Executing a vision is challenging in any industry, and is perhaps even more so in government given the public sector’s legendary bureaucracy. But in Montana, CIO Dick Clark is watching his vision become a reality.

Last year, an idea came to Clark while driving one day: Aggregate the GIS data from Montana and three other states, and seek a private vendor to store that information in the cloud. After speaking with Oregon CIO Dugan Petty and Utah CIO Steve Fletcher, a plan was set in motion for Montana, Oregon, Utah and Colorado to develop a four-state RFP for cloud-based storage.

“It’s been really rewarding to see how much collaboration states are willing to do,” Clark said, adding that the idea has sparked interest from roughly 25 other states. Clark chairs an informal group of members from the four participating states to bring the project to completion.

But the project isn’t just about finding a better way to store GIS data, said Clark. The larger goal is to move toward “market-based IT,” which means focusing decisions about IT services in economic terms instead of budgetary terms.

With Clark leading the way on shared GIS storage, he’s creating a model for collaboration in the cloud.

Sarah Rich, Staff Writer Sarah Rich  |  Staff Writer

In 2008, Sarah Rich graduated from California State University, Chico, where she majored in news-editorial journalism and minored in sociology. Since 2010, Sarah has written for Government Technology magazine and covers a spectrum of public-sector IT topics, including cloud computing, transparency, broadband, and other innovative projects and trends. She currently lives in Sacramento, Calif.