Moira Gerety became New Mexico's CIO in January 2003, and immediately walked into a legislature that wanted to change the way the state spends IT money. Gerety took that request and ran with it.

She developed a policy where the CIO now approves purchases made with state or federal money. She also insisted that agency CIOs take some accountability for the overall enterprise, not just their individual agencies. She is leading the state in developing an enterprisewide approach to IT.

Talk about the reorganization and consolidation of agency CIOs.

We're doing consolidation on two levels: One, within each agency we are empowering CIOs to oversee the whole gamut of IT, even IT that has been historically embedded in divisions and programs. Within each agency we are insisting that the CIO report at a high enough level to sit at the management table, which is a huge change for some agencies.

And we're requiring that their personnel and budgets be consolidated as much as possible under the agency CIO, but even if they're not hard-configured under the CIO, that they do have oversight over all IT activities within the agencies.

We're doing agency consolidation and enterprise consolidation, but that's more at the infrastructure level.

So we're establishing through our architecture committee which pieces of technology need to be provided like utilities. E-mail should be a given, the network should be a given, our accounting system should be a given. [Agencies] should focus on welfare systems, tax systems, etc.

Is that the biggest challenge in the offing?

Now that we've got a pretty concrete plan, we've gotten some decent funding to accomplish the plan. The next big challenge is executing and providing centralized services with which the agencies can feel comfortable -- they're reliable, they're available 24/7, and there are competent people running them. Because as with most traditional central data centers, the focus has been sort of mainframe, and they have not had a good service mentality.

The real key is creating reliable, reputable enterprise services within an organization, which has been historically more of a mainframe shop.

What's the biggest change you've made since taking over?

The biggest change really becomes the insistence that agencies take some accountability for the overall enterprise. It is difficult for agency CIOs to get their own agency work done, much less enterprise, but I think we've managed to convince them that if we can offload them from some of the infrastructure components of their work, they can focus their energies on more mission-critical application levels, and therefore start improving services to constituents.

Jim McKay, Justice and Public Safety Editor  |  Justice and Public Safety Editor