Brian Rawson, who became Texas' chief technology officer in 2007, leads one of the nation's most comprehensive state IT consolidation initiatives. He spoke to Government Technology about Texas' new Strategic Plan for Information Resources Management and several upcoming procurements.
GT: Texas just released a new Strategic Plan for Information Resources. What are its priorities?
Rawson: Managed shared services will be one significant focus over the next few years. We're rebidding TexasOnline - our state portal - very soon. The current contract with BearingPoint expires Aug. 31, 2009. We've gone through a request-for-information [RFI] process, but we'll initiate a procurement officially this fall, and we expect to have a contract executed in time to transition to a new vendor or reconfirm the relationship with our incumbent partner. The second major rebid relates to TEX-AN, our statewide high-speed network. That contract expires Aug. 31, 2009, so we're beginning that procurement process too.
GT: What capabilities will you look for as you rebid those contracts?
Rawson: We're contemplating the technology backdrop to the next generation of TexasOnline, as well as content enhancements. We're talking to state, customer stakeholder and vendor groups through our RFI process to understand the environment. What are customers demanding? What do citizens need to interact with government in a more proactive, productive way? We want to keep our successful TexasOnline model, but we're looking at innovative techniques and technologies to help drive the next chapter of the TexasOnline story.
GT: Is this coming at a good time, given the emergence of Web 2.0 applications?
Rawson: Absolutely. There's a real opportunity now. We have to find better ways to collaborate. The preliminary indications are that Web 2.0 will be a paradigm shift in how we can communicate, interact and synergize with our constituents, other government agencies and the business community.
GT: Is the situation similar on the telecom side?
Rawson: It's analogous. As a state, we're moving away from provisioning communications technologies and toward managing cost-effective, advanced communications technology services. That's due to the market's dynamic nature and the technology within that market. Internet technologies and the service offerings inherent in Internet protocol technologies offer a tremendous opportunity for a complete paradigm shift in how we handle telecommunications.