Monday, November 9, 2009

Massachusetts Information Technology -- State Legislature

Massachusetts state government and Governor Deval Patrick has under taken an initiative to merge all state agencies under one umbrella. The key person in this project would be the chief information technology officer for the state.

The CIO would help merge the MA highway department, public transit, RMV, and Aeronautics under the Executive Office of Transportation. The EOT budget was projected at 20 million which also over sees 3000 agencies.  One of the key duties for the CIO was working with the Information Technology Division and Federal funding sources to identify and secure financial resources needed to support IT initiatives

Once of the keys to merging agencies involved the state’s effort to move towards open document format (ODF) with in executive branch agencies. Transforming IT operations for 3000 agencies is a huge investment that the state appears not ready to make. The last two CIO have resigned as a result of the “Massachusetts Legislature's decision not to fund most of the state's IT projects”.

During the last three years, battle lines have been drawn over the direction of digit document format.  Both former CIO’S have decided to go with ODF, XML based format using a variety or products including IBM workplace and StarOffice.  The decision to not use Microsoft’s digital format resulted in opposition from Microsoft, legislators, government officials, and special interest group.

I was interested in tracking this project as I assisted in locating person to fill CIO position for the state of Ma. They key to project management is, the person or people running the project and associated funding. If either of these two variables are lacking, chance of success are diminished greatly.

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