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Honolulu technology department modernized systems but there's room for improvement, audit says


A new report is making several recommendations to improve a department in charge of the city’s digital infrastructure. But the department’s head disagrees with its findings.

The Honolulu Department of Information Technology is responsible for maintaining and upgrading the technological infrastructure of city departments and agencies.

A new report from the city’s auditor found that between 2013 and 2020, the IT department made significant strides in modernizing the city’s systems and services.

The report found the department has completed or is near-completing major projects such as renovating the city’s data center, upgrading the emergency radio system and upgrading its mainframe.

However, the report says the department’s reporting of major project costs is incomplete, making it difficult to determine the cost-effectiveness and savings of project decisions.

The auditor also made recommendations to improve the department’s planning in order to improve city services and the needs of departments.

In a response to the audit, Chief Information Officer Mark Wong disagreed with most of the report’s approach, findings and examples.

Wong says the audit made “major errors” in its findings and is misleading.

He says it mainly focuses on a small division in the department and doesn’t focus on the department’s services and operations.

Wong says the audit ignores facts and injects speculation to support findings that are misinformed and misleading.

Casey Harlow was an HPR reporter and occasionally filled in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
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