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California's CIO Outlines Projects, Progress

December 15, 2005 By

"We have turned the corner and are making rapid progress on quite a few fronts," began California State CIO Clark Kelso yesterday, as he keynoted the Best of California Conference in Sacramento. Kelso provided a long list of projects -- from laptop encryption to service-oriented architecture, new strategic sourcing initiatives and a revamp of the state's Web portal -- that are under way or are coming up. His edited remarks follow.

Clark Kelso

We don't have a giant IT budget anywhere, we don't have a giant IT governance structure in place, nevertheless we are moving forward and have had a lot of good IT procurement this year. Just before the State of the State, we had a very nice joint licensing of a Computer Associates product with Franchise Tax Board, and Department of Technology Services, that was a better than a best-in-class contract according to our third-party reviewer. We now have a shared cooperative license with Microsoft -- it's an extraordinarily good enterprise-volume purchase, that all departments have access to, based on a contract worked out for Riverside County. It's an extraordinarily good opportunity for the state, and a sign that we really are back on track with IT procurement.

The way this contract works, you have to buy a certain number of seats to get the benefits -- something like 20-25, and you have to buy 100 more to get a few other benefits. But you can join departments to aggregate their purchases to get up to those levels. So I'm going to be sponsoring a meeting of all departments who are interested in participating in a single joint-aggregate purchase. We'll do that over at the Department of General Services, I suspect, and see if we can't help out the smaller departments that really can benefit from that contract.

We recently concluded enterprise-server strategic sourcing, and we're continuing to see good benefits out of the strategic sourcing project, and DTS is now looking at how we can provide service to departments in the area of legacy conversion. So there's a lot of good procurement activities.

Human resources issues have been one of our big strategic areas, we have now gone from a lot of planning, to having top executive sponsorship of our HR efforts. We're making fantastic progress on the classification and testing projects, and are having very positive discussions with all stakeholders, including representatives of the union. I can actually see this happening sometime next year. The Department of Personnel Administration is undertaking a compensation survey, IT is part of that. We have a number of departments looking at succession planning, and I'm hopeful that as a few of those succession plans are completed, I'm going to be able to share those with all departments so you can see how the next department is doing.

In cabinet-level discussions, the IT community is recognized as being ahead of everybody else in addressing most of these issues -- classification, testing, succession planning -- a testament to all the great work that you all are doing.

As to security, we have some policy developments to work through with the Department of Finance, and the IT Council Security Committee, most recently with encryption. We had a positive legislative hearing dealing with encryption on laptops. Positive because all of you responded to a drill we had on laptops with who has a laptop and what's on it. And, because we have the good judgment to get ahead of the encryption issues. There are still going to be some implementation issues.

Our IT acquisition committee is meeting this week to begin discussions on how we can do a strategic sourcing

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