Network rebid sets stage for collaboration with academia in Mississippi

The state's chief information officer says an effort to rebid the state’s network architecture has opened up a new opportunity for collaboration.

Jake Williams
Jake Williams Associate Publisher & Director of Strategic Initiatives

Jake Williams is currently the Associate Publisher & Director of Strategic Initiatives for StateScoop, based in Washington, D.C., where h...

Mississippi's efforts to rebid its entire network has opened doors to more collaboration among agencies — and beyond — Mississippi Chief Information Officer Craig Orgeron told StateScoop in April.

“We’ve invited the universities, community colleges, schools, libraries to the table to make that re-bid,” Orgeron says. “That’s a big deal. Connectivity is a big deal in our state.”

The move to include academia in those efforts, Orgeron says, is essential with the rise of the digital classroom and online community efforts underway nationally.

“There’s a lot of technology that you can enable in that space,” Orgeron says.

Under Mississippi code, the CIO says he has the ability to convene an advisory board to help strategize next steps — something he did when considering the network rebid. That board included members of academia and other state agencies, and was modeled after similar advisory boards and councils to tackle cloud computing and cybersecurity.

“We seat these people around the table, and we have spent the better part of eight months asking, ‘Where can we go together?’” Orgeron says. “That’s part of the code in my enabling statute I love, because it allows me to say, ‘Hey, you know, let’s really think about where this state needs to go.’”

That collaborative effort results in a unified vision, Orgeron says, which helps coordinate efforts statewide — especially with big projects that touch all areas of government in the state.

“We want to create those visions,” he says. “We want to be about enabling the agencies to accomplish their mission for the citizens of the state. That’s where we keep our eye focused.”

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