A. Strategic planning process

We designed this process to be rapid, high-level, and visionary, as well as actionable. Our approach has been to:

  • Achieve a coherent plan rapidly by
    -Leveraging what we already know as a starting point, building on
    the findings of earlier planning efforts and studies.

-Reviewing the IT strategies of other state governments and learning from their

-Surveying and understanding industry-wide technology trends.

-Acknowledging public expectations of how things should work in a an era of
pervasive technology.

  • Set an overall IT direction at a high level, recognizing that follow-on processes will be needed to flesh out detailed project plans.
  • State a clear vision that will crystallize the direction of IT in the Commonwealth and that will resonate with business and IT leaders across government entities because it

-Lays the foundation for future initiatives both known and unanticipated.

-Leads to new levels of service to-and engagement with-residents and
businesses of the Commonwealth.

  • Ensure that recommendations emerging from the planning process are actionable in that they translate into specific initiatives that can be defined clearly and implemented with resources that will realistically be available over the next three years.

We began this planning process in January 2008 with a small working group to create a work plan for the effort. Key assumptions were that we would avoid using a large cadre of consultants to gather detailed current state data, and that instead we would develop a high level plan focusing on a small set of initiatives that IT groups across multiple agencies could work on collaboratively. We acknowledged up front that the strategic plan would not be an exhaustive list of all IT projects and initiatives; rather, the major output would be a framework for subsequent, lower-level planning and decision-making.

We used the 2003 IT Commission Report as a starting point, first updating ourselves on the many recommendations they made and the current status of each. We relied on two principal state-wide IT advisory groups, the Information Technology Advisory Board (ITAB) and the CIO Cabinet, for guidance on the scope and content of this plan. The IT Council [1] also provided input as part of their regular monthly meetings.

On June 3, 2008, we held a day-long workshop at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government entitled Visioning the Future: Developing the IT Strategy for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The program was designed and facilitated by Professor Jerry Mechling. Invitees provided input on priorities and vision prior to the session, and Professor Mechling synthesized this material as a launching point for the workshop. Fifty-six IT and business leaders from across the Commonwealth attended the workshop. Through a series of full-group and breakout sessions, we were able to hone in on the key IT-related issues facing the Commonwealth and to reach consensus on basic priorities and the foundational direction that should be reflected in the strategic plan. Appendix B shows the agenda for this program, and appendix C is a list of participants.

Figure 2. Strategic Planning Process Timeline


B. Case for action

Information technology already supports virtually all business processes in state government. We have had many successes over the years in using IT to reduce the cost of government operations and to provide data for decision-making. Earlier in this decade we began offering public access to information and some state services via the Internet.

But as technical innovation advances, IT has far more potential-not yet fully-realized in Massachusetts-to enable state government to work better and to better serve the public. IT can:

· Transform how government works, not only stretching dollars to "do more with less" but to do it more effectively through new partnerships among government agencies and between agencies and external entities.

· Put a unifying face on a complex and disparate government enterprise by pulling together different information resources and transaction sets that match the logic and needs of citizens and businesses rather than reflecting the arcane structure of government.

· Mine information while respecting privacy protections to compile new kinds of analyses heretofore impractical or impossible in order to monitor and evaluate the efficacy of government services and operations, to identify and collect additional revenue to which the Commonwealth is entitled, and more generally, to enable a more routine and comprehensive understanding of the state of the Commonwealth to support policy making.

It has been five years since the IT Commission Report, the last major review of the management of IT in the Commonwealth. In the intervening years we have fulfilled-or made good progress on-many of the ITC recommendations. But some of the issues identified by the Commission remain open to this day. Meanwhile, during this time new government business needs and objectives have emerged, while at the same time the scope and power of technology and innovation have continued to advance. The time has come to review where we are in the use of IT in state government and where we need to be headed. It is time to renew and clarify our plan for the future so that we can share a common vision across agencies and work together to use our IT resources as wisely and effectively as possible.

[1] See Appendix A for a description of the roles and membership of ITAB, CIO Cabinet, and IT Council.

Created 12/1/08: Information provided by ITD's Planning & Strategy Office