Michigan CIO Teresa Takai, One of Government Technology's 25 'Doers Dreamers and Drivers'

''Because all of our IT is focused in a single area, the governor doesn't have to think, 'If I want to accomplish this, which IT program in which agency do I need to make that happen?'''

by / March 4, 2005
Perhaps it's no surprise that Teresa Takai proved a perfect fit as Michigan's CIO. Named to the position two years ago -- at the midpoint of Michigan's ambitious IT centralization initiative -- Takai learned to navigate large-scale consolidation initiatives as an executive at EDS and Ford Motor Co.

"I was able to bring some experience, having been through the turmoil that hits you," said Takai. She provided a steady hand at the tiller as Michigan moved IT operations from 19 executive branch agencies into a central technology organization, a process Takai called "emotionally trying" for many of the state's IT professionals.

Centralization may have been painful, but the results are impressive. Building on mainframe and telecommunications consolidation completed several years ago, Michigan is consolidating servers, e-mail systems, and file and print services. In addition, Takai's Department of Information Technology runs a statewide technology help desk and provides desktop support for executive branch agencies.

That sort of progress earned Michigan widespread recognition, including a No. 1 ranking in the Center for Digital Government's 2004 Digital States Survey. The unified approach also simplifies the task of aligning state IT operations with Gov. Jennifer Granholm's policy goals.

"Because all of our IT is focused in a single area, the governor doesn't have to think, 'If I want to accomplish this, which IT program in which agency do I need to make that happen?'" said Takai. "That's a very strong benefit."

Indeed, Takai's agency developed an action plan that directly links IT activities with specific policy objectives.

"All of our initiatives are directly tied to where the Cabinet agencies are going, which is directly tied to the governor's objectives," she said. "So we feel very good that the things we're working on and spending money on are going to deliver value to the citizens of Michigan."

Congratulations to this year's group of "Doers, Dreamers and Drivers," who appear in the March issue of Government Technology magazine.