I met Bill Bott at an editorial roundtable last year in Jefferson City, Mo. He and his boss, CIO Dan Ross, are achieving some striking, but unheralded, results with their IT consolidation efforts.
As I took notes during the meeting, I kept underlining some of the comments the two men made, in particular points Bott made on how the state's IT department went about tackling consolidation from a management perspective. He talked about how they modeled their approach on the financial sector, which has gone through significant IT consolidation, a result of the numerous mergers and acquisitions that had changed the map of banking throughout the country.
In all the meetings I've attended with government CIOs, this was the first time I had heard a public-sector IT official talk about learning from and using the game book from an entirely different market to achieve specific results in IT. By the time the meeting ended, I had put an asterisk next to Bill's name in my notes, reminding me to give him a call to learn more about Missouri's IT management style.
Swamped with work, I failed to make that call when I returned to my office, but luckily, Bill sent an e-mail with a story idea on the problem governments often have with service-level agreements following consolidation and how Missouri was able to make its work. It was a great story, and if you haven't read "Rising to a New Level," I strongly recommend you check it out.
Now Bill's good work and solid achievements have been recognized by Governing magazine, which named him one of its "Public Officials of the Year." The article points out that Bott was hired in 2005 to bring about "massive changes" to the state's IT systems and resources. Since then, he has used his management acumen to develop a strategic plan and design a new organizational structure. The core of his efforts, as outlined in his Public CIO article, have to do with the new agreements he fashioned with the state's agencies that rely on sound data and measures to ensure reliability and performance on an enterprise scale.
So far, the agreements have held up, and Missouri's IT department has saved $6 million in costs and trimmed substantially more in terms of soft savings from increased efficiencies.
Ross, who nominated Bott for Public Official of the Year, told Governing, "Bill Bott has done more for the advancement of IT in state government than any single technological advancement in the past decade." Now that's a ringing endorsement.
Tod Newcombe is editor of Government Technology's Public CIO.