Connecticut’s technology can transform civic life, says CIO

To hear it from Connecticut Chief Information Officer Mark Raymond, his state faces quintessential IT challenges.

Cybersecurity is the top priority and budget cuts are the biggest challenge. Getting executive buy-in is more the agency’s job than dealing with “bits and bytes,” he said. It’s the same story happening across the nation as state technology heads look toward 2017.

Though this will all sound familiar for any public-sector technology leader, some of the IT department’s tasks are new to them, Raymond told StateScoop in a video interview at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers in September.

“The challenges around [reporting on the status of the state] is basically trying to deal directly with the public on issues that are somewhat complex,” Raymond said. “We’re a service agency, we provide services to other agencies. Actually doing something in the public eye and reaching out directly to the public is new for us.”

But the technology department’s voyage into new waters could also yield a bounty, Raymond said.

“We’re at a point where we can transform how we deliver services,” he said. “Day-to-day and then the lives of our citizens, connecting the dots and making it easier for government to do business with is what technology is poised to do and I think — CIOs in general — but us in Connecticut [also] have a central role to play in that, educating our agencies and making solutions available to the public.”

And they’re doing it all on a shoestring budget, he said.

“Ten percent cost reductions is a scary thing,” Raymond said. “We’re adding that on top of several years of 7 [percent], 8 percent reductions. That is a challenge. Cost takeout on top of innovation is a difficult challenge even in the most well-funded organizations. So for us, that will continue to be our biggest challenge.”