BALTIMORE — Private-sector partnerships ran though the proceedings at NASCIO’s Midyear conference, held this week at the Hyatt Regency Inner Harbor. More than 550 attendees registered for the three-day event, in which representatives from 46 states and territories are gathered to share best practices around common challenges facing state technology agencies, like procurement, enterprise IT deployments, data privacy and consolidation.
Ohio CIO Stu Davis told the story of his state's cloud partnership with IBM, in which early results include more than $100 million in cost savings, while Arkansas CIO Mark Myers sat alongside Cisco to talk about the deployment of a statewide broadband education network, a critical project for Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
“The governor said the one thing you have to get right is this K-12 network,” Myers told attendees.
The buildout, which began last summer, positions the state alongside a high-profile partner, an intentional choice, Myers explained. Given the very public nature of the effort, it was critical to enlist a vendor with a reputation to risk. “Cisco couldn’t afford to fail either,” he said.
Dan Kent, Cisco public sector chief technology officer, echoed Myers’ description of the relationship between the two teams as more than vendor-customer. “We’re there for you also when things aren’t working so well,” he said. “We strive for that partnership with all state governments.”
Today, the state can offer 200 KB per user, but upon completion, the network will be capable of delivering 1 MB of connectivity per user: 660,000 of them at 270 Arkansas school sites.
Indiana has garnered plenty of attention for its groundbreaking Management and Performance Hub (MPH), an enterprise data analytics platform that’s helping the state attack problems like infant mortality and drug addiction. In a tag-team session with the integrator on the project, state CIO Dewand Neely offered advice to others who are launching analytics initiatives.
“The best-case scenario is to have buy-in at the executive level,” Neely said. Indiana’s effort was backed by an executive order from the governor compelling agencies to share data with the newly formed MPH.
Analytics efforts also should be pointed at a compelling issue, he added. For Indiana, the issue was obvious: infant mortality. The state had spent years attempting to address one of the nation’s worst infant-mortality rates, without much success. That problem became a natural target for analytics.
Using the MPH, Indiana discovered that getting young Medicaid moms to prenatal doctor visits had large impact on infant health. Using the data, the state is designing new programs to help those women find doctors and make it to appointments.
“Child mortality was right in front of us,” said Neely. “Other states will need to find the right issue for them.”
Finally, you may need less data than you think, said Charlie Brandt, managing director for KSM, the state’s integration partner on the MPH project. “At first we wanted to collect every piece of data we could think of, and that’s when people tried to slow it down,” he said. “We found that we didn’t need all of the data to really make an impact. And once we got some results, agencies wanted to give us more data.”
Former US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team) Director Ann Barron-DiCamillo was singled out at the event for IT leadership on Wednesday, accepting the 2016 NASCIO Technology Champion award. And Barron-DiCamillo, now CTO of Strategic Cyber Ventures, was acknowledged for her contributions to the U.S.’ cyberposture through her advocacy of improved transparency and information-sharing.
“Her work with US-CERT embodies the core principles of the award; supporting and promoting the fundamental role IT can play in efficient and effective government operations,” said NASCIO President Darryl Ackley, who also is cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Department of Information Technology.
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.
Steve Towns is the former editor of Government Technology, and former executive editor for e.Republic Inc., publisher of GOVERNING, Government Technology, Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines. He has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience at newspapers and magazines, including more than 15 years of covering technology in the state and local government market. Steve now serves as the Deputy Chief Content Officer for e.Republic.