Washington CIO wants state to be ‘Amazon Prime of government’

Washington state Chief Information Officer Bill Kehoe told StateScoop in a recent video interview that he’s taking a “whole-of-state” approach to technology modernization in hopes of making his state the “Amazon Prime of government.”

“Modernization is our new strategic theme for projects that used to be single agency, single projects, and it’s kind of replaced legacy modernization,” Kehoe said this month during the National Association of State Chief Information Officers midyear conference in National Harbor, Maryland. “Modernization involves a lot more. It involves our customers, it involves our business and their processes and it involves the back-end systems, as well.” 

“Instead of just focusing on replacing legacy systems, now we’re looking at the whole ecosystem of an agency or multi-agency type of service to their customers and modernizing that,” he added. 

Amy Pearson, Kehoe’s chief of staff, said Washington state’s approach to IT modernization is an opportunity to improve customer experiences and transform the business side of how the government connects with residents, rather than only replacing old systems.

“They use Amazon Prime and Uber and all these great apps, and everything’s right at their fingertips on one app,” Kehoe said. “When they interface with the government, they have to go to a lot of different places, sometimes fill out really elaborate applications, and so we have to do better.

“We want to be the Amazon Prime of government. That’s our goal.”