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Accelerate Illinois’ Modernization: Department of Innovation and Technology Becomes a Reality

DoIT will bring 1,700 IT professionals under one organization to provide high-value, customer-centric solutions to Illinois through executive branch agencies.

by Hardik Bhatt, CIO, Illinois / March 31, 2016

Editor's note: This 30-day blog focused on Illinois' IT modernization was originally published on LinkedIn, and is republished here with permission.

On January 25, 2016, the Governor signed an executive order creating the Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) and merging IT resources of 38 departments into this new department. DoIT will bring 1,700 IT professionals under one organization and its prime goal will be to provide high-value, customer centric solutions to Illinois through executive branch agencies. With bipartisan legislative support for this action, DoIT became a reality on March 28th, 2016.

Yesterday, Governor Rauner and I hosted press at State's Central Computing Facility (CCF) in Springfield to discuss formation of DoIT. We were joined by Illinois Department of Corrections Director John Baldwin and Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations Secretary Bryan Schneider.

Here's the link to the video of yesterday's event:

Here are a couple of links to media coverage on the event:

FOX Illinois: Governor Touts New Improvements Within Government

The Southern – Dan Petrella: Governor touts IT improvements throughout state

We had been preparing for this day for a year. When this administration took over last year, we found technology in multiple silos, with inconsistent cybersecurity practices, with out of balance cost structure and with insufficient focus on taxpayer Return on Investment.

Our oldest system dated back to 1974 and we wanted to carry out major digital transformation of Illinois by 2019. Technology can be treated as either a commodity or an incredible catalyst for change. Governor Rauner saw technology’s value as a major transformational agent. So we embarked on our 45 years’ journey and we wanted to cover as much as we could within 4 years.

This effort stands on 4 key transformational pillars:

Cultural Transformation: We are working hard to create a culture of collaboration and keeping an eye on Taxpayer Return on any future technology investment. We are seeing fruits of this work already.

Operational Transformation: With 420 systems managing our finance, procurement, HR, etc and close to 3,000 systems across the enterprise, it is no surprise that we have inconsistent operating procedures that varies from agency to agency. While technology transformation is critical, operational transformation, led by it will bring even more efficiency.

You read yesterday in Jennifer Ricker's blog: The process of creating a voucher to purchase a paper clip touches 4 different systems, requires someone to manually key in information in 3 of those 4 systems and requires someone to run a tape to the 4th agency. This is extremely inefficient. The new ERP system, going live this fall with first 4 agencies, will eliminate these inefficiencies.

Customer Service Transformation: As you read in Deputy Governor Trey Childress' blog, an Illinois taxpayer – a resident or a business –should not be burdened with sorting out complexities of the Government. But the way our technology is built, a customer has to provide the same information multiple times, we have extremely limited presence on Mobile, which is the most favored platform for the majority and we are providing extremely inconsistent end-to-end customer service experience. We have began the process of changing that and a well-structured technology organization, DoIT, will create a seamless customer experience for all government verticals. You heard an example of that from Secretary Schneider's announcement about digitizing 1.2M business licenses in Illinois.

Organizational Transformation: In order to carry out the three pillars of transformation mentioned above, we have to create a well-structured technology organization that thinks of the State of Illinois as an enterprise and taxpayers as its customers. Governor’s action and legislature’s bipartisan support for creating DoIT is the most critical step for a successful digital transformation of the state.

Over the next three months, we will complete the new organization structure, new governance structure, establish the right leadership – all while continuing to deliver on key customer-focused transformations, like what you just heard in the above video from Secretary Schneider and Director Baldwin. This will allow us to provide better training and career opportunities to 1,700 IT professionals, where we have found great pockets of innovation and a latent desire to solve major puzzles and bring us to the 21st century.

Thank you once again, Governor, for your vision and continued executive support for Illinois’ digital transformation.

Tomorrow, we will wrap up the 30-day blog (which became a 32-day blog) with a summary of everything and next steps.

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