New York's CTO Bids Farewell, Looks to Private Sector and the Internet of Things

After three years in New York state government, Kishor Bagul says he's ready for a new grand challenge.

by / May 12, 2015

New York Chief Technology Officer Kishor Bagul logged his final day with the state on May 8. The New York Office of Information Technology Services has not yet announced a replacement, but Bagul knows his next step, which is that of entrepreneurship, the cloud and the Internet of Things. 

“Public sector is one of the big areas nobody is tapping into right now, because with the Internet of Things, people are looking more into the manufacturing side" he said, "but when I look at the Internet of Things, I think the services public sector provides to the citizens, from the safety point of view, transportation and all that stuff, quite a lot can be done in public sector, especially in local government and smarter cities.”

The public sector, he added, has a lot of untapped, unorganized opportunity, "because people are talking about it, they’re talking about broadband, which is an enabler for Internet of Things, they’re talking about smart schools.”

Excited to move forward and “do something big,” Bagul said he feels the past near-three year stint as CTO for the state of New York built substantial growth in the state’s IT efforts. New York consolidated about 50 IT departments into one, consolidated 15 data centers, and consolidated 27 email systems.

“When I came on board, there was no cloud, and in two years we have now a really good presence,” he said. “I would say every state employee is on the cloud today. That’s the big accomplishment, I feel.”

Bagul also pointed to the state’s consolidated Web presence at NY.gov and improved open data efforts, which have been received national recognition, including honors from the Center for Digital Government (a division of e.Republic, the parent company of Government Technology).

As for New York’s future, Bagul said he doesn’t know what the administration has planned, but he hopes officials will continue with his innovation agenda, focus more strongly on technology as an enabler for economic development, and continue to keep government focused on serving the people above all else.

Bagul’s background includes private-sector ventures in India, Australia and the U.S. He notes a strong private-sector background as one of his strengths and a resource that government would do well to learn from.

“I was lucky to work there, but they were also lucky to have me from the private-sector mentality,” Bagul said. “Having private-sector mentality and having entrepreneurial mentality helps to drive more results. Government -- we need to change the pace we work on. Normally the government is slow. It’s not that the people are bad in government. I like the staff I worked with, I like the people in government, it’s just that they need motivation. The advantage I had is I tried to teach, coach, mentor my staff to guide them in terms of the entrepreneurial side. Showing them that big picture, showing them little steps and creating that environment which can really help to drive those entrepreneurial skills. That gives really good empowerment to the employees.”

Government could also benefit from supporting its “out-of-box thinkers” by giving them room to thrive and creating an environment in which they feel comfortable, Bagul said. But for now, he’s moving on from government and there are a lot of opportunities, especially for the Internet of Things.

“I'd like to develop something, I'd like to build something, I'd like to do something big,” Bagul said. “And when I came to the state, the state really needed good leaders, and I was fortunate and happy to have that honor to be invited to be part of that leadership team.”

Colin Wood former staff writer

Colin wrote for Government Technology from 2010 through most of 2016.