June 7, 2010 By Matt Williams
Photo: Mike Locatis, chief deputy CIO, California/Photo by David Kidd
Colorado CIO Mike Locatis has been named the chief deputy CIO of California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office announced Monday, June 7.
Locatis' move farther west could signal the start of shake-ups nationwide in state IT departments as a spate of term-limited governors see the twilight of their time in power. As chief deputy to California CIO Teri Takai, Locatis may be positioned as her successor if and when Takai receives congressional confirmation as CIO of the U.S. Department of Defense, a post the President Barack Obama administration nominated her to in March.
Like Takai, Locatis has a track record of working on enterprisewide IT consolidation. As Colorado CIO, Locatis led a comprehensive statewide consolidation effort that streamlined Colorado's 39 data centers, 20 phone systems and 20 e-mail systems to improve efficiency, a project that, from an organizational standpoint, will be finished by the end of 2010. Locatis led the adoption of enterprise architecture, brought IT staff under the state CIO's office, helped organize a statewide data sharing initiative and began to move the state into cloud computing, among several other projects.
With most of Colorado's consolidation complete, Locatis said he wants to bring his expertise to California, where the state continues to implement its own IT consolidation strategy.
"I look forward to working side-by-side with Teri on advancing California's consolidation and transformation initiatives to bring about large-scale information technology innovation, efficiencies and operational improvements," Locatis said. Takai wants to ensure there's continuity and sustainability for the initiatives she has launched, and that there's a thoughtful transition, he added.
California will elect a new governor in November. Locatis said he would be interested in working for the California Office of the State Chief Information Officer in the new administration. "I will stay as long as California needs me," Locatis said. He starts work June 14.
Colorado Deputy CIO Leah Lewis will take over for Locatis on an acting basis. The state has a continuity plan in place and a strong IT team, said Dara Hessee, chief of staff for the Governor's Office of Information Technology (OIT). "Thanks to Mike's vision and leadership, OIT is poised for a seamless transition upon his departure, and we congratulate him on his new role," she said. "The strategy doesn't change with Mike's departure. He has done a phenomenal job of laying the groundwork for a sustainable organization, and we move forward with that."
Locatis became the CIO of Colorado in 2007, after serving three years in the same capacity for Denver, where he also led an IT consolidation initiative. Prior to that, he worked in the private sector, most recently as senior director of enterprise IT for Time Warner Cable from 2002 to 2004.
"I want to apply the same rigor that I have over the last 40 months [in Colorado] to help the Schwarzenegger administration really realize the potential here, and ensure consistency during the transition," Locatis said. "I think there's a lot that can be done on their road map."
The consolidation that Locatis will be working on in California is much bigger and organized differently than Colorado's. One difference is that Colorado passed legislation to enforce the consolidation, while Schwarzenegger relied primarily on executive orders to achieve the same end. Also, because California's government is so much bigger -- some 10,000 IT workers and 130 agency-level CIOS with expenditures of $3 billion on IT each year -- Takai chose a federated model for the consolidation that gives agencies some autonomy for decision-making while ceding the state's strategic planning to the state CIO's office.
Locatis isn't the first official from Colorado to move into California's IT leadership. Mark Weatherford was named California's chief information security officer in 2008 after working in the same role for Colorado.
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