2016: The Year in Tech / CIOs Sound Off

We talk to CIOs at all levels of government on a variety of issues throughout the year. But few topics elicited livelier responses than when we posed this particular question.

by / December 2016
Morgan Reed, CIO, Arizona Jessica Mulholland/Government Technology

We asked CIOs: What technology would you like out of your portfolio?


"I’m a career data center guy, but I don’t want to be in the data center business, the mainframe business or the operations business. We have a managed service/outsourcing arrangement with the state network. It’s the best service I have, it’s the most mature from a capabilities standpoint and it’s got the most uptime, so why would I try to do anything different? I’d rather use public-private partnerships to figure out if someone can operate our services better than we can." — Morgan Reed, CIO, Arizona

I would really like to shrink my data center and get rid of everything storage-related. I know there’s tons of data there that hasn’t been touched in way too long, and I don’t see a need to store legacy data. There are cheaper ways to do that without taking up expensive data center storage. That’s something I really want to get out of the business of, and something we’ll really be looking toward doing in the next six to eight months. — Dewand Neely, CIO, Indiana / Photo by David Kidd

"We are always looking to upgrade and build our tech portfolio, but smart portfolio management also involves retiring and eliminating. What I’d like to get rid of is lightweight application development. While my IT staff can build small apps for users, there are increasing capabilities in the “maker generation” to build these themselves. This would free up IT staff to build APIs and integrate data sources. Also, this helps ensure that apps are very responsive to agency needs." — Ted Ross, CIO, Los Angeles

Lea Deesing, chief innovation officer, Riverside, Calif. We would like to get out of the data maintenance business altogether, decentralizing duties such as Web content and GIS data updates. IT departments should provide the infrastructure and systems to ensure data is properly collected, stored, retrieved, integrated and secured, but our data-related duties should really end there. — Lea Deesing, Chief Innovation Officer, Riverside, Calif. / Photo by David Kidd

The technology I would like to disrupt and replace is the password. We’ve seen the human limits and resistance to strong password usage for too long to think it can be effective. Multifactor options that don’t depend on memories are starting to show their viability. Along with that, I’d love to see the password/IP address/anti-malware era of security come to a close in favor of pattern-based detection, prevention and response. — Rob Lloyd, CIO, San Jose, Calif.


In an ideal world, I would like to get out of the mainframe business. Unfortunately it’s very expensive for us to run the mainframe for the two remaining agencies that still use mainframe technologies, so we would like to see if there are other ways that we can migrate some of those applications to other platforms. We’re looking aggressively at that now, how we might be able to save the state money, be more efficient and be a little more responsible with taxpayer dollars. — Mike Hussey, CIO, Utah / Photo by Jessica Mulholland

All legacy technology needs to be replaced. It’s like using a cellphone that is a decade old. Technology refresh is as important as infrastructure refresh and, more importantly, business process re-engineering must happen each time there is a major refresh. — Archana Vemulapalli, CTO, Washington, D.C.

Illinois CIO Hardik BhattI wouldn’t say any specific technology, but it needs to be based on your current investment portfolio and how you want to balance that. We do need to get out of those technologies that we don’t have people who can maintain them anymore. Also, the technologies that are very difficult to interact with, like the green screens on the mainframe terminals. We need to start building a better front end to that. I think phasing technology out needs to be very calculated: Is the technology giving you the efficiency that you need or is it holding you back? — Hardik Bhatt, CIO, Illinois / Photo by David Kidd

Back to the 2016 Year in Review

Noelle Knell Editor

Government Technology editor Noelle Knell has more than 15 years of writing and editing experience, covering public projects, transportation, business and technology. A California native, she has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history. She can be reached via email and on Twitter.