‘Intentionality’ key to service delivery in Minnesota, CIO says

Minnesota CIO Tarek Tomes says his secret to effective service delivery is in deliberate planning and adjustment in service of a greater mission.

Tarek Tomes isn’t a huge fan of the term “digital transformation.” It’s a buzz word, the Minnesota state chief information officer tells StateScoop in a recent video interview. One word he does like, though, is “intentionality.”

“[It’s] intentionality around measuring and understanding the amount of revenue generated from digital transactions, the amount of digital interactions that you have with residents, businesses, visitors, so there can be intentionality surrounding where our opportunities exist to digitize service delivery, that will create greater opportunity or better service outcomes so we understand where to invest heavier as it relates to the services that state government provides,” Tomes says.

Most chief information officers spend time thinking about digital service delivery, and for Tomes, being an effective provider of digital services comes down to deliberate planning and paying attention to outcomes so that course corrections can be made when necessary.

“For data and analytics, it’s important to be very, very intentional,” Tomes says in the interview. “One of the administration’s major goals — all the major goals, priorities surrounding children and families, equity and inclusion — all of those start with understanding who are we serving and how are we serving them?”

Tomes explains that his careful planning is in service of first-term Gov. Tim Walz’s agenda, which also puts a strong emphasis on “thriving communities” and “economic inclusion.” In Minnesota, Tomes says, that means ensuring everyone is being served in accordance with their needs, including the state’s 11 Chippewa, Ojibwe and Sioux tribal communities.

“That starts with understanding how are we really transacting and how are we delivering information? And really having intentional services around providing deep insights into that transactional data — data visualization tools, advanced analytics — that provide a real-time view into information, is really foundational to support that mission,” Tomes says.

Tomes on his top priorities and projects:

“Our priorities revolving [around] families and children, equity and inclusion, thriving communities, economic inclusion, are really important and it’s critical that our priorities from our technology organization are reflected in our larger administration priorities.”

Tomes on data and analytics:

“For data and analytics it’s important to be very, very intentional. One of the administration’s major goals — all the major goals, priorities surrounding children and families, equity and inclusion — all of those start with understanding who are we serving and how are we serving them?”

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

“One of the major roles we play, as chief information officers, in this rapidly changing world of innovation and technology opportunities is really bridge-builder, between an opportunity for transformation where technology can play a role and a business service.”

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

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Chief Information Officer (CIO), Data & Analytics, Digital Services, equity, inclusion, Minnesota, NASCIO, NASCIO 19, Tarek Tomes
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