On July 1, the California Technology Agency (CTA) will change its name to the California Department of Technology. Besides a new approach on the procurement of major IT projects and the swapping of a couple of divisions related to last year’s legislative session, there will be few changes, CTA Secretary Carlos Ramos said on Thursday. The agency’s mission, authority and office locations will all be the same.
As a result of AB 1498 (Buchanan) signed last year by Governor Brown, the procurement organization that currently handles major IT projects within the Department of General services will move to the new Department of Technology. The move comes with new opportunities to improve the sometimes difficult efforts to hire vendors to build major IT systems.
“It’s not so much a change in strategy, it’s more leveraging an opportunity for collaboration,” said Secretary Ramos. “We’re going to take lessons learned on big systems projects… and use it to remake everything from way we approve and initiate projects, to our FSR the SPR processes, to the way we acquire our contracts for big systems integration projects. The idea would be to make the procurement processes shorter, to reduce bureaucracy and foster greater competition when we go out to bid.”
Also included in AB 1498 was a provision for the state chief information officer to report directly to the governor, despite the agency losing its cabinet status in last year’s Governor’s Reorganization Plan. Led by TechAmerica, the technology industry lobbied to include statutory language to keep the position from being downgraded.
As a result of the GRP, the Department of Technology will report to a newly created Government Operations Agency. It is still unknown who will lead the agency [6/25 -see update here], although speculation has included Ramos and other members of the governor’s cabinet. Also unknown is who will fill the 16 agency staff positions.
The Public Safety Communications Division, currently part of CTA, will officially become part of the California Emergency Management Agency, according the plan.