooper also highlighted the importance of strong cybersecurity initiatives and technology innovation in N.C.

Following Gov. Cooper’s remarks, Bronkar Lee, a performance expert, gave the morning’s keynote, “Hacking the Learning Curve.”  Lee captivated the audience with a dynamic performance including musical instruments and juggling while sharing his philosophy on learning new skills. He encouraged the audience to actively seek learning opportunities to remain relevant and to succeed in the quickly-changing IT landscape.

After Lee’s keynote, participants chose from several breakout sessions, including “Security in the Age of Constant Connection,” “Optimizing the Workforce and Workplace of Tomorrow,” “Dashboards and Data Visualization,” and “Blockchain 101.” North Carolina Innovation Center Director Deante’ Tyler presented in “Optimizing the Workforce and Workplace of Tomorrow” session. He discussed the importance of making sure that IT infrastructure is up-to-date, creating an attractive work environment and recognizing and attracting talent from the growing millennial workforce. He emphasized the need to stay relevant, adapt and look to the future. Tyler then turned to audience members, asking them to share the advice that they wish they had received before working in or with government. Audience members said that “you shouldn’t expect things in state government to move quickly,” but “you can make a difference.”

After lunch, NC DIT’s own State Chief Risk Officer, Maria S. Thompson, moderated the “How Does Private Industry Approach their Own Cybersecurity Challenges” panel that featured representatives from SAS, Duke Energy, and BlueCross and BlueShield. The panel discussed cybersecurity practices, supply chain, practical use of information and challenges faced by their respective organizations. Stu Bradley, Vice President, Cybersecurity Solutions, of SAS, said, “Across state agencies, it’s going to be different, and we just need to take a methodical approach to that…It’s ultimately going to come down to who’s sharing what information” when addressing consistent processes of sharing information.

Afternoon breakout sessions included “Navigating the Cyber Landscape in Your Organization,” “Reinventing the Customer Experience” and “Maintaining Visibility in the Cloud.” In their presentation addressing “Maintaining Visibility in the Cloud,” Phillip Lamb, Senior Drupal Developer for the NC DIT Digital Services team, and Gary Pilafas, ViON Corporationn Cloud Product Management Senior Director, discussed lessons learned with old hosting environments and how the state has gained visibility and been able to add features by moving to Amazon Web Services (AWS). Jon Minshew, NC DIT’s newly-appointed Chief Customer Service Officer, co-led the “Reinventing the Customer Experience” session with Karl Hills, of NIC. To a large and engaged audience, Minshew said, “If we’re taking in information just to take in information, that doesn’t help anybody.” Instead, he emphasized, the customer experience should be the primary focus consistently and we must invest in enterprise-wide tools and resources for service desks to work most efficiently.

Day two of NC DGS began with an inspiring keynote titled “How to Be Successful During Times of Change,” from H. James Dallas, an author, speaker, consultant and proven change agent. He said that IT professionals and organizations must be insightful to recognize opportunities, agile to seize opportunities and willing to automate to scale up opportunities. Dallas encouraged leaders to be a connectors, influencers and orchestrators.

The conference concluded with the “Smarter Government, Brighter Future” panel, moderated by Bill Greeves, Chief Information and Innovation Officer of Wake County, and featuring Jim Alberque, GIS and Engagement Technologies Manager of the City of Raleigh; Nicole Raimundo, Chief Information Officer of the Town of Cary and Deante’ Tyler, North Carolina Innovation Center Director. Tyler’s emphasis on leadership complemented Dallas’ earlier remarks that focused on being “change masters” within organizations. Raimundo left the panel and attendees to ponder the question, "What would an average citizen want to see?"





Government Technology, hosts and presents the annual North Carolina Digital Government Summit with the help of an advisory board of state and local government executives and technology and industry specialists from throughout North Carolina. These executives planned and developed this custom educational program designed to address the most important policy, management and technology issues surrounding the future of digital government in North Carolina. ­­

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