Houston Information Technology Services

Message from the CIO

Lisa Kent

Houston is the 4th largest and most diverse city in the United States.  We are well known for history-breaking industries including space exploration, the largest medical center in the world, the world’s largest oil & gas sector, diverse cultures and cuisine, and a steadily increasing technology sector and workforce.

In local government, we focus on fostering an environment that allows all people and businesses in our community to be safe, to thrive and grow, and to pursue their dreams.   Our primary role is public safety – which encompasses not just crime prevention and justice, but also safe roadways, storm / waste / drinking water infrastructure, building code enforcement, public health, emergency notifications, fire and hazard defense, emergency call centers and first responder dispatch, national security, cybersecurity protections and much more.

These are all areas that keep our communities safe.  It is also our role to enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors through exposure to natural green spaces and recreation in parks, the arts, economic and educational opportunities to increase prosperity, and affordable housing.  Technology plays a strategic role in enabling all 23 City Departments to fulfill those needs.

Simply put, our vision and mission are:

Vision: Houston IT Services will be a catalyst to transform Houston into a digital city for all.
Mission: We provide solutions that protect, serve, and enlighten the residents and visitors of Houston.

In carrying out that mission, our technology must reflect Houston’s reputation for resilience and grit as we continuously “build back better”.  During Mayor Turner’s administration Houston has weathered an unprecedented number of record-setting natural disasters – most recently the global pandemic.  The sustained recurrence of large-scale emergencies required significant shifts in our technology capabilities and priorities to support the rapidly evolving needs of Houstonians.  Many more City operations and constituent-facing services needed to be conducted online to reduce in-person transactions and keep people healthy and safe.  At the same time, social issues and the need for additional services and transparency sky-rocketed.  Looking back, our prior Strategic Plans for Fiscal Years 2018-2022 served the City well by putting an improved and durable digital foundation in place.  This enabled Houston to pivot quickly with enhanced services to protect and enrich the lives of Houstonians.  Because of the City’s technology foresight, we weathered the unprecedented hurdles and kept Houston moving forward.

Transitioning to the future, this plan outlines the strategic priorities and goals that will drive momentum toward accomplishing our vision of transforming Houston into a digital city for all.  We’ve included more detail with technical plans from each functional area that identify specific initiatives and projects that will generate results.

Our vision uses the word “catalyst” intentionally – the technologists within our city are do-ers and dreamers and visionaries.  We see the art of the possible and enjoy using technology to solve problems and make life better.  Join us on this journey not only to digital excellence, but LIFE excellence.

Lisa Kent
Chief Information Officer (CIO) / Director