Idaho Chief Information Officer Greg Zickau has been working with technology for close to 40 years. Prior to taking on his current role, Zickau served in the United States Air Force, where he was responsible for “just about all information technology on an airbase.”
When Zickau retired from the Air Force in 2004, he began work as a state policy analyst, climbing the ranks to become Idaho’s IT leader in 2008. Today, he holds the distinction of the longest-serving state chief information officer.
As CIO, Zickau has set out to consolidate Idaho’s IT apparatus by absorbing other state agencies’ staff and infrastructure. Through that process, he’s quadrupled his staff and centralized several IT services.
The consolidation has progressed alongside some significant modernization initiatives in which legacy systems have been upgraded and practices have been standardized. Case in point is a centralized data center brought online in 2019, which united backups from five agencies in one place and offered full redundancy.
Most new hires for the consolidated organization came from the agencies that were absorbed. The overall goal was to make state IT more efficient, but central IT also added capabilities: Zickau’s department now has data analysts who will help the state use data to make better policy decisions. The state CTO takes an enterprise view of technology architecture, Zickau added.
“We’re no longer operating as a series of small businesses; we’re now operating like a state government,” he said, adding that they have also enhanced security oversight.
Zickau points to the importance of relationship building as consolidation continues, with about 14 agencies to go.
“We want to continue to look at where we can find efficiency and how we can translate those efficiencies into increased value,” he said. “We are still in the process of building relationships with those agencies so that they see us as a trusted partner. That’s definitely a goal for us.”
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