TribalNet Recognizes Soboba, Cherokee & Ho-Chunk IT Teams With Industry Awards

The new Soboba Casino Resort opened in early 2019. (Courtesy Soboba Casino Resort)

Soboba Casino Resort’s IT Department, Cherokee Nation’s Health IT Department and the Ho-Chunk Nation were recognized for their high-performing information technology teams at the 20th Annual TribalNet Conference and Tradeshow in Nashville, Tennessee.

TribalNet officially started recognizing IT teams for exemplary work in 2008. Applications are reviewed by the TribalNet Advisory Boards, made up of technology decision makers and executives in Tribal enterprises, gaming, government and health.

Soboba Casino Resort’s IT Department was recognized for the integral role they played in opening the replacement Soboba Casino Resort — a 12-year initiative that finally came to fruition.

The IT team additionally implemented the backbone fiber and computing infrastructure for a new Fire Station, Health Clinic, and Commodities Centers. They further equipped all Tribal residences will full broadband internet to ease access to telemedicine, job employment, and business opportunities.

Steven Nino, CIO at Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians, said in a TribalNet statement, “I am delighted to receive this prestigious 2019 TribalNet Industry Award. Being recognized for this award is a great indication that our technology roadmap is being again recognized as appropriate and supported by a genuinely reputable and respected organization in the Tribal Government and Gaming world in TribalNet. This recognition speaks volumes for the efforts that we make to understand our stakeholders and deliver business/stakeholder satisfaction by using key technology partnerships such as Synergy Information Solutions to build our infrastructure. As a tribal government and gaming/hospitality facility, our IT infrastructure and digital transformation efforts are key to the success of our gaming and hospitality business along with our government initiatives geared to help build a long term future for Soboba.”

The Cherokee Nation Health IT Department has been heavily involved in planning, advising and seeing to fruition the largest Tribal outpatient health facility in the nation for the past two years. The Tribe recently opened the doors to its state-of-the-art, high-tech place for patients to receive health care. This facility counts more than 240 exam rooms, two MRI machines, an ambulatory surgery center, 34 dental chairs and specialty health services not previously offered. The facility will bring over 800 additional jobs into Cherokee Nation over the next few years including an additional 100 physicians.

The installation, deployment, trouble-shooting and overseeing of health IT was accomplished by the Cherokee Nation’s highly motivated Health IT group. TribalNet noted that an opening of this magnitude would typically require a much larger staff, but was successfully accomplished by Cherokee Nation Health IT Department’s concerted effort. The IT department has helped to increase patient access, allowing more patients to be seen sooner with shorter wait times. Improved data integrity allows focused reports to be analyzed for improved performance and quality.

Donnie Parish, CIO at Cherokee Nation Health said, “To bring this award back to the Health IT department is quite an honor. It definitely takes a team to be able to accomplish any project whether large or small, and our team is always up to the task! As this is also the largest joint venture project with Indian Health Service, a lot of effort, planning and coordination went into every day, and every day everyone showed up ready to meet the day’s goals. Our healthcare system is growing and expanding to meet the needs of the patient’s we serve, and to take part in that is so exciting.”

Finally, the Ho-Chunk Nation was recognized for managing day-to-day IT challenges. The team is leveraging industry research and best practices to systematically improve IT maturity and ensure they achieve their goals.

IT Supervisor, Bobby Bird says, “Technology is an ever changing, living, almost breathing structure of a beast; our department is equivalent to the warriors that battle the beast. The sheer expanse of area that we cover can be overwhelming, throw in the diversity of programs and departments that we service and we could now be considered wizards of industry.”

Furthermore, the Ho-Chunk Nation has multiple casino locations and IT leadership streamlining best practices across properties. IT has the ability to gather data from the businesses/departments, take that data and identify areas that need improvement. Finally, they map those results based on importance and combine the data points to establish priority. Having their core processes established and uniform allows them not to always be fighting the beast, yet work with the beast as a partner to drive the business forward.

TribalNet plans to announce the call for Industry Award nominations in the Spring of 2020. Recipients will be recognized at the 21st Annual TribalNet Conference, taking place November 9-12 at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas.

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