February 5, 2007 By Emily Montandon
As executive CIO of Arkansas, Doug Elkins oversaw the implementation of numerous projects that increased the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of state operations. Such projects include a budgeting tool that helps agencies align IT spending with business goals, and recognize opportunities for shared solutions; a continuity of operations and disaster recovery project; and citizen-facing services that streamline interaction between citizens and government.
Elkin's office oversaw statewide IT investments. Under his leadership, the agency replaced its paper-based budgeting process with a Web-enabled tool that helped officials at state agencies match spending to strategic goals.
"Our goal was to really move the IT world and the business world closer together throughout all the agencies," he said.
"We could look for areas -- and we found areas -- where there were duplication of systems and duplication of requests, and we can address those and move those from agency-by-agency requests to enterprise requests," he said, adding that his office could also use the tool for enterprise reporting and making spending recommendations to the Legislature and governor.
During his time with the state, he also worked to develop a comprehensive statewide continuity of operations and disaster recovery solution.
"It wasn't just about being able to recover systems, computers and networks," he said. "It was really about being able to continue and recover the business processes of the state."
He said the project required planning and cooperation among IT staffs and those responsible for business process planning in state agencies, but the results have paid off.
"We can do things like use our GIS system to draw a polygon around an area that's maybe been affected and can instantly tell us what services have been interrupted," he said. "We can then look at the closest services, and we can then allocate to that area to assist with recovery and continuation of government services."
Elkins also worked with others to improve citizen-facing services, such as the Information Network of Arkansas, a board of public- and private-sector members, to offer more transactional functions to citizens and provide GIS tools to the public.
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