Outgoing Illinois CIO Details Progress of IT Consolidation

Kirk Lonbom, who served as Illinois CIO under outgoing Gov. Bruce Rauner, delivered a report to the state Legislature on Dec. 28 outlining how his department has responded to legislative mandates and saved money.

Just before ending his 38-year career in government, outgoing Illinois CIO Kirk Lonbom delivered a report on the status of digital transformation to the state Legislature.

Facing a new incoming governor in J.B. Pritzker, Lonbom stepped down from his post at the start of the new year. But before he did, he issued a report to elected officials detailing the work his office has undertaken in recent years as it sought to consolidate one of the largest state IT operations in the country, and make government run more efficiently and capably for Illinoisans.

The state’s IT workers have historically been decentralized, working across 38 different agencies and operating in different systems. But after the creation of the Department of Innovation and Technology in 2016, it sought to unify them under its leadership, move them all to the same time systems and establish a singular culture.

According to the report, the department has updated job codes for all IT personnel and has workers at 10 agencies moved to the DoIT payroll system. It expects to have 14 more moved to DoIT payroll by June 1.

The department has also been taking on considerable cost-saving measures, including:

  • Saving $26 million by creating a new software-defined data center
  • Saving $1.2 million by transitioning to a new open data portal
  • Implementing a new data dashboard that allowed the Department of Revenue to identify fraud, saving $40 million in 2018
  • Setting up shared solutions for multiple agencies
The department is still undergoing several large projects, including deploying consistent enterprise resource planning software across state government. It has added 80 percent of agencies under the governor to the platform en route to consolidating 420 individual systems the state used to run for functions like human resources and grant management.

Another big project in the works involves whittling down the 2,900 applications Illinois government has been running. After cataloguing those applications, the state is working with a vendor to find applications that can be retired, cutting down the government’s IT portfolio and rerouting the employees that used to maintain those applications to other tasks.

“The lasting impact of this work is to create a state government that is more secure, more transparent, and with the digital infrastructure needed to continue serving citizens and employees with best-in-class technology services,” Lonbom wrote in the report.

State CTO Jack King is filling in as interim CIO. Gov.-elect Pritzker has not yet announced a permanent CIO.

Ben Miller is the associate editor of data and business for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes breaking news, business, community features and technical subjects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and lives in Sacramento, Calif.