Any successful CIO knows that it's crucial to have executive support. Whether at the city, county or state level, technology initiatives stand a much better chance of making it off the drawing board if the big cheese is in their corner. In Utah, Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. was instrumental in seeing two transformative technology projects through to completion -- the state's IT consolidation and Working 4 Utah.
Utah's IT consolidation project began four years ago with the passage of HB 109. Its author, State Rep. David Clark, found a champion in Huntsman, who saw consolidation as an opportunity to dramatically cut costs while radically enhancing the state's agility. Together with Clark and CIO Steve Fletcher, Utah's effort has been one of the most successful consolidation initiatives ever attempted.
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Huntsman didn't stop there, however, noting that technology is changing established conventions. From how people recreate to how they work, technology plays a role. Utah's governor put his state on the cutting edge when, in 2008, he introduced the Working 4 Utah program. With everything from energy demands to lifestyle habits in flux, Huntsman pounced on the opportunity to save his state money while giving state employees an extra day off every week. Work 4 Utah extends state business hours from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. but shuts down all nonemergency offices on Fridays. The move not only saves energy and gives employees three-day weekends, it also keeps cars off the road, reduces traffic accidents and cuts pollution.
"We will conserve energy, save money, improve our air quality and enhance customer service," the governor said upon announcing Work 4 Utah. "We live in a dynamic, ever-changing environment, and it's crucial that we take a serious look at how we can adapt and maintain our state's unparalleled quality of life."