As someone who made their way to government through the competitive gauntlet that is the private sector, Texas CIO Todd Kimbriel sees the value in sharing collective experiences for public good. He makes a point of sharing wins as well as hard-learned lessons with his counterparts in other states.
“It’s actually really liberating in the public sector that pretty much all of the states are so freely sharing our experiences,” he said.
Kimbriel’s charge, like so many in government, is to adapt a more business-like mindset, where results are linked to customer buy-in and satisfaction. The sheer size and scope of Texas adds another facet to the job’s complexity — the state is home to some 170 government organizations, a dozen or more courts, more than 60 institutions of higher education and what Kimbriel refers to as 100-plus “department of’s.” They all represent potential customers for DIR.
“Our focus is shifting … we really defined ourselves and recast ourselves as a private-sector organization,” he explained. “If we fail to deliver services and the customers don’t use those services, we don’t get paid and we can’t make our budget. We’re very incented to make sure that we have happy customers.”
And he has some big ideas for digital transformation poised to deliver big benefits to customers, both internal and external. Kimbriel envisions My Government, My Way as a one-stop shop for all things Texas government. As he describes it, Texans will be able to customize their digital experience based on their individual needs, ranging from car insurance to hunting licenses to unemployment benefits. Data will be shared between agencies to dramatically simplify the government-citizen experience. A few years in the making, the first iteration of this project is set to drop later this year.
“One paramount for us is that the citizen experience is outstanding,” he said. “We are not going to sacrifice trying to rush anything, jam in feature functionality without making sure that we adhere to the highest standards of excellence.”