N.D. moves to cloud with ‘alignment, efficiency, delivery’ strategy

North Dakota was slow to embrace cloud in past years, but that has since changed “dramatically,” the state’s chief technology officer says.

“We all know the cloud is the future,” North Dakota CTO Duane Schell says in a video interview. “It’s a viable platform today.”

The state’s adoption of cloud computing coincides with three main focus areas for the state, Schell says: alignment, efficiency and delivery.

As part of the alignment prong of its strategy, Schell says the state has worked to unify the way his agency delivers IT services, even after a consolidation more than 15 years ago.

“It’s about bringing IT together in a unified fashion so that we’ve got a unified strategy,” Schell says. “It enables us to support the business.”

In an effort to promote more efficiency across state IT operations, Schell says he is focusing on service management and taking advantage of the “tremendous amount of opportunities” to use budget more effectively.

“If we’re going to transform government, if we’re going to make a difference, we’ve got to shift resources to be able to grow and transform,” Schell says.

That shift comes from a “concerted effort” to improve service delivery and customer satisfaction paired with the embrace of automation and organizational tools that can free up state resources. But for service delivery, cloud is the answer, Schell says.

“I’m very focused on our cloud-first strategy,” Schell says. “It’s a feature-rich platform, it’s got all the capacity we need.”

Cloud is also “very secure,” Schell says, and positions the state to take advantage of emerging technologies, as well.

“As we look to enable and empower government, that’s where the new technology exists,” Schell says. “It’s where the emerging capabilities are that we might not be able to make viable in an on-premise environment.”

Schell on his 2018 accomplishments:

Schell on cybersecurity:

Schell on emerging tech trends:

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