Secretary and CIO, North Carolina
Eric Boyette is a focused IT leader. After his appointment as North Carolina’s chief information officer in 2017, he declared that his top three IT priorities would be cybersecurity, procurement and innovation.
Since taking over as CIO, Boyette has doubled the size of the state’s cybersecurity training program for disabled veterans, expanded it to admit all veterans and forged regular channels of communication with North Carolina counties to collaborate on IT projects. To streamline the procurement process, he worked to consolidate contracts into larger ones that cover more of the state’s procurement landscape and appointed a team to review procurements up front, reducing the number of people who work with them and making it simpler for agencies, universities and local governments to mount those contracts. His staff is also creating an internal chatbot — NCOLAS, North Carolina Online Assistance Service — for IT department employees, saving HR, finance and other personnel the hassle of interruptions and allowing staff to have their questions answered promptly. He hopes to make this available to other agencies and even citizens in the future.
Boyette also helped launch MyNCDMV, a Web and mobile portal to simplify vehicle registration transactions, oversaw a $10 million broadband expansion called the GREAT (Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology) Grant Program, and piloted a digital library that rented out wireless routers to students who needed Internet access at home. To foster innovation going forward and share best practices across departments, Boyette established Communities of Practice, in which agencies work with the Department of Information Technology on research, information sharing and other operational improvements.
Boyette said the 21st century has seen IT become a strategic partner in government at the cabinet level. Technology is more than services along with buying and fixing computers, he pointed out. Transformation is just beginning. “It’s been great to watch, and figure out ways to help it grow,” he said.