• CIO of the City of San Luis Potosi

    [1 November 2012- 30 September 2015]

    I accepted the position of CIO coming from Academia. It was a big change for me, as in Academia you have time to think things over, and mainly, you are working with ideas. You put forward ideas, you test them, you think them over, and you repeat the cycle. 

    In September 2012 I was invited to meet with the then just-elected-mayor of San Luis Potosí, I was told he wanted to discuss how the city could use technology better and that may be I could advise him on that. With an Academic view, I prepared a presentation putting forward the idea of "Citizen Experience", a process in which we focus the resources of the government on the citizen; where the hard work is done at the administration, not by the citizen. It may be hard to understand to non-Mexicans, but for citizens to deal with the Mexican government, the burden of the interaction is not on the government. The citizen has to do all the work. At the end of the meeting I was asked to start then and there as the CIO of the City, which came as a big shock. The major gave me a month to sort out my academic affairs, and then join his administration.

    I accepted the offer because I liked the challenge. Also, my background had only been in Academia, except for a couple of internships and consulting opportunities. 

    The big difference was who owned my time: in Academia it was my time and I could plan what to do with it. In the government it was not mine: constant meetings, emergencies, and the pressure to get things done fast and properly.

    There were many challenges in the way, beginning with the fact that the CIO role was new taking over a "systems department" more focused on keeping systems alive and repairing computers, using a very old legacy system, a highly-competent but neglected group of co-workers, no software development methodology, no customer relation metrics and a very low budget. 

    I did enjoy my time in this position and I manage to lead a group to several achievements. Which are:

    • We built a system to automatise citizens' request to solve city problems (e.g. potholes) using mobile apps and streamlining the communication between citizen and area responsible of solving each problem.
    • We updated the Land Management and Urban Development systems using a combination of SaaS solution and custom software development. The developer administers the software and the cloud, but the software was ours in case the city wanted to administer it. We won prizes due to this solution.
    • We implemented a CRM system that allowed citizens to do their city services online
    • We modernised the central site after more than 10 years of neglect
    • We supported and updated the procedures of the legacy systems to meet new national regulations and policies; there were not enough resources to upgrade or migrate the system to modern technologies. 
    • We improved the internal communication of the administration using Google Apps and WordPress, while reducing costs in 90%.
    • We provided IT service for more than 2000 users and implemented a service desk.
    • I was the leader of a team of more than 40 people, most of them engineers or technicians. 
    • We followed a Human Centered Design approach, Agile Methodologies and for some projects we used Scrum.
    • I led the efforts to find the budget that allowed 6 members of the team to complete a Master's Degree in Information Technologies.
    My role was defining and implementing the Technological Strategy of the Administration. I oversaw all the projects, defined the project management methodologies used in all of them. Mainly, I told people how I would like them to work: focused on results and open to hear the opinion of all the participants.  Then I reviewed their results and advances, plus I removed the obstacles that were hindering progress. 

    Rheinsberger Str. 76-77, 10115, Berlin, Germany