Leroy Williams

CIO of Colorado

by / February 4, 2004
As Colorado's secretary of technology and CIO, Leroy Williams manages the state's $500 million IT budget and advises the governor and law makers on IT appropriations, issues and legislation. He also oversees the implementation of Colorado's statewide IT strategy.

Williams was appointed secretary of technology in December. He has served as Colorado CIO since January 2003. He came to Colorado with a private-sector background as director of Qwest's supply-chain management and procurement information technology program.

When you took office, you and your team created several enterprise-level positions, such as a strategic sourcing officer, chief architect, chief financial officer and a chief information security officer. Why did you organize your office that way?
If we are serious about taking an outside-in approach to government, and we build our service delivery capabilities based upon what customer's need, then we have to take an enterprise approach. The first key is to shift from independent decision-making to an enterprise view to drive how we deliver our products, services and information -- a customer driven approach rather than how we [were] structured and organized, like in business. These functions are critical to making this shift occur.

What's your overall strategy for moving Colorado's IT enterprise forward?
First, my team and I have worked hard to implement what we refer to as the "Colorado enterprise framework," which is built on four components -- policy, portfolio management, enterprise architecture and IT risk management. These components represent our business as technology and provide the discipline for how we focus on the right things and deliver solutions from the customer's perspective. Within this framework, we will specifically focus on how best to improve interactions with customers and achieve operational excellence for back-office functions, such as information technology.

Now that you've spent a lot of time laying this foundation, do you now walk a bit of a tightrope between laying the unseen foundation and doing the high-profile and public-facing e-government applications?
To a certain degree, yes. We have consciously chosen to focus on governance because we are after sustainability, not flash. When I walk away from this job, I want to know that we put a sustainable model in place that ensures we are making the best investment decisions in technology.

Having said that, the expectation is that we deliver. Delivering is not necessarily something I solely own, and this is where my team and I have worked closely with the agencies to ensure successful execution. Again, this gets back to governance.

Given all this work on creating a foundation, are you poised to make pretty big gains now? Have those come a little bit easier since you have this kind of platform to work from?
Yes. We have got the governor and the Cabinet excited and we have created a Cabinet-level subcommittee on e-government to help us target the areas we need to focus on.
Clearly we are in the second leg of this administration, and I think people genuinely believe that when they look back 30 years from now, they will be able to see that in this biennium we did make government work better for the people of Colorado by taking an enterprise approach.
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