April 1, 2009 By Casey Mayville
y up-dated and customized if they are not replaced soon. Another problem with the old system is that the staff who runs them will soon be retiring. It is clear that a transition must be made. During this transition to newer systems, Bryan also wants the applications to be made accessible on mobile devices and platforms.
"The trend today sees browsers such as Safari increasing rapidly," he continued. "This tells us that people are accessing our Web site using mobile devices such as iPhones. It is a trend that should not be ignored because if government is not providing services and information this way, it is not serving its constituents in the best way possible."
Should the need arise, employees could also benefit from mobile technology to work from home, from a hotel or from the road. "We want our employees to be able to take advantage of these working moments. Whereas you had to get up and drive to the office to get something done -- this shouldn't have to be the case. We think mobility will help people be more productive and enjoy a better quality of life," said Bryan.
Communicating across agencies within the state is another issue the new CIO faces. "We need to communicate with people the way they want to be communicated with," said Bryan. "I've got 11,000 people in the IT field supporting the Missouri government, and they all felt like they didn't know what was going on in the CIO's office, or even on the other side of the organization."
Bryan began to consolidate the state's IT budget. The $250 million budget was split into 154 separate bank accounts making it difficult to balance a budget. Once the money was compiled into one account, managing the money became much easier.
Bryan also wants the state to communicate to and from the public in a coordinated fashion rather than as 14 separate agencies. The first phase is to improve the look and feel of the state Web sites. They don't have to be identical but should be similar enough that the public can search any state Web site with a familiar set of tools. For example, the method for filling out and filing a form on the Department of Revenue's Web site should be similar to filling out a form on the Labor and Industrial Relation's Web site. "Consistency is key," said Bryan.
Bill's IT 'Wish List'
In response to a question by the Center for Digital Government's Paul Taylor about his "IT wish list," Bryan said: Unified communication." Including mobile accessibility.
He also wants to focus on an accelerated approach to enterprise resource planning. "To have the funding to replace the Legacy systems in a relevant time frame would be a giant step in the right direction," he said.
Relationships with Vendors
Bryan explained that vendors with the traditional 'hard-sell' approach will not get very far with him. "I can sit through the hard-sell and say no with the best of them, because as a lawyer, that's what I did for 18 years. What really makes an impression on me are the ones that have the resources and the interest to do more than the sales pitch. I appreciate someone who has something to teach me and is really willing to take the time to explain it." One thing he would like to do is organize 'Vendor Days.' He feels he could be more productive and would be able to give more time and attention to each vendor if he didn't' have to jump from place to place just to meet with them. "If I knew that every Thursday I was going to meet with five vendors, I could plan my schedule around that and I think it would work really well," said Bryan.
The E-Mail Retention Wars
Bryan said that even though the e-mail archiving battle between the former and current governors generated a lot of controversy and negativity there is a positive development that came from it. "We have developed a solution for archiving and retaining e-mail that will be useful when it comes time to respond to discovery and litigation. It is also very useful for everyday work when an employee needs to find information quickly," Bryan said.
Currently, the system takes every e-mail that is sent or received and journals it for future reference. As the rule stands, it will be saved for 999,999 years -- in other words, forever. While Bryan thinks this may not be the best way of spending IT dollars, he thinks they do have the tools to manage a system which will properly classify e-mail as it is coming in and going out for a determined amount of time.
Legislator's Readiness for Government Modernization
As the general population becomes more familiar with technology, Bryan believes they will elect people to represent them in public office who are also tech-savvy. The trend toward modernization is improving, but Bryan says he can be doing more to help educate Missourians on the benefits of the use of technology in government.
"I've got to do a better job of communicating about technology and why it is important we invest time and energy and funds into the modernization of the way government works," said Bryan. "We train and promote people who are our best technicians but perhaps not out best communicators or best leaders. We need to have effective communicators to promote technology."
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