Two states, two directions on IT

An axiom of state and local politics is that the larger the state, the more difficult it is to coordinate IT policy and strategy across the so-called enterprise of state government.

Part of the reason is that the larger agencies are powerhouses whose bureaucracies can dwarf even the governor's office. Any effort by state leadership'governor, lawmakers or the state CIO'to tackle IT governance head-on is admirable in and of itself. It's rare that there is ever highly centralized control of IT governance in any of the super-size states.

More often there is a compromise'a federated or decentralized approach, where agencies and a central IT office perform a delicate dance. When things go poorly, it's not unusual to see the state technology office shut down for a few years before another attempt at IT governance is made.

The stories below bring readers up to date on IT governance in two super-size states: Florida and Texas. Another, on California, will appear Aug. 15.

Shoddy governance in Florida recently led the legislature to turn off the funding valve to the State Technology Office. The Texas legislature is swinging for the fences with passage of HB 1516, which compels state agencies to work with the Texas Department of Information Resources on data center consolidation and other areas ripe for uniform service delivery. It's what Larry Olson, a veteran state technology leader, wanted to unite the Lone Star State in a common vision for IT.

In the next issue: California creates a Department of Technology Services after a three-year hiatus without a central IT office.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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