One of the biggest challenges facing state CIOs these days isn’t deploying the right technology — it’s getting consensus among multiple agencies on a plan that will benefit both productivity and the bottom line. Ohio CIO Stu Davis took that challenge head-on and succeeded.

Ohio rolled out a hosted VoIP solution in 2012, eliminating the need to run its own telephone system. Davis considers the project a “big win,” as state agencies, local governments, higher education facilities and Ohio’s K-12 schools all have the ability to use that contract to save money on voice communication services.

“We’ve got our heads down trying to do good things here for the state,” Davis said. “I’ve got great alignment between the governor’s office and the Office of Budget and Management, the Board of Regents and [the Department of Administrative Services], and having those four components in concert, you can get a lot done.”

But Ohio isn’t finished. Davis released an IT transformation plan last December and created a team consisting of CIOs from multiple state agencies spanning nine core functional areas. The team’s goal for 2013 is to create a plan for getting all state personnel on a single network. Right now, the state operates on 14 separate networks.

According to Davis, the key to success will be clearly communicating what the state is trying to accomplish and continuing to change the mindset of employees.

“This is more about what we can provide and how we can support them, as opposed to what we’re doing to them,” said Davis, “and getting that message across.”

Photo by David McNeese

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Brian Heaton  |  Senior Writer

Brian Heaton is a senior writer for Government Technology. He primarily covers technology legislation and IT policy issues. Brian started his journalism career in 1999, covering sports and fitness for two trade publications based in Long Island, N.Y. He's also a member of the Professional Bowlers Association, and competes in regional tournaments throughout Northern California and Nevada.