Dale Jablonsky, CIO, California Employment Development Department/Photo by GMP Digital Dale Jablonsky, CIO, California Employment Development Department Photo by GMP Digital

GT: How is the EDD using technology to connect better with its constituencies?

Jablonsky: One of the best examples is the federal/state employment tax system we developed with the IRS, several other states, Intuit (the makers of Quicken) and some large payroll companies. We came up with a new data format that's all XML/SOA based. Now businesses that are nationwide don't have to report differently state-by-state. That's an example of connecting the states, federal government and business community in ways that save businesses money by reducing the disparate formats and save states money because they're not handling media.

GT: How is California's economic downturn affecting your department?

Jablonsky: Our workload is going up, but our funding is going down. There are many examples of workload going up no matter what the drivers are. Security is a classic example. Compared to five years ago, the compliance activity has tripled in terms of keeping systems patched and monitoring resources for internal and external threats. All of those activities are now mandated, and there was no extra staffing to do that. So we had to go for internal efficiencies to meet the mandates of security.

GT: How do new computing models, such as software as a service and cloud computing, fit into your future plans?

Jablonsky: We've looked at several examples of software as a service. We see immediate applications and return on areas where data security isn't such an important factor. In our environment, we're starting the cloud internally; we're putting a lot of services in our intranet that are only available to our own applications. But it still reduces our application footprint significantly. As the security structure advances, we can move that same security outside of an organization into the cloud. We certainly want to take full advantage of cloud computing.

GT: How will you use Web 2.0 applications?

Jablonsky: The federal government is pushing us into a new role - more around economic development. We have a lot of employment, education and economic enterprise zone data the state wants to offer to stimulate businesses. We believe Web 2.0 is a great way to present all that disparate data in an intelligent format.