November 30, 2008 By Andy Opsahl
Photo: Indiana CIO Gerry Weaver
A quip that rings true is that IT management should be more of a dictatorship than a democracy. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels' 2005 executive order creating a state CIO position and the Indiana Office of Technology (IOT) embodied that philosophy. The office overhauled the state's technology landscape, consolidating IT infrastructure -- such as the network, e-mail, payroll and help desk -- across 70 agencies. That enabled the IOT to consolidate purchasing for those functions and reorganize hardware. As a result, the state saves more than $14 million annually, said Indiana CIO Gerry Weaver.
"When the governor started this, he gave us the authority -- you might say dictatorial powers -- to drive cost savings and improve performance," Weaver said.
Before the consolidation, agencies ran their own IT, leading to costly, disparate systems.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.