Craig Troska, Chief Technology Officer at Hennepin County

Recipient of the ‘Collaboration’ Golden GOVIT Category

Project Name: “Rapid response IT team to help county departments serve residents remotely”

Hennepin County’s IT formed a rapid response team to identify technology solutions that arose from the Pandemic. Some things accomplished were moving systems and tools to the government cloud, rolling out Microsoft teams for remote workers, digital mail delivery and drop box, and video visitations.

Check out the following to learn more about Craig & his great work with Hennepin County!

Which solutions does your team plan to use permanently, rather than a short-term Pandemic-inspired approach?
    • Digital Mail Delivery – we are moving this into a permanent solution, and are actively expanding to more areas.
    • Digital Drop Box – This solution was so successful for the groups we started with, that this is evolving into a permanent solution with additional enhancements
      • We are adding in additional malware detections to ensure the attachments are safe
      • We are looking to create a resident facing website, to allow them to log in and submit documents.  This is envisioned to be able to enhance backend processing to automatically route the documents into respective content management systems, and then notify staff there are new documents available in the case management systems
    • Video visitation – This product is also expanding, but at a different pace.  There are many opportunities for this, and as we look to expand, we are faced with regulatory and process interpretations on whether a televisit can be substituted for an in person visit.  This has sparked some very good policy conversations, and helps us frame up our legislative platform aganda
    • Microsoft Teams – This has been one of the most transformational tools we’ve seen in a long time.  We have added in a dialpad option for staff to be able to make audio calls from home, while using their county provided phone number.  Another extension is Voicemail transcription.
    • COVID-19 Statistical Model – This one is in more maintenance mode and likely will decrease in use as we get the pandemic behind us, however, we have learned a lot about impacts to application performance when high bandwidth is a need, and are blending that into architectural designs.
How has working amidst a Pandemic shifted your role and your outlook in your industry?

Many of our existing solutions were based on the premise of staff being in high density campus buildings, with large network connections between.  We’ve had to rethink application design, and build new patterns to adjust for this.  These types of changes are where the industry has been going, and we used the pandemic as a lever to incent change to those new design principles.  We are also looking at our culture internally, tackling issues such as proximity bias, improving our written communications, both in instant messaging as well as email/memos, and being more intentional to create the “ad-hoc” conversations between staff.

What are you looking forward to most when the Pandemic restrictions are lifted?

On a work front, I’m looking forward to helping business leaders see how they can leverage technology and automation more in their workday.  On a personal front, I’m looking forward to being able to take a vacation again and not worry about restrictions on where I can go.