Bureau of Technology
The Bureau of Technology (BOT) plans, develops and maintains enterprise technology services according to its guiding principles: lifecycle management, cloud-first, shared-first, sustainability, transparency, continuity, Countywide standardization and reuse before buy and buy before build. BOT provides cost-effective and easy-to-use services for residents and County employees.
- Deliver and manage Countywide shared technology resources
- Direct Countywide technology policy and the establishment of Countywide technology standards, including guidance under the County’s Open Government Ordinance (Ordinance 14-0076)
- Review all technology procurements to discourage duplicative spending, encourage efficient returns on investment, and ensure compliance with County technology standards and policies (Ordinance 14-1232)
- Collaborate with the Information Security Working Group to establish and report on the Information Security Framework, as well as take appropriate actions to protect the County’s network against security threats (Ordinance 14-1481)
- Facilitate the integration of an automated Cook County Criminal Justice System and update the Board on progress toward such goal (Resolution 13-2002)
- Review all Software and Technology Hardware Asset Inventories and prepare a consolidated report and strategic document annually for submission to the Board (Ordinance No. 16-3977).
- Provide access to County GIS data in accordance with County ordinance (Chapter 2, Article IV, Division 3, Subdivision II, §2-220).
Cook County is the second-largest county in the country and is structured somewhat differently from many other counties. Residents vote for a 17-member Board of Commissioners, an at-large Board President, an Assessor, a Clerk of the Court, a County Clerk, 250+ Judges, a Sheriff, a State’s Attorney, a three-member Board of Review and a Treasurer. The County also has other separate offices, such as the Health and Hospitals System, the Forest Preserve District and the Public Defender, which are under the President but have varying degrees of separate IT.
All County government offices share wide area network, telecom, data centers and multiple enterprise contracts. BOT is the central office that handles enterprise technology as well as handling all technology needs for Offices Under the President. BOT is headed by a Chief Information Officer who must concur on all technology procurements countywide.
The Bureau of Technology (BOT) has many key initiatives underway. Below are the are the areas of focus and strategic initiatives planned for FY2024.
On the infrastructure side, BOT is working on Identity and Access Management, generative AI solutions, asset management streamlining efforts, infrastructure consolidation, implementation of BOT’s hosting strategy, modernization of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems, efficient and modernized application hosting solutions, digital equity, Enterprise Architecture team building/governance, and establishment of business continuity and disaster recovery teams.
On the Applications side, two areas poised to see growth in hiring and purchasing are Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Digitization Services. For over a decade, organizations have been moving towards “paperless.” It is a more efficient, effective and environmentally sustainable way to conduct business. However, going paperless has created significant ancillary needs such as scanning of paper documents (digitization) and data storage in an easily accessible and well-organized manner (ECM) for use by staff or other applications. The last remaining OUP mainframe application belongs to the Department of Animal and Rabies Control, and it will soon be retired.
Also in 2024, BOT will work to establish an enterprise-wide executive steering committee governance board for applications, as well as an enterprise-wide IT project portfolio tracking and reporting system that includes project intake.
Cook County will continue to focus on recruiting and retaining motivated cyber security talent that is technically proficient, team-oriented, and service-minded, as well as leverage contract resources to augment capabilities as necessary. The Information Security Office (ISO) matured the Information Security Office organization, including resources dedicated to Information System Security Engineering, Supply Chain Risk Management, Data Privacy, and Governance and Risk Management.
In the next two years ISO will focus on operationalizing the Risk Management Framework providing elected offices a full suite of Security Control Assessment capabilities so they can better understand the risk to their information and systems. ISO will also integrate additional Cybersecurity capabilities taking full advantage of the offering provided by the State of Illinois as part of the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program, appropriating $1 billion to be awarded over four years. This initiative will allow the County to integrate new capabilities into the information security tool stack at no direct cost through Aug 2027. This will enhance the County’s ability to prevent and rapidly respond to cyber security incidents.
ISO will also continue is close coordination and collaboration with the Cook County Clerk's office in their role as the chief election authority to ensure the Presidential Primary Election (March 19, 2024) and Presidential General Election (November 5, 2024) occur without any cyber related incidents.
In 2024, Cook County Government is set to begin exploring a transformative machine learning and artificial intelligence strategy. The county seeks to leverage advanced analytics to bolster decision-making, streamline resource allocation and enhance operational efficiency. The strategy places a strong emphasis on ethical considerations, ensuring the responsible and transparent utilization of AI to uphold privacy and equity standards across all applications. Anticipated uses include translation services, chatbots and other use cases.
Once Cook County has retired its mainframe and mid-range applications, and contracted for its hosting and disaster recovery project, the focus will shift to making department-requested improvements for systems we already have in place, further strengthening our cybersecurity posture and evaluating cutting-edge technologies for eventual adoption, if they meet our criteria for interoperability, efficiency, safety and return on investment.
Cook County's GIS team took home a 2023 National Association of Counties Achievement Award for their "Everyone Counts" project.
For four years in a row, the Center for Digital Government (CDG) named Cook County one of America's Top 10 Digital Counties with a population of more than one million.
Tom Lynch serves as the Chief Information Officer and leads the Bureau of Technology, which is an Office Under the County Board President. Lynch leads the entire portfolio of Cook County's application projects in alignment with the County's technology strategy.