July 10, 2007 By Wayne Hanson
Photo: Larry Olson
Michael Moore, former CIO of San Diego, Calif.; and Larry Olson, formerly chief technology officer (CTO) for the State of Texas and Pennsylvania's first Chief Information Officer, have joined TPI, a sourcing advisory firm.
Moore, as CIO for the County of San Diego, was responsible for operational and strategic information technology providing services to 18,000 county employees at more than 200 facilities. He led the transformation of the county's IT infrastructure, installed a set of enterprisewide standards and implemented IT governance around an enterprise-focused set of IT guiding principles. Prior to joining the county, Moore was a corporate vice president at Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), where he managed the state and local information technology practice.
As the State of Texas' first CTO and executive director for the Texas Department of Information Resources, Olson created a collaborative shared vision for technology by working across organizational and state, federal and local government boundaries to promote common interests and champion business and technological innovation. He re-engineered his agency with a strong focus on information and communications technology (ICT) planning, security and service delivery. In his prior role as Pennsylvania's CIO, he transformed the state's ICT operations into a streamlined public enterprise and saved more than $200 million for the state.
Olson talked to Government Technology yesterday, saying his new role will be to focus on excellence in the public sector and to "help look at opportunities to strengthen the public enterprise."
From his experience in Pennsylvania and Texas, said Olson, the best way to begin is to build a business case, which begins with a strong assessment. That most often begins with a method to identify and compare costs across the enterprise. "Each agency," he said, "may have a different way of reporting costs." Next, he said, is assessing the existing performance levels and building a business case for consolidating into an enterprise shared-services environment -- "what can we achieve in enhancements if we do this as one enterprise?"
In Pennsylvania, he said, the state partnered with Canada, and the objective was to leverage Gov. Ridge's e-learning initiative -- "to learn from Canada and leverage that knowledge to make Link-to-Learn even stronger."
A strong business case must be in good business English, said Olson, and understandable to the Legislature, the Governor's Office, the agencies and anyone that will help you make a decision. It should lay out what plan makes the most sense to support the goals of your state or locality. And finally, said Olson, you must collaborate and communicate. "You cannot do this from a top-down perspective, you have to do it collaboratively, and communicate to all the stakeholders.
"There are too many failures in the past," he said which began with: "'I have the authority I'm going to do it and you're all going to have to like it.' That doesn't work."
Projects in Pennsylvania and Texas, he said, collaborated with all the end users, and really made sure they were part of the decision-making process from the outset. "Carry it all the way through," said Olson. "Collaborate with the vendor community too. Make sure that you get their input, there are good strong ideas coming from the vendor community -- Outsourced or insourced, it doesn't matter, communicate, communicate, communicate, to the IT organization and the business leaders of your government community. Make sure they understand what's going on, why it's going on and what's happening in the future."
Olson said that "competitive sourcing" is essential for procurement, whether it is for PCs, telecom, desktop services, etc. "In Texas," he said, "80 percent of the revenues that DIR had came from non-state government. They came from K-12 and local governments. So you always need to look for ways to leverage agreements other entities, local governments, universities, K-12, between states, state and local government or the federal governments. Leverage every resource you have to go further and faster with less."
"We are pleased to have executive practitioners of Mike's and Larry's knowledge and experience join TPI," said Ed Glotzbach, president and CEO of TPI, in a company release. "These industry-recognized leaders will provide our public-sector clients leading-edge vision and practical guidance on overcoming challenges within their operating environments and making realistic changes in transforming their organizations. It's a growing need for which we are positioned to provide innovative advice."
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.