Leadership · Education · Networking

January 31, 2008 CIO Breakfast

Event Date and Time: 
Jan 31 2008 - 12:00pm

Summary of IPMA CIO Breakfast Meeting

January 31, 2008

The January CIO Breakfast sponsored by the IPMA was a forum for state agency CIO’s to hear from Representative Mark Ericks and Department of Information Services (DIS) Director Gary Robinson about the recommendations in the Legislature’s Information Technology Work Group Report and to ask questions about the repot. The meeting was moderated by Melissa Cook.


The 2007 Legislature’s review of proposed IT investments raised issues about budget efficiencies.

  • Is there a better way to fund IT investments?
  • What are other states doing?

These and similar questions led to the formation of the IT Work Group in late summer 2007. Representative Mark Ericks and Senator Dan Swecker co-chaired the group. A series of recommendations was developed by the group. Based on these recommendations a request has been put forward in the 2008 Legislature’s budget to continue the IT Work Group and retain a consultant to assist the Work Group in the further refinement and implementation of the recommendations.

DIS is working in parallel with the Work Group. The Work Group recommendations are following objectives of the administration. The two primary administration goals are to provide responsive service delivery to citizens and to combine data to meet the business needs. There is a need to measure performance. GMAP has been instrumental in bringing multiple agencies together to provide better service to citizens. Themes are comparable to initiatives in other states – Colorado, Michigan, New Mexico, Missouri, etc.

The following IT Work Group issues were discussed during the Breakfast session.

IT Model

IT is progressing toward a new model after years of working within the current model. Other states are also trying to develop a model for the next increment of time. It was pointed out that the current organizational model has been around for a long time and there are risks that the changes may produce some negative consequences to the state’s business objectives. We need to focus on a positive return to the business processes and services that IT supports. The IT Work Group feels that we must accept some risk and trust that we can achieve a long term vision with incremental positive gains.

Additional risks may be imposed by moving too fast on proposed IT model changes, however, experience in other states that speed of change (fast in Michigan, slower in Missouri) did not influence the success factor. It was the change that created concerns in both states.

Sharing Across Agencies / Working in Common

The proposed IT model suggests greater sharing / leveraging of infrastructure, applications and other IT resources among groups of agencies. This will save costs and provide affordable solutions to a greater number of agencies. For example, some “little agency projects” would benefit other agencies and could be shared.

Agency IT activity is tied to the agency strategic plan. There is concern that agencies will be stymied in achieving incremental improvements in service delivery (especially through small projects) in deference to larger projects that attempt to implement a solution that consolidates similar functions across many agencies. This approach could take longer and achieve less specific benefit to agencies. The current process typically measures costs and benefits to individual agencies to make good, economically sound decisions. The proposed model will require we think out of the box about different financial models. For example, what if tax payer money went to one place and agencies didn’t have to be concerned about paying?

One significant difficulty in sharing across agencies is the different state and federal rules, regulations and laws that require unique applications in agencies. A new model will require looking at streamlining government and eliminating the many variances – i.e., do things more in common. That’s the way success will be achieved.

New Data Center

DIS is currently moving to implement a new data center. This provides a big opportunity to better share this significant new investment in IT infrastructure and common services. It will be designed to handle current data center requirements and future growth. It’s important to figure out how to utilize the data center. The IT funding pool has criteria and conditions of approval. Decisions about where to hosts existing and new servers will need to consider the new data center. Agencies may feel that cost effectiveness and/or service effectiveness will be sacrificed. Working together cooperatively will help overcome these issues and achieve additional benefits (such as dealing with climate change issues caused by the current model).

Going Forward

The IT Work group recommendations are moving forward. Many of the recommendations are built upon actions already initiated by the administration. The legislature provided resources for the portfolio of projects. This will provide better information across agencies, similar to the business portal providing common solution. Other recommendations require additional study.

The budget includes a consultant who will work on particular recommendations. The consultant will be selected by the IT Work Group as an independent advisor and will be responsive to the IT Work Group as they work through the details of the recommendations.

For the current budgeting process, agencies should follow the OFM issued budget instructions closely, paying attention to enterprise services, agency strategic plan, and the IT Work Group recommendations.

For the current budgeting process, agencies should follow the OFM issued budget instructions closely, paying attention to enterprise services, agency strategic plan, and the IT Work Group recommendations.

CIO Involvement

Washington State IT is under heightened attention and this is an opportunity to find new solutions to improve the effectiveness of IT costs and services. Agency CIOs want to be and feel they need to be involved in the on-going IT Work Group deliberations to find new solutions. The state CIO is involved in the IT Work Group and some of the recommendations are already being implemented as part of the administration’s overall goals. The administration is committed to moving down the outlined path.

There is a commitment to having a role for agency CIOs. There is a need to involve people who are directly affected and who can think out of the box and have common goals. The decision is still open on how CIO participation is going to be implemented. The IT Work Group welcomes input. Input can be provided to the IT Work Group at their public meetings or through Rep. Ericks office and through State CIO Gary Robinson, or other IT Work Group members.