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Visioning the Future: Developing the IT Strategy for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
June 3, 2008

Program Overview

The program Visioning the Future: Developing the IT Strategy for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will bring together key leaders from across the Commonwealth to envision the future of citizen services and develop a supporting information technology strategy. The goal of this program is to harness the collective insights of the group and to develop a Vision and Action Plan that will specify and guide future Commonwealth-wide IT initiatives.


The environment in which the Commonwealth of Massachusetts operates is changing swiftly. Citizen expectations for enhanced and real-time services, an aging workforce and constituent demographic, emerging technologies and forms of organization, competition both regionally and globally, and constrained resources will impact Massachusetts in direct and measurable ways.

Given this changing environment, the Commonwealth needs to address a set of critical questions and choices in the way its IT strategy helps agencies and partners responds to these forces of change. Broadly, these are:

  • Where is the Commonwealth today on IT-enabled citizen services and related issues? How do we compare to our past and other governments?
  • Where do we want the Commonwealth to be in the near and long term? How do we need to position ourselves relative to other regions?
  • How can we assess the value, build the capacity and generate the support for the initiatives necessary to achieve our vision? How fast can we and how fast should we move?

As a result of this mix of demands, options and choices, the next phase of IT-enabled citizen services in Massachusetts will require initiatives that involve more stakeholders, more collaboration, new ways to work together, and newer and substantially more powerful technologies than the challenges undertaken to date. As is true also for other governments, but perhaps in different ways, Massachusetts will require new capabilities, working models, and relationships that will involve its political, program, and technology leaders.

At this session, we will begin the process of addressing these challenges and creating a pathway to achieve our collective goals.

Program Agenda

Tuesday June 3, 2008

Harvard Kennedy School
79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

8:00 - 8:20Registration
8:20 - 8:30Welcome & Setting the Stage

Introduction - Anne Margulies, Assistant Secretary and CIO

Opening Remarks - Leslie Kirwan, Secretary, Exec. Office for Administration and Finance

8:30 - 8:50

Introduction: Purpose, People, Process - Anne Margulies
This session will address the purpose of the workshop, introduce the participants and outline a three-stage process for defining:

  1. Where are we? (Commonwealth compared to past, to other governments)
  2. Where do we want to go? (Vision and sifting through existing and new options)
  3. How do we get there/next steps? (Identify initiatives and how to work collaboratively to maximize returns, minimize risks)
8:50 - 9:15

Structure for Our Work Today
Jerry Mechling, Harvard Kennedy School

This session will present a framework for decision-making and provide the local and national context for the rest of the day's discussions.

  • Elements of strategy: Capacity-Value-Support
  • Content focus areas: Architecture-Services-Management
  • Government learning curves
  • Where are we compared to the past, benchmark studies/scorecards, other state government best practices?
9:15 - 10:15

Panel: Perspectives on the current state of IT in the Commonwealth
Facilitated by Jerry Mechling, Harvard Kennedy School
Panelists: Anne Margulies, Assistant Secretary and CIO
Tom Curran, EOHHS Information Officer
Martin Benison, State Comptroller
This panel will discuss the current state themes of IT in the Commonwealth, including strengths and challenges, from the following perspectives:

  • The enterprise IT perspective
  • A secretariat IT perspective
  • An agency leader perspective
10:15 - 10:30Break
10:30 - 11:45

Where do we want to be?
Jerry Mechling, Harvard Kennedy School

This session will present views and ideas from the pre-workshop Compass diagnostic including:

  • Incoming ideas on vision
  • Incoming risk/return "blink" assessments on a list of - 12 ideas
  • Plenary discussion of top options for further analysis including any new ideas
  • Small group assignments
11:45 - 1:30Lunch and Working Groups
In this working lunch session small groups will discuss and assess the risks and returns of the ideas identified as top options for further analysis. Groups should identify the top 3-5 ideas to bring back to the group.
1:30 - 3:00Where do we want to be? - Working Group reports
Facilitated by Jerry Mechling, Harvard Kennedy School

In this session the working group leads will report back on the top ideas identified by their groups. Through further group discussion a consensus will be reached on the top 3-5 initiatives to be included in the Strategic Plan.
3:00 - 3:20Break
3:20 - 4:00How can we get there? Next steps?
Facilitated by Jerry Mechling, Harvard Kennedy School

This session will discuss what actions need to be taken to harvest the rewards, avoid risks, conduct further analysis and identify major milestones for each of the top initiatives chosen.
4:00 - 4:30Conclusions

From Harvard's perspective - Jerry Mechling

From the Commonwealth's perspective - Anne Margulies
5:00Optional Networking and Cocktail Reception
Legal Sea Foods Restaurant, Charles Hotel, Harvard Square

Created 12/2/08: Information provided by ITD's Planning & Strategy Office