It is said that however beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.
So today let’s take a deep dive on the Town of Aurora’s IT Strategic Plan.
In June of 2018 Perry Group Consulting announced that they were “really pleased to have been selected by the Town of Aurora to help facilitate the development of their next IT Strategic Plan.”
A year and a half later they presented it to council at the November 19, 2019 General Committee Meeting. You can watch it starting at 1:02:43.
The slide depicting their assessment (@ 1:07:52) shows 2 layers at risk, a third weak and the 4th needing to be improved:
Practices are stated as disjointed and reactive:
These points are expanded on their 85 page report CS19-035 – Technology Strategic Plan which is Item R1 on the Agenda from the General Committee Meeting of Tuesday, November 19, 2019. You only have to get to the executive summary section (Page 12 of 87) to read about how ineffective the Town of Aurora is:
Holy hell. What happened here?
Victor Palmieri says that “Strategies are OK’d in boardroom that even a child would say are bound to fail…the point is, there is never a child in the boardroom when you need one.”
It appears that through a huge lack of leadership that the Town of Aurora, and its respective councils failed to look at the results of their previous strategy, point out the failures and change tactics to achieve their goals.
The result is now a town that has to spend 5 years digging out to get back to the level of service that so many other municipalities already enjoy during a time when resources are scarce.
It is obvious that the 2006 – 2010 term of Council under Morris’ feeble notion of leadership operated in a vacuum from professionally delivered technology and communication services leaving a huge hole for the next councils to shore up. So what exactly got done over the past 2 terms of La De Dawe’s leadership? I suspected his time in IT in the 1980s was so far behind him and not relevant to the time he was in office and this report confirms he was a dinosaur not a leader.
Look around the council table and ask yourself which members of council are even capable of understanding, let alone addressing this new IT strategy as it rolls out.
There is only one.
After the strategy is presented when questions are asked (@ 1:16:18 ) Thompson asks the consultant if they stay involved. The reply is of course, they offer several services and programs and even suggest annual check-in for the town.
Thompson then states that he would hate to wait 5 years to get a report, and chuckles are heard.
Yeah, laugh it up fuzzball.
Who exactly was the last outfit that was contracted to deliver a Technology Strategy Plan for the town that ended up not being followed?
Oh, well look at that it was the same Perry Group. They even said “We worked with the Town on their last plan 8 years ago – and we are looking forward to working with the team again.”
So the same outfit that created the last IT strategic plan, was selected to do the next one 8 years later only to tell the town how poorly executed their last strategy was.
To add insult to injury when I use the current system they outlined 8 years ago that the town implemented am I able to find said strategy document?
Spoiler alert. No. I can not. Not even if I approach it using different search terms:
And why is that?
The town claimed that the Electronic Document & Records Management System (EDRMS) that was approved as item 14035 in the 2015 capital budget ( page 5) for $200,000 “Once fully implemented, will provide the efficient and effective access, storage and destruction of Town records“.
It isn’t until the April 15th, 2014 Report No. CAO14-010 (available as Item 16, page 75 of the General Committee Meeting Agenda of Tuesday May 5th, 2015) that we learn of the town’s adoption of Microsoft SharePoint.
On page 278 it sates that the town embarked on a complete re-design of Town website with implementation of a new Sharepoint 2013 content management system:
On page 285 laughingly included under accomplishments are the points 1.)
Enabling a robust new Sharepoint Content Management system and 2.) A powerful and functional Google Search Engine:
Which must be why when I type “MS SharePoint” in the search field on the town’s website I get only a single result:
But this looks to be a bed of lies, because when you read the new strategic IT plan on page 51 it states “SharePoint is also used at the Town, but in a fairly limited capacity.”:
$700,000 spent on 2 website roll outs in the past 5 years. Add to that $200,000 spent on SharePoint that wasn’t adopted and we’re closing in on a $Million and residents and business owners still can’t leverage documents through a simple search function on the town’s website in 2020.
And the way the town plans to fix this is to return to the same vendor for an updated strategic plan. Why so they can ignore it all over again?
It is ironic that the strategy lists among its goals learning from its mistakes:
Learning from mistakes requires admitting you made them, and no one around this council table can do what is needed; be the child in the room and point out how your strategy is set up for failure.
Without this, then what’s the point?