How Wisconsin puts IT modernization in the context of future needs

When Wisconsin CIO David Cagigal thinks about where his state is investing dollars into technology projects, he brings his private sector experience to the table.

Before joining state government in 2012, Cagigal lead information technology for Alliant Energy — Madison, Wisconsin’s public utility company. In that role, he says, he was responsible for knowing and being responsible for the technology portfolio “to the dollar.”

“They knew what their capital investment was,” Cagigal says in a video interview. “Application portfolios are a significant investment by any entity that is running applications on a system — they should know how much that is, line by line.”

The same approach applies to state government, he says.

“One of my pet peeves is we go 12 months to 12 months to 12 months patching and accommodating short-term visions with the application portfolio,” Cagigal says. “[Now], we are trying to cost out what our applications are [and] begin to understand the modernization strategies.”

In Wisconsin state government, some of those modernization efforts are relatively new, while others have been in the works for decades. Because of that disparity, CIOs need to think broader than just year by year, Cagigal says.

“If you’re going to look out 12 months, you can’t fix it in 12 months,” Cagigal says. “You should have some strategies in place to say ‘what are you going to do this 12 months in the context of future needs?'”

Only by putting the application portfolio into context with a longer term vision can technology leaders really approach modernization in an effective way, Cagigal says.

“[When I say modernization], I don’t mean changing it line for line,” Cagigal says. “It’s basically re-engineering the function, the basic function of the application and what it’s intended to do — taking advantage of mobility, taking advantage of engagement of the citizens, taking advantages of operating and the effectiveness of operations.”

Cagigal on his top priorities going forward:

Cagigal on his greatest accomplishment in 2018:

Cagigal on changes in technology going forward:

These videos were produced by StateScoop at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers’ annual conference in San Diego, California, in October 2018.