How New Mexico’s CIO ‘innovates the bureaucracy’

State chief information officers need to look at the bureaucracy in place before trying to modernize and innovate, New Mexico Chief Information Officer Darryl Ackley says.

“You have to understand the system and then you can start to innovate from that system,” Ackley says. “I think that’s a big push for us.”

Ackley says he is considering that kind of innovation in his state as he works to restructure the office of the chief information officer to “build a better synergy” between the enterprise service delivery function and the oversight function of state technology.

“Going back to our office of the CIO, how we’re rebuilding that [bureaucracy] is definitely a component in that,” Ackley says. “We’ve got to get better at that part of the innovation so we can do the technical innovation.”

But the challenge with shaking up the existing structure of an operation is ensuring that you have others on board, he says.

“The challenges there are any time you shake the snow globe up, you’re going to get a little bit of recalcitrants and some of those things,” he says.

Ackley attributes the positive reception he’s received in his modernization efforts so far to good policy and planning.

Indeed, governance, structure and policy remains among the top concerns and priorities for state chief information officers going into 2017. The National Association of State Chief Information Officers’ Top Ten for 2017 priorities list rated IT governance its sixth-highest priority. Enterprise vision and roadmap for IT ranked eighth.

“I think it’s humbling. It’s easy after almost six years to start to take it for granted, but it is humbling to recognize the role that I think all the CIOs have,” Ackley says. “We get involved in almost every aspect of government. It’s not just about technology, it’s a lot about making the business of the state and the welfare of our constituents better.”