Texas ‘tiger team’ helps agencies move to the cloud

About 85 percent of Texas state agencies in Texas are using some form of cloud services, but Todd Kimbriel, the state’s chief information officer, wants to make that journey even easier.

“We’re continuing to believe that cloud is the right service-delivery model,” Kimbriel says in a recent video interview with StateScoop. “We’re trying to educate our customers on how they can create and architect their strategy to move more services and more compute onto the cloud.”

Kimbriel, who is also the deputy director of the Texas Department of Information Resources, says he’s trying to ease the path for agencies to get more of their operations into cloud environments.

“Most [agency cloud-use] I would describe as being sort of shallow. We’re seeing some dabbling,” Kimbriel says.

That dabbling is in software-as-a-service offerings, Kimbriel says, but infrastructure-as-a-service adoption is doubling every two years in Texas state government.

Under the state’s federated IT environment, Kimbriel’s IT agency provides a contract vehicle and and acts as a service provider for state agencies. Under this model, the agency created a team dedicated to helping agencies embrace cloud technology.

“We have a tiger team now that we put together to work with our agencies and sort of help them build centers of excellence inside their organizations so they can chart their own path to the cloud when they’re ready,” Kimbriel says.

But the state isn’t going “full cloud.” Texas recently launched a hybrid data center that Kimbriel says is the first of its kind in public sector. Within the state’s data center — which is serviced by multiple internet service providers for stability — DIR has created a structure that will allow agencies to create “virtual data centers.”

“The complexity of creating this hybrid model is challenging. We’ve been working on it for about a year and a half,” Kimbriel says. “We’re really proud of that, and it’s been a great deal of effort to get it there. So we’re seeing more and more adoption of cloud through that connection.”

Kimbriel on his top priorities:

Kimbriel on cybersecurity:

Kimbriel on emerging tech:

These videos were produced by StateScoop at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers’ midyear conference in National Harbor, Maryland, in May 2019.