1. Is yours an appointed position, civil service, etc.?
In Massachusetts, the CIO is an assistant secretary for administration and finance, appointed by the secretary.
2. What training was most useful to you in your current position?
Principles of Operations Research -- especially the section on decision-making under uncertainty.
3. What are the biggest IT issues
currently facing your jurisdiction?
Recruiting and retaining the right IT talent.
4. What IT programs are you most proud of?
The $400 million "IT Bond II" portfolio of systems initiatives we kicked off in 1996. The geeky but innovative "Communications Bridge" initiative, which ties together diverse state computers with IBM MQSeries middleware.
5. What has been your most difficult challenge?
Every day in the life of a CIO brings a new one.
6. How will IT change in five years?
A stunning performance growth curve and new applications will leave us wondering how we ever got by on 400MHz Pentium II clunkers. Windows NT 5 may be out of beta, and continued exploitation of the Internet will upset long-standing assumptions regarding organizational/jurisdictional boundaries.
7. What do you wish vendors would do or not do?
Translate "Hi! We want you to get familiar with us!" into "Here's what we can do for you."
8. When did you decide to enter government,
and what was the reason?
I began work with state government in 1992 and had earlier experience in Boston city operations. Government work still has the capacity to give one a meaningful sense of public service.
9. How do you stay ahead of your e-mail?
Filtering, sorting, rules agents, late nights.
10. How do you use the Internet?
What sites are most useful to you?
I try to see who's doing what advanced online transaction work and see what can be adopted for state government services. I also research technology directly on vendor sites. E*Trade, Expedia, Amazon books and Internet radio sites are all personal favorites.
11. What are you currently reading?
Just finished Andrew Grove's High Output Management, which I found remarkable, mostly because Grove seemed awfully down-to-earth for such a high-powered guy.
12. What's your favorite recreational activity?
I hate to admit it, but give me a fresh PCWeek and a cold beer, and I'm all set.
13. What's your favorite quote?
"Understand the characters of the people you are dealing with ..." (Baltasar Gracian).
14. Who's the person you most admire?
My wife, Martha -- a study in contrasts: an aggressive litigator and a wonderful person, poet and mom.
August Table of Contents
Louis Gutierrez is CIO for the commonwealth of Massachusetts, a position created by the Legislature in 1996. He formerly held positions as assistant budget director for systems in Massachusetts' Fiscal Affairs Division and director of information-technology services for Health and Human Services. He holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Harvard and a master's degree in management from MIT's Sloan School.