Ex-Microsoft manager discusses his transition to state CIO.
Bharat Shyam was appointed CIO of Washington state in November 2011, after working 18 years for Microsoft. He’s in the midst of overhauling the state’s technology governance structure and how Washington invests in new technology.
The biggest difference is how public everything is. I went from being a person who spent his entire career building products and services to someone whose primary responsibility is to buy the right products. The diversity of what someone in a large IT organization role has to think about was a big revelation for me in terms of how much is going on everywhere.
I can always pick a set of areas where I can contribute immediately even as I am learning about areas [that] I don’t know much about. That is technology, but in terms of interacting with people, there is something new to learn every day.
IT financial management [systems]. We did a substantial review of everything that is available and have identified a vendor that we are in the final stages of writing a contract with.
Another area where we are making some progress is experimenting with cloud platforms. We are actively looking at Microsoft Office 365 as a solution for our email, and I will very likely have some of our agencies on it. [But] we have not signed a contract yet.
We built out more data center space than necessary and this was primarily because of lack of awareness of the way virtualization increases [both] the density and the need for data center space. The short answer is, in this calendar year we’ll be utilizing the data center.