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Longtime IT Exec Mupparaju Leaving Role as FI$Cal CIO, Deputy Director

“Subbarao has successfully led several technology improvement initiatives, and his efforts resulted in transforming FI$Cal ITD into one of the most efficient and capable IT teams in the state of California,” said FI$Cal Director Miriam Barcellona Ingenito. “He has positioned our IT division to support the system operations and enhancements, technology operations and upgrades, and continuous improvements to FI$Cal’s posture for years to come.”

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Chief Information Officer Subbarao Mupparaju, a mainstay of the sprawling Department of Financial Information System for California (FI$Cal), is leaving the department, Techwire learned Thursday.

Mupparaju has been with FI$Cal since 2015 – the year before what had been a large project grew to become its own $1 billion-a-year department. In his dual role as both CIO and deputy director of FI$Cal’s IT Division (ITD), Mupparaju has served under FI$Cal Director Miriam Barcellona Ingenito since he joined the project. He came to the state entity from the private sector, where he spent the first 20 years of his career. Mupparaju’s last day is July 30.

In a statement to Techwire, he said: “The Financial Information System for California is one of the most complex IT undertakings in California history, and it has truly been my honor and pleasure to lead the Information Technology Division over the past six years and across the finish line. While this has been (among) the most challenging and rewarding work I’ve undertaken in the state and successfully delivered on all my commitments, this is a good time for me to move on as I need to balance my work commitments with some of my family commitments in the near future.”

Barcellona Ingenito told Techwire in an interview Thursday that Mupparaju’s departure will leave a void in the department’s leadership, describing him as an invaluable partner — and “a beautiful human being.”

In an announcement to her staff Thursday, Barcellona Ingenito wrote: “I am choosing to write to you today with gratitude as I announce that our CIO, Subbarao Mupparaju, will be leaving FI$Cal on July 30, 2021. Subbarao has successfully led several technology improvement initiatives, and his efforts resulted in transforming FI$Cal ITD into one of the most efficient and capable IT teams in the state of California. He has positioned our IT division to support the system operations and enhancements, technology operations and upgrades, and continuous improvements to FI$Cal’s posture for years to come.”

She added: “It goes without saying, these achievements came with making several personal sacrifices along the way. To say Subbarao is a high performer is an understatement, and for him, it’s never been about the hours, rather the results. However, in the months and years ahead, he would like to focus on a better work-life balance, and as he pursues opportunities to achieve this, his immediate plans are to return to the California Department of Technology.”

In more than two decades in the private sector, Mupparaju held executive leadership roles on projects involving large-scale applications development, systems integration, commercial off-the-shelf/enterprise resource planning implementation and business transformation projects, according to his biographical summary on the FI$Cal website.

“He has led cross-functional, multi-organizational and geographically dispersed teams and successfully implemented several statewide and nationwide systems including the California Driver License System, the California Child Welfare Services Case Management System and the Missouri Automated Child Support System,” his bio says.

Mupparaju has a master’s degree in engineering from PSG College of Technology in India. He is a Project Management Institute-certified Project Management Professional and an IBM-certified Information Technology Specialist. He received the Hewlett Packard Most Valuable People award in 2010 and the IBM Hundred Percent Club award in 2003.

Mupparaju began his career with a consultancy services company in India in 1992, then moved to the United States in 1996 and joined IBM. As a chief architect with IBM, he worked on the Child Welfare Services/Case Management System for the Office of Systems Integration (OSI).

After working briefly as an architect for IBM’s Gap Inc. account, Mupparaju moved to HP in 2008 and worked as the chief architect for the California Department of Motor Vehicles IT Modernization Project. He held the position until taking the position as enterprise architect.

In an interview with Techwire in 2012, Mupparaju said: “As you can see, for over 15 years I have been working on state and local government projects while working for IBM and HP. I have always enjoyed working with state government projects because it actually means something at the end of the day. So I was looking for something to become a civil servant, and this position turned out to be something that I am interested in."

At Government Technology’s* 2018 California Public Sector Academy, Mupparaju outlined his views on the principles of mission and management.

“The hardest thing about learning management is to let others make the decisions you used to make,” Mupparaju told attendees at the session, titled “Enterprise Governance in a Digital World – A Strategic Imperative.” He was joined at the dais by Adam Dondro, agency chief information officer for the California Health and Human Services Agency.

Among his professional honors, Mupparaju accepted an award for excellence on behalf of his FI$Cal team in 2017 from the Center for Digital Government.* The honor, given for “Project Experience – Government to Government,” was for FI$Cal’s integrated budget system, which replaced hundreds of decentralized and antiquated budget tools formerly used by state government departments.

“Integration of the state’s business processes through the FI$Cal system means Californians will have greater insight into how government manages taxpayer dollars,” Mupparaju said in his acceptance remarks.

More recently, Mupparaju was featured in Techwire’s “One-on-One” interview series in December, in which he reflected on his accomplishments since joining FI$Cal.

“Over the past five years, we have rolled out the FI$Cal system to over 150 departments — in itself a monumental achievement — deployed a statewide vendor portal, an award-winning statewide budget system and revamped our IT infrastructure for the flexibility necessary to continually support the digital transformation,” he said. “I am also proud that we have gone above and beyond and introduced artificial intelligence (AI) based technologies for customer service and automation.”

Asked about his hobbies and pastimes, Mupparaju said: “I spend my free time with family. I watch sports — basketball is my favorite sport — and movies.”

FI$Cal opened recruitment Thursday for a new CIO.

*The Center for Digital Government is part of e.Republic, which also includes Techwire and Government Technology.
Dennis Noone is Managing Editor of Techwire. He is a career journalist, having worked as a reporter and editor at small-town newspapers and major metropolitan dailies in California, Nevada, Texas and Virginia, including as an editor with USA Today in Washington, D.C. He lives in the Northern California foothills.