State and local governments often have to make the decision between procuring computer systems or building them in-house, but one philosophy that’s stuck with Montana CIO Tim Bottenfield is that IT modernization isn’t “one-size-fits-all.”
Montana began the process of retiring its legacy mainframe for an entirely cloud-based environment several years ago, and it will have a new suite of digital services beginning in 2021 as the state ends a 10-year contract with its current vendor. But when the state hired a new vendor to supply an enterprise content management system three years ago, Bottenfield realized it wouldn’t be sufficient to give agencies with different missions and responsibilities only one choice of platform.
“So we took steps in terms of an enterprise solution to roll out a second solution, so the agencies have a choice,” Bottenfield said. “Ultimately, the one solution will be a cloud service and one will be on-premise.”
Bottenfield also determined that a “one-size-fits-all” wouldn’t satisfy the state’s hiring requirements for IT staff, who are often able to fetch higher salaries in the private sector and aren’t plentiful in low-population states like Montana. To connect agencies with the IT talent they need, Bottenfield has let agencies specialize and tailor their IT roles to the person they’re hiring.