12 actions Illinois’ CIO Hardik Bhatt took to try to transform tech in government

Commentary: Illinois CIO Hardik Bhatt outlines how he went beyond just hardware and software to transform the way his state handles technology.

Editor’s Note: This post originated from a daily blog that appears on Illinois CIO Hardik Bhatt’s LinkedIn page. Throughout March, StateScoop will post an abridged compilation of Bhatt’s blog each week.

Changing government technology is more than just moving hardware, software or people. It is about moving minds.

In Illinois, We focused on 12 different actions, staged over time were designed to encourage collaboration, externalize the enterprise and direct our state toward innovation:

  • CIO Council — We brought together more than 60 agency CIOs to share education, best practices and solve problems.
  • CEO Speakers series — We brought in high-level private sector executives, including the CEOs of Orbitz and Chicago startup incubator 1871, to lead discussions with our agency CIOs on new topics.
  • External site visits — Many of our agency CIOs visited the innovation centers of Illinois corporations.
  • CIO Working Groups — Eleven working groups made up of agency CIOs created enterprise strategies and action plans on analytics, mobile, cloud, GIS, cybersecurity and more.
  • Centers of Excellence —  Two of our working groups evolved into Centers of Excellence, or virtual teams of experts that share best practices, tools and assets.
  • Entrepreneur Showcase — We gave startups a chance to present to agency CIOs at CIO Council meetings.
  • Office of the CIO — We integrated several key agency CIOs into an office to focus on specific enterprise functions and teams.
  • Enterprise Performance Management — We implemented performance management for the central IT division.
  • Innovation Process — One of our groups began working on a process to build from innovation at “the edge” and bring it into state government as a whole.
  • University Partnerships — Through partnerships with Illinois universities, we hosted workshops, developed the talent pipeline and leveraged research projects.
  • Strategic Advisory Boards — We built two advisory boards with leaders from the private sector, academia and nonprofit sector to advise on key technology-infused transformation areas.
  • Leadership Development Program — We are gearing up to launch the first CIO and top IT leadership development program at this month’s CIO Council meeting.

We no longer live in a time of a smooth sailing with occasional short bursts of whitewater. It is all whitewater all the time. These collaborative communities effectively create and sustain meaningful change during a time of turbulence.

Government, just like private sector organizations, faces increasing pressure to respond and adapt to change. Illinois as a whole, and the technology organization in particular, faces a long road of complex and disruptive changes to meet rising customers’ expectations and new technology opportunities.

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