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Pennsylvania's CIO Brings Private-Sector Perspective

John MacMillan's work on both sides of the aisle allows him to harness public- and private-sector experience while leading IT for the state.

John MacMillan’s return to the public sector comes after spending nearly 19 years with IBM where he worked with numerous states, including Ohio, on its data center consolidation strategy. Appointed CIO of Pennsylvania in March, MacMillan says he’ll lean on his diverse background, which includes everything from application development and project management to data center operations. And his work on both sides of the aisle (having worked for the Canadian government before joining IBM in 1996) allows him to harness public- and private-sector experience while leading IT for Pennsylvania.
“I think my time in the private sector gives me a different perspective in this tour of duty in public service,” MacMillan said, “and I’m really looking forward to having an impact when it comes to optimizing our programs.”

One of his first orders of business has been to update and streamline the IT organization’s strategic focus — and MacMillan is quick to emphasize that it’s a strategic focus, not a plan. Once the focus areas are identified, they’ll be turned into a plan.

Key items on his agenda include creating an organization that works around strategic measurements, expanding governance processes including IT Infrastructure Library-based service management, optimizing data center infrastructure projects and developing relationships with local academic organizations to improve workforce recruiting.
“I’m a big believer in project management tools and techniques,” he said. “So one of the things that we’re working on here is driving a measurement-oriented organization, so that we can demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiencies of our programs.”

MacMillan also would like to see all levels of government optimize the way they work together so that funding can be redirected into programs that serve citizens. Areas ripe for leveraging investments made at the federal, state and local levels include health and human services, law enforcement and education. And that’s the legacy he hopes to leave as Pennsylvania’s IT chief: “New levels of cooperation is what I’m looking to achieve.”