The theme for this issue is leadership. And for our cover story, we chose to spotlight an interesting instance of it in Oklahoma. Over the past several years, the state has enacted sweeping reforms in how it uses and manages technology. Many of those changes have been instigated by a pair of young state lawmakers — including the chairman of the increasingly influential House Government Modernization Committee — who’ve joined forces with Oklahoma’s cabinet-level CIO. In this issue, we look at how that partnership is powering Oklahoma’s aggressive IT consolidation initiative.

Here’s one detail that didn’t make it into the main story: The state’s original 2008 consolidation legislation stems from a chance conversation between the bill’s author, state Rep. David Derby, and a technology industry friend during a pheasant hunting trip. Derby asked his friend what was wrong with Oklahoma state IT at the start of a long drive to their hunting grounds, and received an earful for the remainder of the trip.

“It was an eight-hour drive, and we spent six of them talking about state IT,” Derby said. That conversation prompted him to author a bill creating a true state CIO and mandating a study of technology use in Oklahoma state agencies. That bill led to a long-running partnership between Derby and Modernization Committee chairman Rep. Jason Murphey on a series of state IT reforms.

 “That’s how it all began,” Derby said. “It started us down this pathway.”

 Perhaps the moral of the story is that an important part of leadership is the ability to recognize a good idea — wherever it comes from — and see it through to implementation.

 Also, in the issue, we offer some thought leadership on a very timely topic: cybersecurity insurance. Security breaches and data theft have become an expensive problem for government agencies, prompting some to ask why insurance coverage for those risks isn’t more common. On p. 14, we take an in-depth look at the current cybersecurity insurance market, obstacles to its growth, and the potential value of such coverage.

 Finally, you’ll notice something new in the middle of your copy of Public CIO. Starting with this issue, Public CIO will include a quarterly research report created by e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government. These reports will offer detailed information on technologies and topics critical to the success of public CIOs — starting with big data.

Steve Towns  |  Executive Editor