Column: Improving service through technology

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Commentary by  Christopher Larsen

Larsen

Larsen

My path to becoming the director of informatics for the City of Westfield was not as clear as one might think. I started working for Westfield as a temp in customer service. That position turned full time when I was promoted to being a customer service representative.

The former director of informatics noticed my commitment and loyalty to Westfield with an understanding of technology and hired me as his operations coordinator. In that role I flourished as a project manager, I excelled in budget and purchasing and inter department communications. I took the time to learn as much as I could from the director, as I knew it would help further my success in IT.

Recently, our department launched WeConnect. It is a customer service management tool that streamlines communication between a citizen and a city employee. Whether you want a sign permit, a specific pot hole to be filled or report graffiti, this system allows a resident to use their phone or computer to report the problem and then track the process themselves. The resident will know when their request is completed, management will know how long it took to complete the request and it helps achieve overall efficiency and fiscal responsibility within city government.

My department is very proud of WeConnect as am I, so when the position of director became available in informatics I applied. I wanted to be a part of WeConnect. A system like WeConnect is never ending. The options that are available are endless and we can continue to make our city more effective by using WeConnect externally as well as internally.

This year, more options will be available for citizens in phase 2 and phase 3. In Phase 2 we plan to roll out credit card acceptance for permits and add the building permit process. Phase 3 is still being defined. The next six months can bring great change and shift our priority. That’s technology for you – always changing. I’m researching more ways we can use WeConnect and become a first class city when it comes to technology.

I think Westfield is already there, but WeConnect will make the impossible seem possible. To check out WeConnect, download our City of Westfield app or go online to www.weconnect.westfield.in.gov.

Christopher Larsen is the director of informatics for the City of Westfield. He may be reached at clarsen@westfield.in.gov or by calling 804-3165.

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