Bharat Shyam was named CIO of Washington state on Nov. 14, 2011, and after almost 13 months on the job, he's submitted his resignation, effective Dec. 31.
In a letter to Office of the CIO staff on Dec. 11, Shyam wrote that continuing the commute to and from Seattle each day was too much, but he hopes to help incoming Gov. Jay Inslee’s transition team find his replacement.
"I hope to help Gov. Inslee find my successor, as well as help my successor," Shyam said in an email interview. "We will publish a detailed report on IT in Washington state in early January, and that will have a lot of what my successor will need to know to be successful."
When Shyam took the position last year, he walked into a tricky situation. A consultant had recently concluded that the state's $255 million data center project may be much larger than what the state would need in the future. In addition, the state’s information services agency was replaced in 2011 by three different technology-related departments in a cost-cutting move. But Shyam was dedicated to addressing the Evergreen State’s technology woes.
In February, he released a strategy document that outlined changes Washington must make to upgrade and enhance its technology presence, and as of August, progress had been made on the state's IT financial management systems. "We did a substantial review of everything that is available and have identified a vendor that we are in the final stages of writing a contract with," he told Government Technology in August.
Looking back at his time in Washington, Shyam believes he and his team have moved past a previously adversarial relationship with legislators, to one based on transparency and trust. "I believe that Washington state IT costs have the potential to be extremely transparent going forward," he said. "We have also started aggressively using cloud platforms and have several experiments going in various agencies. We have begun on the journey of making centralized IT responsive, transparent and cost competitive, but a lot of work remains in that area."
Photo of Bharat Shyam courtesy of the Washington Office of the Chief Information Officer