California Information Technology Strategic Plan

Executive Summary

California is the birthplace and home of the companies that are creating the information rich future for our society.  Great California companies are transforming the way people live, work and communicate through technology.  They are creating a vibrant future for California.  State government should be part of this transformation as well.  California has long recognized the significant advantages of using information technology (IT) to provide needed services to the public.  With demands for service availability around the clock, California is strongly dependent on IT.

In 2008, California placed 3rd among 50 states in the annual Best of the Web competition; 4th in the independent annual Brookings Institutionís State and Federal Technology Survey; 5th in the Digital State Survey.

Establishing of the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) addressed many of the long-standing internal and external issues surrounding information technology in California.  In addition, from both the national and state level, the perception of California has changed from a state struggling with large information systems projects to a state organized to leverage IT to meet its challenges.

The Federated Governance Model establishes the relationship among state agencies and the state CIO. It maintains the authority of agencies to manage program-specific technology processes and systems. Technology functions that are common across the entire state are managed at the enterprise level by the CIO organization. The Federated Governance Model confirms that programmatic needs are the primary drivers for IT decisions and acknowledges the importance of IT as an enabler of agency success.

With the signing of SB 90, the building blocks for a strong IT program were put in place.  By creating the OCIO at the Cabinet level and supporting the effective use of information technology, the Governor and the Legislature have established the necessary conditions for success.  Success, however, requires more than building blocks.  Providing the appropriate governance structure is also essential.  The governance process must facilitate good decision-making and ensure that services are delivered cost-effectively. 

The CIO is committed to working closely with the Agency Secretaries, Department Directors, and Constitutional Officers to ensure that business needs drive the application of technology.  Therefore, California’s IT Strategic Plan has been developed in the context of the business priorities of the state agencies, new leadership and significant prior investment.  The IT Strategic Plan represents a partnership between the business functions of government and the technology activities that deliver on those business priorities. 

In order to fulfill this promise of excellence, California must continue to find enterprise-wide opportunities for consolidation and pursue those opportunities in an operating framework that engages programs, encourages a service-based focus for IT, and enables a paradigm shift from the state as a collection of agency silos to a single enterprise.

To achieve their goals, all organizations rely on strategy.  Whether Google (Organize the world’s information) or Nike (Everybody is an athlete) or the State of California, strategy sets direction toward a more productive future.  As business moves faster, organizations need strategy if they hope to survive.  Strategy is about making tough choices.  Indeed, great strategies are a cause. 

As we articulate the ideas that will position California to meet the challenges of the future, it is important to remember that the six strategic concepts that frame this plan are not just the direction for the IT community, but a shared direction for the state. 

The Six Strategic Concepts are:

  1. IT as reliable as electricity – Allowing business decision-makers to focus on business operations with the expectation that their IT needs will be provided for by a professional IT organization.
  2. Fulfilling Technology’s potential to transform lives – Open and accessible online government services ensure that the state is meeting the expectations of the people it governs.
  3. Self-Governance in the digital age – The greatest value from the state’s use of IT is the ability to engage residents and businesses on their terms at a time and place of their choosing. 
  4. Information as an asset – State agencies have a wealth of data and information that, if properly interpreted and mobilized, can be used to better inform the public.
  5. Economic and Sustainable – By aligning the state’s operations, agenda and goals to be relevant and applicable in perpetuity, we are able to balance the demands of today with the challenges of the future.
  6. Facilitating collaboration that breeds better solutions – No one entity has a monopoly on good ideas.  Enabling communication between stakeholders, external and internal to government, is essential to open and accountable government. 

These six strategic concepts and their accompanying strategies and goals empower business executives, state IT leadership, and state employees to realize a future in which the state government enterprise uses information technology to better fulfill the task of governing a complex and dynamic state.