Michigan CIO looks to continue building powerful, efficient citizen services

Michigan Chief Information Officer Dave DeVries has been in his role for less than four months, but he already sees citizen service delivery as one of his top priorities.

“All of us have to go and register our cars, get our driver’s license, do medical things — how can we do more and more of that online?” DeVries says in a video interview with StateScoop. “From an IT perspective, how do we do that securely? How do I do that more cost effectively? How do I do that ubiquitously, providing it to the citizens there?”

DeVries was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder in August, filling a role left vacant by former state CIO David Behen. DeVries calls the new role a “closer to home “ version of what he did in his previous roles at the U.S. Department of Defense and Office of Personnel Management.

“This is nothing more than a grand extension,” DeVries says. “It’s a great fit.”

In addition to improving and upgrading citizen services, DeVries says innovation will continue to be a big piece of Michigan’s strategy.

“We are continually looking at innovative technologies, as well as processes and procedures that are coming out there to bring into the state itself,” DeVries says. “Part of that is utilizing what is being done in the R&D side of the house, as well as academia.”

With innovative and emerging technologies, DeVries says states have a great opportunity to band together and minimize the risk of failure — and save money for government.

“Sometimes we do projects with other people’s money and other people’s ideas. That’s where the states can band together and we can share things,” DeVries says. “If I created a neat app that consumes data, and we could find the same things in other states, then let’s share that, rather than each of us having to build that whole thing.”

Ultimately, DeVries says the key piece of the next year is bringing more apps and services directly to the citizen.

“[We’re working on] what I would call a single sign-on, so that as a citizen, I don’t need to go and put in a password or two-factor authentication for every single site that I go to,” DeVries says. “We got a great program started for that, and we’re going to make a lot of progress on that this coming year.”