On May 25, after five months as interim chief technology officer (CTO) of Texas and executive director of the state Department of Information Resources (DIR), Brian Rawson officially took over the post.

As director of the DIR's service delivery division, Rawson was involved with some of the state's most notable projects, including overseeing the public-private partnership that produced TexasOnline and the state's cooperative contracting program. He also assembled a quality assurance team to evaluate contract proposals for the data center consolidation project currently under way.

Now, as he moves into the top spot, he's ready to execute on the technology vision that has been slowly evolving in Texas state government. He recently spoke with Texas Technology about what that vision entails and what's to come for Texas government in terms of technology.

 

In the announcement of your appointment, the technology vision and direction for Texas were mentioned several times. Can you describe that vision and talk a little bit about what's ahead for DIR and the state?

 In a nutshell, I've always believed that a recipe for success in Texas has three ingredients.

The first one is what I call clarity of purpose. We have a couple of things that I think give us clarity of purpose to legislative leadership and agency customers, but often our citizenry. So we have a set of core principles that we discuss every time we talk about a technology initiative within the state, and those core principles are the need for technology to be driven by the business. Project execution has to be collaborative and coordinated with our agency brethren and also the citizenry. And we in the technology business must be held accountable for outcomes, and we believe they must constantly be measured. When we talk about core principles in the context of clarity of purpose, those are the kind of things we talk about.

In terms of clarity of purpose, we have five goals, and we hold these very near and dear to our hearts. The first goal is to reduce government costs. The second goal is to drive effective technology contracting or what you may call supply-chain management. The third goal is to leverage shared technology operations. A huge shared goal for us is to define, implement and execute a variety of shared technology operations. The fourth goal is to continue to promote the innovative use of technology in government. There's a lot of room for improvement there. There's a lot of territory, and we want to be the organization that continues to press the envelope and promote the innovative use of technology in government. And last, certainly not least important among our five enterprise goals, and is to protect information technology and its related assets. I'm talking about information security and privacy management initiatives. That seems to be a national trend, and it certainly is a trend in Texas.

So I talked about three ingredients in our recipe for success, the first ingredient is clarity of purpose. We do have clarity of purpose. The second ingredient in Texas is a commitment to execute, and I'm talking about a commitment that starts at the top, by the governor, legislative leadership, individual agencies, business leadership, and then not least important, IT leadership at the state agency levels as well as the office of the CTO. Then third, and my personal favorite, I believe in Texas we universally have a passion for public service. It is evidenced in our agency leadership, again our legislative leadership as well as our IT leadership in the state. I believe we have a real passion to serve. So those are the three ingredients: clarity of purpose, a commitment to execute as well as an inherent passion for serving our citizens.

Steve Towns  |  Executive Editor