Sunday, December 3, 2023

Service Behind the Screens: How Southlake’s I.T. Department Sets the City Up for Success

The words “information technology” most likely conjure images of employees hidden in dark, unseen corners of the office, the light of computer screens shining on their faces as they type orders in a technological language only they understand. They’re the ones you call when the dreaded error message pops up on your screen, or when you can’t seem to figure out how to reset your email password – but most people don’t realize the work they are constantly doing behind the scenes.

As for Southlake’s I.T. Department, that work includes upholding and enhancing the technology and network each department in the City depends on daily to serve citizens, and this is no simple task. Contrary to popular belief, networks don’t appear out of thin air and function self-sufficiently. They require constant attention to prevent errors and fix issues that arise.

Thankfully, though, the I.T. Department is continuously working in the background to ensure the City doesn’t lose access to the backbone of its services – the Internet.

“Without the internet, people’s work would be compromised,” Ray Casper, System Administrator said. “There would be no communication between employees and citizens other than phone calls. Data would have no place to be stored, and records would still be on paper.”

Because of this dependence on technology, the I.T. Department’s hands are present in everything the City does, giving other departments the tools to strive for excellence, innovation, and efficiency. Evolving technologies open new doors for better service, but as technologies evolve, the skills of the department must evolve with them.

“A year in I.T. is a lifetime,” Michael Blackwell, I.T. Operations Manager explained. “Everything is always changing, and you have to re-teach yourself every time it does. Knowledge doesn’t just appear. A profession in I.T. means you’ll always be studying.”

On top of constantly evolving, technology is also broad and complex. This means there are endless opportunities to learn, but it is impossible for one team member to know everything. Much like a technological system with complex inner workings, the Southlake I.T. Department is full of many members with highly specialized skill sets, each of them working together to manage the entirety of Southlake’s technological needs.

“We are fortunate to have an extremely talented and resourceful team working in my organization,” Blair Halbert, Information Technologies Director said. “The city’s I.T. department is comprised of experts who work hard to ensure that city employees, and by extension all citizens, receive the best possible service delivery.”

Due to the work of the I.T. Department, the City can integrate technology in ways that make Southlake stronger – such as allowing more transparency to the public through easier access to digitized files or increasing the speed of information transmission through social media.

That’s why it is so imperative to have a team that takes pride in what they do and understands the importance of getting the job done.

“We don’t cut corners because it will directly impact the rest of the City,” Deep Rajani, Senior Application Developer explained. “Our entire objective is to solve problems and make things better for the other departments.”

Perhaps it is this proficiency for uplifting others that earns the I.T. Department the reputation of being the “quiet” workers of the office, but providing stable technological building blocks behind the scenes has an immense impact on the City’s ability to serve – no matter how quietly the work is done.