IT Leadership Celebrated
In an awards ceremony at the conference Sunday evening, Center for Digital Government Executive Director Todd Sander announced the results of the 2016 Digital States Survey. The following states were recognized with Best Practice awards in specific categories:
Enterprise Information and Communications Technology
Finance and Administration
Health and Human Services
CIOs today have similar priorities, and a few took to the NASCIO stage to discuss some of the most prevalent: cybersecurity, cloud, business intelligence and data analytics, legacy modernization, and budget and cost control.
In Virginia, Chief Information Security Officer Michael Watson talked about the need to fill the gap that exists between cyber-risk and technology, mentioning a few incidents — pacemakers, defibrillators and other medical devices manufactured by St. Jude Medical being prone to cyberattack and the well-known Office of Personnel Management data breach in 2015.
"We need to understand that we’re putting these services out there and we need to put safeguards in place," he said, "and they need to be part of our budget. When we provide any type of tech service, we need to build security into the service and the cost of the service."
As for cloud, Texas CIO Todd Kimbriel noted that the technology is here. "It's not going anywhere," he said, but also pointed out that despite many people talking about and utilizing cloud computing, they aren't necessarily referencing it correctly.
So what is cloud? It’s delivery not technology. It’s operational expense not capital. Ultimately, he said, "people lump all aspects of cloud into the cloud. They say, ‘I need cloud!' No, you need cloud services."
Indiana CIO Dewand Neely talked business intelligence and data analytics, and advised his fellow CIOs to pick a data-driven project that has strong support from the top. In his state, infant mortality, opioid abuse/overdose and recidivism have all been key issues that had buy-in from various stakeholders, helping to ensure project success.
Once achieving that support and buy-in, however, Neely noted that the collaboration isn't over. "Don’t do all this and then go off on your own completely and take all the credit," he said. "Make sure everyone plays part in the process."
As for legacy modernization, Mahesh Nattanmai, executive deputy CIO at the New York State Office of Information Technology Services, said he pulled together a team that included a cross section of business and technology people with a goal of developing an IT strategy and roadmap.
"We had to come up with something bold that would span administrations," he said. "What’s been the key to our success was to focus on the basics of people, process and technology. Get the right leadership team, implement some IT processes to [make sense of] the madness."
With the leadership of CIO Maggie Miller and New York's IT team, Nattanmai said the state has closed 28 data centers, switched over to VoIP, refaced all websites and is in the process of consolidating all of the state's call centers.
And when it comes to budget and cost control, Montana CIO Ron Baldwin summoned his inner Jedi to impart financial wisdom upon his peers.
Jessica Mulholland served as the Web editor of Government Technology magazine from October 2012 through September 2017. She worked for the Government Technology editorial team for nearly 10 years.
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.