In his role for 10 years, Jeff Coiner leads a 32-employee department tasked with developing, implementing and maintaining the city’s technology systems.
2018 Projection: More technology will move to the cloud, and companies will respond to recent cybersecurity threats by improving their safety processes.
SBJ: What’s the current state of the technology industry?
Coiner: Software companies are moving pretty quickly to the cloud and trying to push everybody there. That’s something that we’ve been seeing over the last three or four years. Office 365, that’s probably the one most people are familiar with. All the software companies are moving that direction.
Part of that is they can charge an annual subscription – so a license for me now costs probably three or four times what it used to. We have more capabilities, too. We can do more with Office 365 than what we could do before.
SBJ: Will the technology industry’s shortage of skilled workers continue to be an issue?
Coiner: We have several universities here that are doing their best to try to provide that, but it’s still not enough to keep up. You look at some of the companies that we have here that we compete with — it’s the Jack Henry’s of the world or Bass Pro Shops or the O’Reillys — we’re all competing for that same IT knowledge and resource.
SBJ: What will be most disruptive to the tech industry this year?
Coiner: We’re starting to see more facial recognition technology used for security. Obviously, cybersecurity has been a big thing in the news for the last two or three years. More voice command — you see Amazon’s Echo and those types of things around. I think we’ll see more of that even in the corporate world.
SBJ: How will the Federal Communications Commission’s vote to repeal net neutrality rules affect the industry?
Coiner: I don’t know if it’s really going to have that much of an impact. I think companies, they’re going to do what drives their profits. I don’t know that we’re going to see where somebody’s going to reduce the internet content that you’re watching, because that’s going to hurt their business. If I’m not happy with my internet provider, I can just switch to another provider.
SBJ: What is the local technology industry doing well?
Coiner: Collaboration is one. TechITout, that was something that we started about nine years ago and that’s been a good event here locally where we see the latest and greatest things that are going on in the industry. The local Association of IT Professionals chapter – that’s the largest AITP in the country.
SBJ: Your department’s budget now tops $4 million. Are technology prices increasing?
Coiner: About 80 percent of the budget we have here is personnel. The hardware costs are going down a little bit over what they were 10 or 15 years ago, but software costs are going up.
Steve Childers to lead city’s key growth initiatives, including Forward SGF.