After five years, 5,170 articles published, 166 videos posted, and countless email newsletters and print magazines distributed, I have decided to make a final dash across the finish line and leave behind my position as editor of Techwire. Thank you to our readers and sponsors. I am grateful for your support over the years, for staying engaged and believing in our mission.
This fall we are celebrating a major milestone — five years in publication! On September 15, 2011, I launched Techwire as a communications platform for the state IT community and the 10,000 professionals who support California’s digital infrastructure. We have come a long way in five years, but none of it would have been possible without tremendous community support in both the private and public sectors.
While government innovation goes far beyond the technology involved, state leaders are on board with a new approach, whether the mentality of Silicon Valley is truly creeping into government or because there have been too many failed IT projects.
In August 2012 as part of a budget agreement with SEIU Local 1000 representing state employees, the Brown Administration agreed to create a task force to review outsourced contracts, including many associated with large IT projects. The union’s mission is to project state jobs and generally improve life for state employees.
Here’s a preview of our winter issue that is currently on the printing press. This issue is focused on innovation, Big Data and California’s cloud strategy. If you would like a printed copy, send your mailing address to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two years ago this week Techwire was launched after I decided to leave my position as director of communications at the California Technology Agency to create a publication that covered the annual $5 billion industry – the projects, policies and people – that are working to modernize California’s digital infrastructure.
The Board of Equalization today released its much anticipated request for proposal (RFP) to get started on the Centralized Revenue Opportunity System (CROS), according to Project Director Eric Steen. CROS will replace the legacy business tax collection system with a modern version that uses data to improve efficiencies, better detect fraud, enhance taxpayer services and ultimately collect more state revenues.
We have driverless cars and computer glasses that may possibly include X-ray vision. What’s next? Google announced this week that it launched 30 high-flying balloons that will beam down Internet access, at the speed of a 3G network, to remote areas of the world that have limited or no connectivity. The Google team launched Project Loon, named for what may sound like a crazy idea, from a site in New Zealand. Balloons will circle the globe using wind streams at altitudes above commercial air traffic. Google says that for 2 out of 3 people on the planet, an affordable Internet connection is out of reach. They want to connect the 5 or 6 billion remaining people that are currently on the other side of the digital divide. It’s lofty goal. Literally. Check out this video posted yesterday on Google’s official blog.
Whether in the state of Washington, or in China, Taiwan or Australia, government workers using their own smart phones on the job is on the rise, according to Joel Cherkis, general manager of Microsoft’s worldwide public sector business.
California government’s annual IT leadership award ceremony took place on Thursday with the spotlight on 26 individuals who have contributed greatly to state programs within the last year, and in some cases over the course of several decades. At the tenth annual CIO Academy, awards were given for Chief Information Officer of the Year, Chief Technology Officer of the Year, and the two individuals were inducted into the newly created California Hall of Fame for Technology. A special award was also presented to State and Consumer Services Agency CIO Andrew Armani who originally came up with the concept of the CIO Academy in 2002.
If you are like most people who access the Internet to do banking, make doctors appointments or read your online newspaper without the pop up ads, you have more passwords and account IDs than you would prefer. For commercial websites, it’s becoming more common to share login credentials, using your Facebook ID and password for example.
Last week marked the 52nd time the Techwire.net weekly newsletter was distributed via email to subscribers, delivering timely and informative news about California’s technology industry. Over the past year we have become the “go to” source for information about the annual $5 billion public sector industry and digital literacy community in Sacramento and across the state.
Department of State Hospitals CIO Jamie Mangrum says that before his department embarked on a project to implement a new personal alarm system for mental hospital staff members, he spent most of his time like many other CIOs, planning to upgrade to new versions of software and other predictable, desk-bound activities. When the Personal Duress Alarm System (PDAS) project started last October, department staff made him stand in the middle of the 487 acre Napa State Hospital (NSH) campus at the place where psychiatric technician Donna Gross was strangled to death by a patient in 2010. Mangrum described it as an indoctrinating moment when he clearly understood the threat of violent attacks on campus and how technology would play a role.
With an eye on tough budget conditions and technology solutions that promise to improve government operations, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) today released the first part in a policy series focused on IT procurement.
With a fascinating look at a remote, dusty town of less than 50 people who are stuck on the wrong side of the digital divide, The Los Angeles Times this week profiled Darwin, a former mining town in the high desert mountains outside of Death Valley National Park. Included is a video documentary that features original music by longtime Darwin resident Kathy Goss who recorded a song in her studio, a converted cargo container next to her home, says the article. Below are lyrics. See the entire piece here.
This summer, the Employment Development Department (EDD) is scheduled to go live with a new system to enhance service for Californians on disability and the doctors, employers and plan administrators involved in helping them get back to work. The department’s website says the Disability Insurance Automation (DIA) project is an online application being developed to improve access, service delivery and fraud prevention within the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program. Mike Howland, the department’s chief information officer, believes strongly in the collective efforts of the project team of more than 100 people, and therefore did not want to be the focus of this profile, said a spokesperson via email. The project’s sponsor is Elizabeth Wahnon, deputy director of the Disability Insurance Branch which administers the SDI and Paid Family Leave insurance programs. The primary contractor is Deloitte Consulting. Howland, who came out of retirement to oversee the department’s IT division, replaced Dale Jablonski as CIO about two years ago. He is currently helping EDD find his eventual replacement, says his office which answered a number of questions for Techwire.net.
A coalition of businesses and software and hardware providers are calling on the state of California to take a lead role in fighting illegal software use, starting with agencies and their contractors. In a report recently issued by the Orange County Business Council which outlines the impact of software piracy in California, the American Jobs Alliance (AJA) singled out state government as a starting point to fight the theft of software.
National trade association TechAmerica has recognized four “technology champions” in the California Legislature for their contributions during the 2011 legislative year. Robert Callihan, director of California State Government Affairs, says in the announcement the four legislators recognize the industry’s critical role in economic recovery and consistently support policies that make the Golden State a global high-tech leader.
As the longest serving state agency CIO, Andrew Armani has been with the State and Consumer Services Agency (SCSA) for more than a decade. The agency oversees the Departments of Consumer Affairs, General Services, Franchise Tax Board and others including a total of 14 departments and 38 boards and commissions. To give some historical perspective on the state technology community, Andrew answered some questions for Techwire.net.
According to the site’s internal dashboard, Techwire.net has featured just over 100 articles since the publication was launched in mid-September. In about 100 days since the launch, the Techwire.net team has covered California’s state and local IT community as well as tech-related events, projects, legislation, personnel, contracts and more. We are also tracking efforts to close the Digital Divide and improve access to information for California’s residents.
As CIO for the Franchise Tax Board, Cathy Cleek oversees the Enterprise Data to Revenue (EDR) project that promises to modernize California’s tax system. Last summer the 5 ½ -year project was launched with partner CGI to help close California’s $6.5 billion tax gap. To give an update on the project and provide insight into her strategy, Cathy took some time to answer a few questions for Techwire.net.
Launching new technology projects, consolidating overlapping programs and getting state employees to adapt to new systems are tough challenges. Jamie Mangrum, who this week started in his new role as chief information officer for the California Department of Mental Health (DMH), says he’s been there and done that. In fact, Jamie has overcome much more during his 15-year tenure with the State of California.
This week, Board of Equalization chairman Jerome Horton announced the appointments of key technology officials – Brenda Fleming as chief information officer, Amy Tong as chief technology officer, and Eric Steen as project director for the Centralized Revenue Opportunity System (CROS).