CIO OF THE YEAR, LATIN AMERICA
CIO gets an A+ for using technology to solve
complex problems in education.
Name: Richard Martinez
Job title/description: CIO
Company: Puerto Rico Department
Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Award: CIO of the Year, Latin
For most people, a mention of Puerto Rico conjures up picture-postcard visions of the perfect tropical vacation.
But to Richard Martinez, Oracle Magazine’s CIO of the Year for
Latin America, Puerto Rico looks a lot different. As CIO of the island’s
Department of Education, Martinez recognizes that Puerto Rico is
about buildings, schools, people, and processes. He has more than
1,523 schools, 520,000 students, 70,000 employees, and 42,000
teachers to worry about—and then the U.S. Department of Education
(USDE) required the island to bring its primary schools and systems
into regulatory compliance.
“Our challenge was moving from a paper-based system to
digital,” says Martinez, noting that until this initiative, all record-keeping and administration was done manually.
In conjunction with Oracle and other partners, the department
undertook a massive transformation effort to deploy an IT infrastructure and student information system. At the same time, the
department also deployed Oracle’s PeopleSoft Financials for better
administration control as well as improving the purchasing, requisition, and budgeting across its multiple entities. An important part of
the solution included using Oracle On Demand for its student information and financial systems.
“What’s really impressive about Oracle On Demand is that its
provisioning is only 21 days,” says Martinez. “It would have taken us
months or even a year to do the same thing, in addition to the time
to mature the support organization and security aspects. I would
seriously consider using the Oracle On Demand model with any
implementation I’m involved with.”
The results have been amazing, Martinez says. The system,
which went into place in February 2007, has enabled the agency to
have precise inventories of information about demographics, student
enrollment, student achievement, teacher qualifications, groups
impacted, and school needs. The new system’s data mining and
reporting also drive improved decision-making.
And the Department of Education finally has the information
systems to support its educational goals and USDE compliance
requirements. For programs requiring data to be submitted during
the school year, for example, the submission rate had hovered at less
than 20 percent. Since the new system has been operational, “We
have made a quantum leap to a 97 percent mark, which is a stunning achievement in such a short time,” Martinez says.
It’s also been a satisfying process for Martinez. “The best part of
the job has been working with a team of people across the agency
that became part of the solution by wanting to get things done and
having the tenacity to see it through,” says Martinez. “By pulling
together people from different areas within the agency and other
sectors, we could make it happen. Now we’re starting to realize the
impact it will have on our schools, students, and teachers—and it’s