At a recent gathering of IT leaders from across Colorado, the message to the executive leadership in our IT organization was clear. Be bold. Be aggressive. Be fearless. And tell the world what you do– it’s cool!
There are people out there who still think the public sector moves at a slower pace than the rest of the world or that government entities lack innovation or drive for change. Apparently none of those people have ever been anywhere near the Governor’s Office of Information Technology.
Technology is changing everything in the world around us and though I cannot speak for anyone else, I can tell you that what we are doing is in fact very interesting!
The work we do at the state IS cool and very meaningful. Where else can you have your finger on the pulse of natural disasters, and actually have a hand in the technology that helps first responders and communities access critical information? When floods hit in the fall of 2013, the Governor’s Office of Information Technology was able to get maps up and running very quickly to help residents and those responding to the emergency. Our technology office coordinated GIS and other data from local, federal and state sources. The data was used to create a crisis recovery map, which was posted to the Colorado United website and updated frequently with new data about road closures and rebuilding projects.
Pretty cool right? But we are not only innovative in reactive situations, we are proactive in searching for ways to utilize technology to further advance efficiencies throughout the organization.
Three years ago, we took the 15 disparate email systems used by executive branch agencies and consolidated on Gmail using the Google Apps for Government platform. That single change continues to enable innovation for the state. Using this platform, state employees have the tools that enable them to better collaborate whether through docs or virtual meetings using Google Hangouts. It also allows us to quickly set up new websites for ongoing business use or to provide just-in-time information during an emergency.
Technology is the key to Public Sector 2.0 and the most exciting part is that the cooler we are, the more positive impact we have on the lives of the people we support. Gadgets and Mobile Gaming Apps are cool…but let’s just say we are cool with a social impact.
We believe technology should make life easier for Coloradans. We want to make sure those most in need are getting crucial benefits — health care, food assistance, early childhood services. With the Colorado Benefits Management System, we are able to use technology to turn 45 days of waiting into 45 minutes when it comes to determining eligibility for Medicaid. Eighty percent of the time, those applying for Medicaid find out almost immediately if they qualify. That impacts their lives in a significant way. In a very short time, they can get a medical card, and make an appointment for much needed medical treatment.
It’s not just what we do that’s cool– it’s who we work with and who we serve. We collaborate with some of the most passionate, creative, innovative people you will ever meet. And they all know the work they do touches the lives of millions of Coloradans. They are proud of their service to the state. I cannot imagine work more geared toward creating positive change than a career in information technology in city, state or federal government.
Yes, I do believe we’re putting the “cool” back in IT… and state government. And it feels great.