The job description was enticing.
“Are you a seasoned leader in Information Technology?,’ it read. “Do you have the skill synergies capable of solving complex problems through the effective use of technology? Are you passionate that technology improves services for Connecticut residents and businesses?”
Then, the payoff line. “If so, the State of Connecticut’s Office of Policy and Management (OPM) has an exciting opportunity for you.”
Days later, Gov. Lamont announced the administration’s launch of a year-long process of building a new information technology organization within state government. The announcement was issued with Josh Geballe, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Administrative Services and the state’s chief operating officer.
The process to centralize the coordination of the state’s IT resources by the Department of Administrative Services is planned to progress throughout the year and result in an organization capable of delivering modern IT solution to support state agencies and the public, according to the Governor’s office.
The process aims to bring best practices to all state agencies, provide flexibility in the cross-training of employees, and ensure there is a pool of specialized experts at the ready to serve state agencies, rather than requiring a dedicated, smaller group of IT staff to individual agencies.
“From day one, our administration promised to streamline government services and make interacting with the residents of Connecticut much easier,” Lamont said. “Our state employees have accomplished amazing things with technology throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and this optimization process provides the resources and support to continue our progress.”
“This optimization is all a part of our broader efforts to modernize state government to better serve our residents,” Commissioner Geballe added. “To achieve our goal of providing services efficiently, the state needs to up out game in how we use technology. This change starts from the inside out, and we’re excited to continue this journey to improve the government experience for all of our residents.”
That effort, according to the job opening, extends to the Office of Policy and Management, the Governor’s budget office, via the new Information Technology Senior Policy Advisor To The Secretary position. That individual will be “responsible for a substantial portfolio of Information Technology Capital Investment Program investments which is currently $516 million dollars. Additionally, the position manages the statewide business intelligence systems/team (STARS) for its financial and human capital management systems (CORE-CT).”
Key components of the state government technology optimization, as announced days ago by the Governor, include:
• Allow the state to use newer technology and give the ability to update it more sustainably. (In the past, the state operated using unique technology solutions for agencies, rather than working towards common platforms that communicate across state agencies.)
- Improve cybersecurity: By having a centralized team and consolidated systems for the state workforce, potential threats can be improved. When everyone is working on fewer, more secure and updated platforms, risks are lowered.
- Help meet increased public demand for technology that is up-to-date and more convenient
- Create new opportunities for state employees: In the new IT organization, employees will have more opportunity for training, cross-training, and collaboration on new projects, creating a hub for professional development and the ability to work with and support multiple agencies. As the organization structure improves, there are always opportunities for promotion and advancement, as well.
- Help plan for the future: This plan will create an organization that will allow the state to identify gaps in services more quickly, understand what hires need to be made, and what advancements are possible within the current infrastructure.
Lamont is also urging the state legislature to approve House Bill 6444 – An Act Concerning the Modernization of State Services. Geballe testified on behalf of the Lamont administration, pointing out “People expect to be able to pay for transactions online and sign documents electronically and yet there remain statutory impediments to adopting these tools in state government. I am excited about the broad range of initiatives in this bill, which together make a significant impact on the way we do business at the state.” The proposed legislation would also further the Digital Government Initiative, the administration notes, by eliminating obstacles to the use of electronic services such as electronic fund transfers and e-signatures.
The overall IT optimization effort across state government underscores that “Technology is improving at a faster rate every day, and we need to make sure we have the most flexible and responsive IT organization possible in state government,” Mark Raymond, the state’s chief information officer, commented. “Our state agencies have incredibly talented IT staff, and under this new model we will be able to share that talent across state agencies and ensure they have access to more deploy skilled people all at the same time. I look forward to moving this project forward, and working closely with more of our state employees.”
Ultimately, the governor explained, with more effective IT support and improved IT systems, state employees will be able to bring more modern and meaningful solutions to the public and state agencies.