P.K. Agarwal: One of Government Technology's 25 Doers Dreamers & Drivers

"History tells us that the word 'impossible' does not exist in California's lexicon -- the Golden State is a place for dreamers, and the dreams are big"

by / March 8, 2006
This is an excerpt from the 2006 "Government Technology's 25 Doers Dreamers & Drivers" an annual tribute to those individuals who are redefining and advancing technology's role in government and society.

IT consolidation is a goal envisioned by many, attempted by some and accomplished by few. The task is difficult enough in a single agency; some say it's nearly impossible on a statewide level in a jurisdiction the size of California. But P.K. Agarwal, director of the California Department of Technology Services (DTS), is close to achieving that objective.

Agarwal has a long history of IT leadership in the public and private sectors. Formerly CIO of the California Franchise Tax Board, he pursued a private-sector career before returning to government work in September 2005. Agarwal said his past experiences prepared him to consolidate IT in California.

"[The] California Franchise Tax Board has a culture of getting things done -- in IT as well as in other areas," he said. "A clear vision, strong leadership, internal teamwork and collaboration within government as well as the private sector drive this culture. Couple all this with a passion for innovation, and you have a recipe for success. I fully intend to use a similar recipe in my approach to managing DTS and effectively serving our customers."

Agarwal believes that California is uniquely positioned to accomplish such a monumental undertaking.

"History tells us that the word 'impossible' does not exist in California's lexicon -- the Golden State is a place for dreamers, and the dreams are big," Agarwal said. "I believe California is blessed with extremely talented and dedicated professionals. I'm convinced we have the building blocks for intelligent consolidation, and we will utilize private-sector skills and resources as needed."

Like any good leader, Agarwal knows the initiative depends on people more than hardware and software. "A number of consolidation challenges are not technological but surround people -- their interests, biases and perceptions of the right and wrong approaches to resolving issues," he said. "Getting past these differences is what presents most challenges to consolidation, and change through brute force almost always assures failure."

Agarwal's singular motivation is to allow customers to drive every aspect of business. "This is the sole reason we exist."
Chad Vander Veen

Chad Vander Veen is the former editor of FutureStructure.


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