The Office of the New York State Comptroller (OSC) announced it will appoint a new CIO. Robert Loomis, who has worked for the OSC for 20 years, will replace Kevin Belden as CIO on July 1. Over the years, Loomis worked on the retirement system, and in the central IT organization on many different projects. In addition to continuing OSC’s overall IT efforts, Loomis is charged with completing the agency’s multi-year transformation plan.
“I am pleased that Bob Loomis has agreed to take on this position and provide the much needed continuity and stability for our agency’s important information technology needs,” Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said.
Having been with the OSC for so many years, Loomis said his goal is to continue the good work that his predecessor started. “I wouldn’t have applied for the position if I didn’t think Kevin and the organization were doing a great job,” he said. “I saw it up close and got a great feeling from the success he had, so I just really wanted to continue that. I’ve been through a lot of the transformation effort with him and we feel there’s a short piece of work in the next year or two we’ve got to do to complete that effort.”
The state has seen great benefit from what’s been completed so far, he said. Between organizational redesign, establishing a services catalog, and developing an internal economy, the OSC has come a long way, he said.
The OSC’s function, Loomis explained, is to not just issue reports on state finance, but be helpful where finance is concerned, as well. “It takes it out of our hands. We’re not the business,” Loomis explained. “We should be serving the business, so if the business decides to hire a hundred more people or decides to embark on a new project, we can provide them more accurate costs and we can provide projections of the things we won’t do if the budget is level. So we can do better scenarios.”
In the past, when another agency was shopping for something, the amount of information they had available was limited. They were able to see how much the state spent each year on storage, for instance, but that’s not very useful for someone in charge of purchasing, he said. It would be like shopping for produce at the supermarket and instead of seeing the price for tomatoes, the store just listed how much they spend on tomatoes each year.
Now, things are much easier, Loomis said. “We’ve priced out IT services,” he said. “We’re transparent to the businesses around those services, we share that information and now we’re starting to get discussions about the level of effort and the resources that we allocate to our services.” If an agency wants to know how much storage will cost per gigabyte, that information is now available, Loomis said, and it’s a total cost that includes the product, technical support and everything else that goes along with the life of a purchase.
Having worked with his predecessor for five years and the OSC for 20 years, Loomis said his new position is mainly just a shift in perspective. Before being hired, the office had him follow Belden around for about a month to ensure continuity when he takes over officially in July.
Loomis said he’s confident with the agency and happy to take the new role, especially when he looks at work like the services catalog. “We had a lot of people who had a vague feeling of dissatisfaction because they would ask for a lot but they wouldn’t really understand what we could provide, so I think there’s a lot better understanding now of what we can provide,” he said.