Identity management ‘foundational’ for service delivery, Washington CIO says

As Washington state government seeks to consolidate identity and access management for its own employees, it’s also starting to extend that convenience to the residents it provides digital services.

Simplifying the identity portion of a user’s online interaction with the state is a “foundational item” in Washington, state Chief Information Officer Jim Weaver tells StateScoop in a recent video interview.

“If you think about in your personal experience, you can be an employee, you could be a resident, you could be a small business owner,” Weaver says. “And really, fundamentally, what we’re debating right now and investigating is those three separate identities or your one individual as that one identity.”

Providing a modern log-in experience for the state’s users is aligned with a move generally in Washington to more modern platforms. Weaver says a big part of the state’s modernization efforts include decommissioning services that have been traditionally provided by the state and instead brokering more cloud-based services provided via third parties.

Weaver says the state is also seeking to allow its residents to access services by logging in via existing credentials, such as a Gmail or social media account.

“And then how can we leverage that identity across state, local, county, municipal, all levels of government so a resident in the state of Washington doesn’t have to figure out ‘I’m engaging with this entity and I need to use this type of credential,’” Weaver says.

Identity and access management is not just a priority in Washington state, but it’s also a top priority for state CIOs across the country, according to the National Association of State Chief Information Officers’ 2019 list of top 10 priorities.

Weaver on his top priorities and projects:

“We’re looking at a number of IT services that we’re going to look to decommission in a service provider role and actually either transition or transform those services to cloud-based opportunities.”

Weaver on digital transformation and modernization:

“What can we begin to do different to benefit the residents in the state of Washington?”

Weaver on how he sees his role changing in the future:

“Well, today we’re a service provider. We’re starting to do the transformation to become a service broker.”

These videos were produced by StateScoop at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers’ annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee, in October 2019 and are presented by Cloudera and Intel.