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Delaware CIO Talks Recruiting, Single Sign-On and Generative AI

As Delaware confronts some of the perennial — and growing — problems that face state government, it’s turning to cloud transitions and identity management while developing new guidance.

Workforce strains. Cyber threats. Rapidly evolving emerging tech.

As Delaware confronts some of the perennial — and growing — problems that face state government, it’s turning to cloud transitions, identity management and developing new guidance. Forty percent of the IT department is eligible to retire within the next five years, and Delaware is in the midst of developing a strategy to compensate, said CIO Greg Lane.

One piece focuses on retaining institutional knowledge, including getting longtime employees to document their approaches.

“A lot is written down, but many things take place because people just know what to do, they’ve always known what to do, they’ve been here 20-plus years,” Lane said.

Delaware is also looking to entice a new wave of recruits, including internships that introduce them to the government environment. Lane himself transitioned from private to public sector and said he was pleasantly surprised to find that “lots of exciting technology and work takes place in state government as well.”  Lane also hopes to add new entry level and associate positions soon so recruits can onboard while seasoned staff are still around to give advice.

Still, the skill set is changing, and today’s new college graduates are likely uneager to work on mainframe technology. That’s one reason the state is working to move its mainframe from its data center to the cloud — one piece of a larger modernization effort.

With cybersecurity also top of mind, Delaware’s Department of Technology and Information (DTI) is working to ensure it’s carefully monitoring employees’ accounts and access privileges, from the time of onboarding through departure. As the state moves toward a zero-trust approach, it’s adopting the principle of least privilege, in which it limits employees’ administrative access to only what’s necessary for the task at hand, rather than granting access more widely.

Identity management is also a big part of customer experience. DTI currently offers single sign-on for internal use by employees. This is being expanded to more applications, with plans that call for eventually providing single sign-on to residents and visitors as well.

All that is part of a larger project to ultimately create a single portal where residents and visitors can get selected services from across agencies. The portal's payment capability is debuting this year and will allow residents to view payments histories from different agencies in one spot.

“In the coming years, I hope this continues and grows, and will just get more enriched with the ability to order more services, hopefully, send reminders and do lots of neat things that will make the digital experience for residents and visitors sort of next generation,” Lane said.

Like many states, Delaware is also dealing with the evolution of AI. Agencies are developing their own individual policies and use cases, and DTI aims to help by developing education and guidance about responsible, safe use of the tech. The department also intends to promote and support adoption of use cases it identifies as helpful. The policy is likely to address AI in general, while focusing heavily on generative AI.

"I don't think we'll be able to make a blanket statement that covers and mandates the use of AI across the board," Lane said. "One thing's for sure: Just saying ‘no’ is not the direction that Delaware or any state is going … . Early on, we're going to try to put some policies and guidance — I wouldn’t say standards at this point — out from a central IT perspective."
Jule Pattison-Gordon is a senior staff writer for Government Technology. She previously wrote for PYMNTS and The Bay State Banner, and holds a B.A. in creative writing from Carnegie Mellon. She’s based outside Boston.