An external consultant who assessed Sarnia’s information technology department a few years ago said it as operating at the level of an organization 20 years in the past.
“The methods were not modern,” said Mark Dillon, the corporate IT manager brought in to help turn things around.
“The city was still sort of at the old shop model… we’ve worked to change that.”
Over the past few years the city’s IT team has made business permits and licensing easier by linking into BizPal, began live-streaming of city council meetings, increased social media engagement by 500%, and saved $120,000 through efficiencies with open-source software and commodity hardware.
“We started focusing on high-quality internal service (and) actually having a service level agreement,” Dillon said.
“By providing reliable computers, network, software and security, business can go on without being interrupted.”
For its efforts, Sarnia was named co-winner of the “Tech-Novation” award at the Chamber of Commerce’s Outstanding Business Achievement Awards on Oct. 12.
It shared the honour with local IT firm Leadwave Technologies after finishing in a tie.
“It’s not just IT,” Dillon said. “Everyone is working very hard and the (city) as a whole recognized this back before I started. There’s a whole culture change.”
Other outstanding business award winners announced at the Chamber’s annual gala were:
Agri-business: Podolinsky Equipment Ltd.
Business of the Year: NOVA Chemicals
Cool Place to Work: EXIT Realty Twin Bridges
Exporter of the Year: AG Event Graphics
Health Safety and Environmental Leadership: Terrapure Environmental
Inclusivity: Helen Lomax Pathways & Transitions
Marketing and Promotions: PM Entertainment Group & Foundation
Non-Profit: Sarnia Community Foundation
Outstanding Customer Service—Business: Bluewater Hearing
Social Responsibility: Lambton College
Tech-Novation: (tie) LEADWAVE Technologies; Corporation of the City of Sarnia
Business Leadership: Judith Morris, Lambton College
Entrepreneur: Liwordson Vijayabalan, TMRRW
Member of the Year: Dave Watson, Goodwill
Outstanding Customer Service: Dave Duguay, Blackwater Coffee Company
Chamber Champion: Franco Filia, Co-operators