February 29, 2008 By Matt Williams
If Missouri CIO Dan Ross is the visionary, Deputy CIO of Operations Bill Bott is the architect that makes the vision a reality. But maybe that's a bit grandiose.
"We're pretty much joined at the hip," Bott said.
Bott is in charge of strategic planning and project management as the state continues and expands its IT consolidation initiative that merged operations for Missouri's 14 executive branch departments. Last year he was one of nine government leaders to win Governing magazine's Public Officials of the Year award. In 1996 he earned the Air Force Civilian of the Year Award for his efforts to improve systems and reduce operating expenses while working for the U.S. Department of Defense.
Bott said that in 2007, Missouri finished implementation of "business-type processes" for the state's IT operations. For the first time, Missouri has an enterprise measurement system that reports how well the state's IT systems are functioning.
"We can look at measures of our network, applications, mainframe environment - an enterprise look at that for the whole state. That was a big task to do," he said. "The other part of that is we use those measurements for our service-level agreements with our department customers. We're in a consolidated environment so we provide the IT support for the executive branch departments, and it's all based on service levels that run through my office."
The state's IT consolidation initiative has been deemed a smashing success, although there were a few hiccups along the way. Measurements and personnel changes took much longer than Bott thought they would. This year the state's Information Technology Services Division is working on enterprise application development for the state's agencies. There's also ongoing haggling over money matters.
"One of the things that makes Missouri different is we consolidated all of the IT budgets in one giant pot," he said. "That becomes a giant [political] target for cuts. So there have been some challenges with that budget and how to overcome those challenges."
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