Denis Goulet didn’t become commissioner of the Department of Information Technology due to a new governor. While that tends to be how it works in most states, Goulet just began a four-year term that ends two years into the next governor’s administration.
“In New Hampshire in general, there’s not a lot of churn at the commissioner level … associated with changes in government,” Goulet told Public CIO. “Particularly for a CIO, it’s a really good thing because it takes a while to turn the Queen Mary.”
Goulet’s three decades of private-sector technology experience include stints in commercial software development, leading engineering teams, as well as serving in director and CIO roles. Throughout his career, his priorities have been people, process and technology — in that order. He intends to continue that in state government, with an admittedly larger group of stakeholders, including the legislature and agencies with widely varied lines of business.
An early priority for Goulet is overall IT strategy development, including reviewing a now 10-year-old consolidation plan to see if any updates are needed. Improving the state’s IT security posture is getting attention from Goulet as well.
“We’re looking at where we stand and what things we should be doing to strengthen our position, in terms of state cybersecurity strategy at the IT level, running the business of the state, but also in terms of the overall safety and stability of our citizens with respect to critical infrastructure. That’s really a statewide initiative in New Hampshire and IT is a big part of that.”
Goulet hopes that by the time he leaves the office, IT infrastructure will be modern, consolidated and standardized. But at the same time, he wants state agencies to see IT as a true partner organization, committed to supporting their business needs.
“Really there is that need to both drive the cost-effectiveness of IT while not sacrificing the unique requirements that agencies have to service their citizens in the ways that they must,” he said.