Podcast (31 minute listen)

Transformation in the City of Atlanta

When you have to manage a cyberattack, a Super Bowl and a pandemic in quick succession, you learn the true meaning of agile leadership.

Rackspace Staff - Cloud Talk / Rackspace

"The key to being a leader in technology is being agile. Being flexible enough to bend, but not break."

This wonderful quote came from Tye Hayes, CTO of the Department of Information Management for the City of Atlanta. Hayes started her position at the City of Atlanta in December 2018, right after the city had experienced one of the largest cyberattacks on a local government in history, and just before Atlanta was due to host the Super Bowl in February 2019.

After rebuilding the IT infrastructure City of Atlanta offices relied on, and securing the city for Super Bowl LIII, Hayes was then thrown another curveball as the COVID-19 pandemic reared its ugly head in 2020. Good thing agile leadership was already part of her arsenal!

In the latest episode of the Cloud Talk podcast, Tye Hayes joins our very own CTO Jeff DeVerter to talk about her fascinating journey with the City of Atlanta and provide insight into what it means to be an IT leader in the public sector.

This Cloud Talk podcast explores:

  • Becoming an agile, flexible leader
  • Leading in the public sector
  • Recovering from a cyberattack and building business continuity
  • Infrastructure diversification and modernization
  • COVID-19 as a catalyst
  • Realizing the benefits of cloud

Hayes explains that through her experience in a number of public-sector roles in aviation, education and local government, she's learned the importance of flexibility. "Technology is really meant to be a wraparound service to the business it’s supporting," Hayes says.

Coming into the City of Atlanta’s CTO role right after a major cyberattack meant that Hayes had her work cut out. "I have had the opportunity to completely rebuild the technology stack the city uses, from the infrastructure to authentication to email to just about every discipline in IT,” she says.

Hayes explains that the business continuity work Atlanta did after the attacks has helped the city build valuable long-term relationships with service providers while creating repeatable recovery processes.

When discussing the topic of digital transformation, Hayes explains that the pandemic has been a catalyst for change. "Initially, our website was a way to communicate with constituents around what the mayor is doing,” Hayes says. “But it's turned into a platform that educates and illustrates how we provide services, how we feed and give shelter to the homeless, and tells residents how to get tested for coronavirus. We're assisting the courts and legal departments by creating virtual courts and online depositions. Every agency is now reaching out for our support."

Looking to the future, Hayes expects further modernization and is looking forward to the benefits it brings. "I'm really excited about our cloud transformation projects,” she says. “I think it's going to help the city save a lot of money."

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