Creation of the OCIO

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.  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 to provide needed services to the public.  With demands for service availability around the clock, California is strongly dependent on information technology.

Consistent with California’s reputation as the nation’s “Silicon” state, the foremost goal is to make California state government the leader among the states in using information technology to enable the delivery of consistent, innovative, reliable, and secure services that satisfy the needs of residents, businesses and public sector agencies.  Central to this goal is the intention to make government services widely available and accessible in a way that is affordable, all while protecting the privacy and security of the information that Californians provide to their government. 

In 2005, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed a significant early step in improving the management of information technology services with his Governor’s Reorganization Proposal to consolidate the state’s two multipurpose data centers.  His plan called for aligning telecommunications with data, recognizing the convergence of data, voice and video technologies.  The alignment positioned state government to better deliver on the promise of technology to improve the lives of Californians.   

In 2006, the Legislature and Governor worked together on legislation to create the Office of the State Chief Information Officer (OCIO).  SB 834 (Chapter 533, Statutes of 2006) made the State CIO a member of the Governor’s cabinet.  The 2007 Budget Act and related legislation (SB 90, Chapter 183, Statutes of 2007) substantially expanded on SB 834, providing resources to stabilize the OCIO.

With the creation of the OCIO, the Governor and the Legislature established the structure on which to build a durable information technology program.  A strong foundation is so important because the information and program demands in California are like no other state.  California is big and complex.  California’s large population, its vast geography, and the diversity of its people challenge the best practices for developing information processing applications.  This is true as state government strives to serve populations that depend on state programs in areas including education, health services, social services, business, environmental protection and consumer protection among others.  While California has competing priorities for resources, technology enables it to achieve its goals and serve the public.