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Digital Subscriptions > Cities Today > Cities Today CC March 2018 > Government has a different vision of bottom line to business, says Boston’s CIO

Government has a different vision of bottom line to business, says Boston’s CIO

Jascha Franklin-Hodge, CIO, City of Boston, stepped down in January after four years driving the city’s digital strategy. Jonathan Andrews spoke to him about his time in office and how the city is working with shared-economy disruptors to provide better digital services for its citizens
Jascha Franklin-Hodge, outgoing CIO, City of Boston
Photo: City of Boston

You founded a web-based software company in 2003 and then managed it from being essentially a start-up to a company with 200 employees. What prompted you to apply to become CIO of Boston in 2014?

Two things, after a decade of building a business I was ready to do something else. The other reason was that I had over time–in large part through some of my advisory work with Code for America–found myself really interested in the challenges facing cities, and city governments trying to figure out how to metabolise the technological changes that were transforming every other aspect of life. It was very clear that cities didn’t always have the necessary people, resources or the necessary strategic outlook to put that technology to work on behalf of constituents. That struck me as both a very serious challenge and a very worthwhile one to undertake. When I saw that my own hometown was looking for a CIO I jumped at the chance.

How far is Boston in replacing legacy systems with cloud-based and open source systems?

We are making good headway. We still have a fair amount of legacy on-prem [on-premise] infrastructure but it’s largely things that are relatively easily moveable into the cloud. Either by replacing it with Software-as-a-Service applications where there are good solutions that make economic sense, or by moving the underlying infrastructure into the cloud-based environment and taking them off local servers.

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