Wisconsin CIO Matt Miszewski, One of Government Technology's 25 'Doers Dreamers and Drivers'

'We no longer think that we can't perform at the same level or better than the private sector. We no longer think of ourselves as a small enterprise only made up of Cabinet agencies'

Since being appointed CIO in March 2003, Matt Miszewski has built a long list of credits.

He implemented an "extended enterprise" approach to IT management, which makes local governments direct partners with the state in major IT projects. Miszewski coordinated efforts to reduce IT-related spending across state agencies by $40 million for the 2003-2005 biennium. And as division administrator for the Wisconsin Division of Enterprise Technology, he implemented initiatives that save an additional $30 million per year at state and local levels.

Miszewski thrives on what he calls a different yet more compelling bottom line than what exists in the private sector. "In the private sector, the bottom line is well defined and easy to articulate -- profit," he said. "The bottom line for us is simply different, harder to define, difficult to measure but far more compelling."

He said the public-sector bottom line is about working toward stronger families, healthy kids, great schools, better health care, a better economy and a sustainable fiscal picture for state government.

"Waking up every morning and understanding that the trials and tribulations of the day are all aimed at accomplishing that bottom line makes the work not only enjoyable but energizing."

The challenges are great in state government, and one of Wisconsin's biggest upcoming is deploying a single ERP system for the state. "We have over 52 different agencies and boards, which have grown accustomed to differing business practices and systems to support these practices," Miszewski said. "In cases where those practices are aimed at the same business function, we will have to harmonize the process throughout state government."

That will be an enormous challenge but one that Wisconsin has a head start on, Miszewski said.

"We will address it by listening actively to the incredible wealth of subject matter from experts throughout our enterprise, have them take the actual lead on the project, have them drive the change and simply overwhelm the buy-in problem," Miszewski said. "We started with gathering and analyzing the data, and building a solid business case upfront."

For government in general, the biggest challenge on the horizon is learning how to increase the pace with which they adapt to a changing environment, Miszewski said. "All organizations change and adapt, but government has always remained at a slower pace to increase stability in our society."

A key to government adapting and increasing the pace with which it responds to changes, he said, is to change the thought paradigm in government. "We no longer think that we can't perform at the same level or better than the private sector," Miszewski said. "We no longer think of ourselves as a small enterprise only made up of Cabinet agencies."

Congratulations to this year's group of "Doers, Dreamers and Drivers," who appear in the March issue of Government Technology magazine.
Jim McKay, Justice and Public Safety Editor Justice and Public Safety Editor