Pennsylvania CIO ‘excited’ about single sign-on expansion

Pennsylvania Chief Information Officer John MacMillan says he’s excited about the state’s single sign-on capability, which is now being connected to a growing number of applications in the commonwealth. 

Single sign-on, MacMillan says in a recent video interview with StateScoop, is enabling the applications Pennsylvania is now updating to modern platforms.

“We want to be able to share identities across systems of record and that’s going to take a significant reconciliation process and that will take us a little while to get through,” MacMillan said. “We’re really excited about the outcome and the implication of connecting citizens to their data.”

The single sign-on project, which Pennsylvania calls Keystone Login, started in 2017, MacMillan said, with a few applications, but the commonwealth has continued to link it to more digital services.

In July, Gov. Tom Wolf signed an executive order to further the commonwealth’s digital transformation efforts, a move that includes creating new “one-stop shops” for services, enabled by single sign-on. At the time, Pennsylvania Secretary of Administration Michael Newsome explained there’s more to single sign-on than meets the eye.

“Keystone Login is more than a username and password that can be used for multiple services; it is a suite of modern identity verification tools that can provide additional levels of security based on the type of service being accessed,” Newsome said in a press release.

MacMillan, who was appointed as state CIO in 2015, told StateScoop that with these digital transformation initiatives, Pennsylvania is “trying to do the greatest good for the greatest number over the long run,” referencing a common refrain of former Pennsylvania Gov. Gifford Pinchot. It’s important, he said, to remember that the purpose of technology is to serve people and not to fixate on the technologies themselves.

Other major technology projects led by MacMillan include the launch of a unified service management process initiative, migration of many of the commonwealth’s IT systems to a new data center and the launch of new emergency management communication systems.

Making projects like these successful, he told StateScoop upon nomination for a StateScoop 50 GoldenGov award, requires an organization to “invest in people.”

“Concentrate on building peer relationships, especially with your finance folks,” MacMillan said. “Establish realistic strategies, relentlessly execute and strive to get consumers to rave about your services.”

MacMillan on his top priorities and projects:

“We have several big projects going on, lots of application modernization. But the one we’re really jazzed about is an initiative we call Citizens First.”

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

“Like many other states, we see our role evolving to a brokerage relationship, whether it’s internal services or external services.”

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.