Sacramento, Calif. - In February, the annual CIO Academy was again held in California's capital city. The event is a premier opportunity for California public-sector technologists to meet and discuss technology trends and issues. Andrew Armani, California's director of e-services, and Teri Takai, the state's new CIO, kicked off the two-day affair. Takai was the center of attention, having recently taken the reins as California's technology chief.

The 2008 CIO Academy featured an impressive lineup of sessions and speakers, including keynotes from former astronaut Sally Ride - the first American woman in space - as well as former Marine and Al-Jazeera English spokesman Josh Rushing.

However, many attendees were particularly interested in what Takai, the former Michigan CIO, had to say about her plans for California.

Takai fielded questions from Department of Technology Services Director P.K. Agarwal and the audience. Agarwal quizzed Takai regarding the half-dozen weeks she had been in California and what she had learned in that short time. Takai said she found a strong desire for change within the IT community and among state executives.

One change Takai said she'd like to help make a reality is reducing the disparity she feels still exists within California's IT infrastructure. According to Takai, the prevailing attitude is largely agency-specific.

"The silos and the chimneys in the business areas are actually much more embedded than what I had hoped. The departments are more solidified than I had thought," she said, adding it's her early impression. "I think it's up to us as technology professionals to bridge the gap and talk to the business about technology and how it makes a difference."

While serving as a showcase for California's new CIO, the CIO Academy also featured plenty of opportunities for attendees to discuss current issues in public-sector IT.

Between keynotes, event-goers attended sessions featuring topics that ran the gamut - from fundamental discussions, such as combining IT governance and portfolio management, or creating a results-oriented organization, to a practical examination of e-discovery, and more speculative concerns, including what Web 2.0 means to government.

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Chad Vander Veen  |  Editor, FutureStructure

Chad Vander Veen is the editor of FutureStructure.com