December 8, 2005 By Shane Peterson
No stranger to quirks of the public sector, Soto has also served New Mexico as deputy secretary of the Department of Labor, deputy commissioner of Public Lands, and administrative services director of the Health and Environment Department.
Like other states, New Mexico has been pursuing a statewide IT consolidation effort pushed by the governor, and Soto has plenty to keep him hopping.
You come from the business side of state agencies -- is that sort of perspective becoming more important for CIOs? Why?
I'm not a technologist. I've got a good understanding of IT, but I have a better understanding of the business side of government. What does it take for state agencies to meet their mission-critical needs? What does it take to do their jobs to meet the needs of their constituents?
What do you see as the state's biggest IT priorities in 2006?
When Gov. Bill Richardson came to office, his administration developed performance standards and put together a performance-review team. One area was the cost of IT.
The governor looked at that and at what was happening in our IT environment: Agencies were creating silos. A big issue for the governor was IT consolidation, and a lot of states are doing the same thing.
For the next two fiscal years the governor is in office, we're moving forward with our enterprise architecture plan. We're going to be looking at server consolidation, help desk consolidation and getting broadband to rural New Mexico.
How do you carry out the governor's agenda?
My office is oversight. Everything that has to do with IT, voice, data, software, hardware, contracts and RFPs has to come through my office. I make sure that what the agencies are doing is in concert with our consolidation plan, our statewide enterprise architecture plan, and moving everybody in that direction.
Our Information Technology Commission was restructured so it's now looking at the overall impact of where we're spending our dollars and what the agencies are doing. We're forcing a lot more collaboration. We're requiring phased funding on projects. We want to see the deliverable and make sure it's what was contracted for before we pay or before we release further funds on that project.
What IT buzzword do you hate the most?
The one phrase that is -- I don't know if it's hate -- requiring more of my time is service-oriented architecture. I've got everybody talking about it, but it means different things to everybody. We're going to be developing a social services architecture, but it's going to be via a service-oriented architecture. Hopefully by doing that, we'll be able to develop a common definition that everybody, at least in New Mexico, buys into.
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