Several states now employ innovation officers or digital officers. But Colorado may be the first to bring on a digital transformation officer (DTO).
On Wednesday, Nov. 2, the Colorado Governor’s Office of Information Technology announced Brandon Williams will become the state’s first DTO.
“As a state, we’ve digitized well, but we haven’t had that common thread across our different efforts to see where data resides, how to make it open and accessible and how to tie in different systems so we’re sharing data correctly,” said Williams. “It’s great to see government moving in this direction and beginning to bridge the gap between being digital and being digitally mature.”
Prior to his promotion to DTO, Williams led the state’s Google Services team for the last four years (Colorado officially became a Google shop in 2012). As the state’s new DTO, Williams will work with state agencies to align user and customer experience with strategic business plans and ensure the state’s public-facing websites and other digital touch points are efficient and easy to use.
“For years we’ve talked about business requirements, but user experience was often an afterthought,” explained Williams. “Part of my role will be getting our programmers and analysts to think about the user experience.”
Williams will report to the state chief technology officer, David McCurdy, and will partner with educational and government organizations to host rapid innovation events to help prepare Colorado for future digital endeavors.
Williams said his new role ties in well with his previous work on Colorado’s Google Services team.
“The freshman class in college today is the first class that grew up in a world where Google existed,” he said. “Those young adults have all kinds of assumptions and expectations around collaboration and access to digital tools. We are working hard to ensure new users coming into the state system will have access to the powerful tool sets and data we have available.”
Williams may be the first state DTO, but says he hopes he won’t be the last.
“This role is a bit different than other state technology roles in that it’s less about the technology and more about exploring how we use the platforms we have in a more powerful way,” he said. “It’s not just about taking existing business practices and making them cloud-based business practices that reflect the same things we were doing before. This is about rethinking the work of government and taking advantage of collaboration tools to make it faster, more efficient and cleaner.”