Governor's IT Reorganization Plan

While the building blocks for a strong IT program are in place. Success requires more than building blocks; the appropriate governance structure is essential. The governance process must facilitate good decision-making and ensure that services are delivered cost-effectively. In arguing for an invigorated IT governance structure, the Little Hoover Commission concluded, "The state CIO must be given the authority to set and execute technology priorities as laid out in the states IT Strategic Plan. The state CIO must be given the resources to accomplish the task." 1

The governance model should align with the organization and decision-making structure of the Executive Branch. In California state government, Agencies establish policies and business priorities in subject areas, and departments, within Agencies, execute policy direction and deliver government programs in business areas. Statewide control agencies, including the Department of Finance and the Department of General Services, manage and oversee the budget, support services and procurement.

In addition to aligning with the decision authorities of the California Executive Branch, an effective IT governance process should also:

Trends in the public sector, especially in those states which have been recognized as IT performance leaders by the Pew Center on the States, provide context as to the form, organization and benefits of effective information technology governance.  Among the states that earned a grade of “A” (Michigan, Missouri, Utah, Virginia, and Washington), all have integrated policy and operational functions within information technology organizations that have an enterprise, or statewide, perspective. 

Defining Federated IT Governance

The federated governance model establishes the relationship among state agencies and the state CIO. It maintains the authority of agencies to manage program-specific technology processes and systems. Technology functions that are common across the entire state are managed at the enterprise level by the CIO organization. The Federated Governance Model confirms that programmatic needs are the primary drivers for IT decisions and acknowledges the importance of IT as an enabler of agency success.

The Reorganization Plan that will be offered by the Governor in January 2009 provides a similar approach - a federated governance model for information technology in California.

Modern technology governance is no longer just about technology; it is about leadership in effectively and efficiently managing the use of technology to meet an organization’s business needs.  It includes the structures and processes for setting direction, establishing standards and principles, and prioritizing IT investments that leverage technology to improve business value.  It is the mechanism for deciding who makes what decisions about technology use and it creates an accountability framework that drives the desired use of technology.  Effective information technology governance also includes the processes by which key decisions are made about IT investments.  Consequently, success depends on effective, ongoing communication across all levels of state government.

The Plan will seek to reorganize the state’s information technology structure to:

Tier DiagramThe Reorganization Plan will seek to consolidate enterprise information technology functions under the OCIO to improve coordination and realize significant efficiencies in procurement and technology implementation.  This governance approach is better suited for managing California’s use of technology to meet its business needs than either the status quo or models which envision total consolidation, because it acknowledges and respects the organizational alignment of the Executive Branch.  By preserving the authority of state agencies to establish policy and determine program priorities, the federated approach to governance is driven from business strategies and uses common or shared technology (enterprise architecture) to ensure the wise investment of limited resources. 

Results are realized by defining enterprise architecture standards across program areas, thereby providing interoperability while supporting the diverse programmatic missions of state agencies.  In addition, this approach provides a common platform and standards for operations and growth (strengthens speed in implementation), realizes efficiencies, and enables a favorable return on investment.

The federated governance model ensures the integrated and strategic use of technology resources statewide by bringing together the state’s key IT policy and operating functions into a single organization.  It also redefines the role of the State CIO and provides the organizational framework for technology leadership.

This Reorganization Plan will seek to establish an expanded OCIO, with the State CIO serving as the primary point of accountability for, and management of the state’s integrated information technology and security program.

 The expanded OCIO will be made up of the following existing organizations:

In addition, the expanded OCIO would gain responsibility for key IT functions, including:

The State CIO would remain a cabinet-level position, appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the California State Senate.

The federated governance framework presented in the Reorganization Plan would enable the strategic use of both human and IT resources to achieve a higher level of performance in the state’s delivery of services. 

1 See “A New Legacy System: Using Technology to Drive Performance”
Little Hoover Commission, November 2008