Consolidating IT To Run State Agencies

By Carolyn Parnell, CIO, State Of Minnesota

Carolyn Parnell, CIO, State Of Minnesota

Technology trends like Social Media, Mobility and Cloud that have significant impact on business environment

In a consistent effort on the governor’s office, we see to it that the state has a very good presence in social media space. We constantly tweet or post on the Facebook the current events that the Governor’s office is involved into. When it comes to use of tablets and Smartphones, the devices are already ubiquitous in all the agencies of Minnesota State. While using them we follow the security standard set by the state. And as time goes on, as technology matures and changes we will continue to adjust our approach to mobility.

We are already into cloud technology; as it is part of our 2 years of multiyear IT consolidation effort. In 2011, new legislation consolidated all aspects of IT for agencies in Minnesota’s executive branch, called as MN.IT Services. It brought together the people, projects, infrastructure and applications which were previously divided among 70-plus agencies, boards and commissions. This reorganization was the largest in Minnesota’s state government in decades. The MN.IT Services offers high-quality, secure and cost-effective information technology to meet the business needs of government, foster innovation, and improve outcomes for the people of Minnesota.

Part of our strategy in that consolidation is to build our own cloud, and use all the modern cloud technological advancements that we can use. Though users don’t know about it, we deliver them services out of local cloud, as well as from other cloud service providers.

CIOs role in government transformational efforts

I have to go back to IT consolidation program that I already addressed before. IT in Minnesota has grown up agency by agency, and had a very fragmented approach. Everybody was making decision in isolation, and there was lot of duplication. So when we were charged with consolidation our IT infrastructure to become one IT agency, it truly affected business. For the first time we were able to measure IT, and we were able to inform all the agencies what IT services they are receiving, who have given that to them and, how much did it cost. We captured all this in service level agreement and we are the only state to it. If the needs of the agencies using the services change, the agreement gets changed too.

Pain points and wish list

Lot of our pain points have reduced by our IT consolidation. It also helped us in choosing technology by taking advantage the data we have about best of the multiple vendors. We are also fortunate to work with the governor who is putting a lot of efforts to see that government works as simple as possible for its citizens.

Nevertheless there is one pain point that I want to address. We want to see the continued investment in some of the legacy systems in the state. Like other states we have some system that are 30 to 40 years old, and we in the last budgets session has been given fair amount of project allowance to modernize, these legacy systems. So we are looking for the technology that can optimize these old systems for either web or mobile delivery.

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