February 8, 2010 By Matt Williams
Have you ever wanted to be an armchair IT manager? Then the state of California wants you and your ideas.
P.K. Agarwal, the director of the state Office of Technology Services, has launched an online "crowdsourcing" tool where registered users can submit in writing their ideas for how California can improve its IT portfolio, and vote up or down on users' proposals.
Agarwal launched the site in response to a recent post on the TechCrunch blog that criticized the state government's IT infrastructure for being antiquated, and challenged state CIO Teri Takai and Agarwal to use the expertise of Silicon Valley to rebuild the state's systems at a fraction of the cost of traditional procurements.
Agarwal wrote a rebuttal posted to TechCrunch on Saturday, Feb. 6, in which he said the state has made strides over the past year to make the procurement of IT faster and more transparent. He said he would take the top-ranking ideas from the Web site and "further refine them through an interactive dialog." The most popular idea submitted to Agarwal's site as of Monday was implementing electronic invoicing in California to save time and money.
It's unknown how and if the ideas gleaned from the public might be integrated formally into California's IT strategy and procurement decisions. Calls to Agarwal's office were not returned Monday.
California has leaned on crowdsourcing before. Last summer Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger launched "MyIdea4CA," a Web site that indexes ideas for California's state government submitted via Twitter.
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