Engagement, Security Among Themes in California IT

California’s top IT officials brought together the message that IT workers must listen and learn from each other.

by Dennis Noone, Techwire / September 14, 2017
Moderator Joe Morris (left) led the panel discussion including state IT leaders Chris Cruz, Amy Tong and Sergio Gutierrez (right). Techwire

Before a diverse audience of hundreds of tech insiders who gathered Tuesday in Sacramento for the CA Tech Forum, California’s top IT officials brought the message Tuesday that the state must become “One IT Community.” 

State CIO Amy Tong emphasized that government “silos” must be dismantled, that young and old state IT workers must listen and learn from each other, and that the “One IT Community” will ideally include representation from California’s city, county and state governments as well as the state’s education community. Her “Three Pillars” theme, summed up: Create one digital government, secure delivery of services, and build an engaged, dynamic workforce.

Tuesday’s event drew state government staffers, managers and top leaders, as well as IT industry representatives and vendors from across the nation, who gathered at the invitation of Techwire and Government Technology, both owned by e.Republic. About 350 state employees and 150 sponsors attended the event, as well as numerous vendors and guests.

Tong was the ranking member of the keynote panel, which also included Chris Cruz, chief deputy director and deputy state chief information officer for the California Department of Technology; and Sergio Gutierrez, agency information officer for the California Environmental Protection Agency. The discussion was led by Joseph Morris, Vice President, Research, of the Center for Digital Government.

The panelists’ theme was inclusion – the idea that Millennial state workers and their colleagues in “the grandfather generation” should collaborate, and that it’s incumbent on state government IT leaders to foster that collaboration.  

Cruz noted that the state’s strategic vision document will be made public within the next couple of months, once it’s finalized and polished.

Cruz also talked about the importance of the state’s Information Technology Leadership Academy (ITLA) and its new Project Management Leadership Academy, both popular programs under the auspices of the state’s Department of Technology.  

Morris, the moderator, said after the event: “The ‘Three Pillars’ ought be the core focus areas of all governments, big and small. The state of California has laid out a straightforward vision on what they plan to accomplish and measure over the next two to three years.”

Tong, Cruz and Gutierrez kept their comments succinct, and the chemistry among the three was evident, with quips and first-name shout-outs to some in the audience. The event’s feel seemed to embody the “One IT Community” theme, as state staffers and some vendors sat side-by-side with department heads, CIOs and AIOs.

Audience members’ questions and comments touched on what Tong called “the three-generation workforce.” She underscored the importance of using engagement to keep the state workforce focused and efficient. 

The panel discussion was bracketed by numerous breakout sessions throughout the day, highlighting such topics as IT security, accessibility and inclusion, and millennials in state government. Techwire will have deeper coverage of those topics over the next couple of days. 

This story was originally published on Techwire