California targets long-term sustainability with tech

With an innovation lab, virtual work environments, and procurement reform with 18F, California is advancing all the projects one would expect from the largest state IT office in the nation.

Encompassing everything is the state IT’s strategic plan, Cruz told StateScoop in a video interview at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers annual conference. In California that plan means organizational sustainability, and doing what it takes  to attract a younger generation of workers to state service. That’s why the state developed a virtual work environment for incoming employees, he said.

California IT is streamlining and standardizing its procurement lifecycle and giving their governance structure the accountability it needs to ensure the state’s mission of improved service delivery is realized. A partnership with 18F is assisting that goal, Cruz said.

Whatever the project, Cruz explained that his passion is in getting results.

“I think [it’s] being a passionate public servant, working for the people, ensuring that we’re providing customer-centric services that create efficiencies and effectiveness for government and also at a reduced cost,” Cruz said. “I’m a big believer that if we roll up technology to a centralized level or approach, we’re going to create efficiencies for services.”

The state also has several new websites. With the citizen in mind, the state recently launched a new website at that delivers information based on the visitor’s county. The state’s new innovation lab is the first of its kind, Cruz said, and their new open data portal is an important piece of their long-term strategy.