At the beginning of this decade, Massachusetts was considered among the leaders in information technology in state government. Along with just a few other states, the Commonwealth was an early adopter of web technology for making information and services available to the public online; indeed, today is an effective portal that attracts some 2 million visitors per month. Many other aspects of IT in Massachusetts government were also well-developed at the time. For example, early on we had a broad range of high-quality internal data processing systems that support individual agency operations. In addition, we also implemented enterprise-level accounting and human resources systems.

Figure 3. Commonwealth IT in Historical Context

Timeline of historical view of IT in the Commonwealth

Today, almost all states have caught up to Massachusetts, and some have moved beyond. From an IT perspective, we have fallen back into the pack, no longer in step with roughly similar states such as Michigan, North Carolina, Washington, and New York. Not only have many other states broadened the array of online services and transaction capabilities that they provide to citizens and businesses, but some have achieved much greater levels of enterprise-wide integration, which in turn streamlines operations across government entities and affords opportunities for effective services not previously thought possible.

A common theme in discussions about Commonwealth IT is governance. Earlier studies, including the 2003 IT Commission Report, have cited the structure of government, with its many autonomous entities, as an impediment to sound, efficient, enterprise-wide planning, standardization, and effective implementation of IT. While of course we are always mindful of the diversity of agency needs and priorities in state government, we find today a remarkable spirit of collaboration and consensus across agencies. The Information Technology Advisory Board (ITAB), established by statute on recommendation of the former IT Commission, as well as the recently reconstituted CIO Cabinet and IT Council have all helped to bring together IT leaders and managers from all quarters of state government to identify and solve problems of common concern. Indeed, it is because of this recognition of common purpose and alignment of goals that we are able to put forth this plan. Appendix A describes the current IT governance and advisory structure for Commonwealth IT.

Based on discussions at the June workshop and other cross-agency planning forums, in the collective opinion of IT leaders from across Massachusetts state government, key IT issues facing us today include:

· Technology foundation. There are many unrealized opportunities for a more comprehensive and robust enterprise-wide IT infrastructure and shared services. We urgently need an enterprise network architecture as well as other foundational components described later in this document.

· Procurement. We do not fully leverage the Commonwealth's buying power to negotiate favorable state-wide procurement terms for IT goods and services. Moreover, we need better, more standardized terms and practices for dealing with vendors that provide vital software and development services.

· IT workforce. The Commonwealth's IT workforce is aging, with at least 30% eligible to retire in the next five years. In many cases, our IT workers lack the up-to-date skills needed to work effectively with today's technologies. Compounding these concerns, we find it very difficult to recruit new technical staff with the needed skills in what remains a competitive technical labor market.

· Planning and communication. Though the Commonwealth has put together many IT plans in the past, they have lacked clear vision, and we have not always been successful at demonstrating to business leaders the rationale for investment in IT beyond meeting basic, often narrowly-focused operational needs. Even when priorities do emerge, our record of timely follow-through on proposed initiatives has been mixed.

· Funding. While tight budgets are always a challenge, we have been particularly constrained in planning for and building in funding for systems maintenance and upgrade, so that even when we are able to invest in new systems through targeted capital investments, they degrade over time until they become obsolete. Funding levels for IT have been flat or declining. It is arduous even to identify all pockets of IT spending in state government.

The following table drills further into the current state of IT in the Commonwealth.

Table 1. Current State Themes

1. Management Practices and Resources
1.1 Financing and Planning
  • Bond Bill Passed
  • No clear picture of level of IT investment for the Commonwealth
  • Inconsistent IT planning processes across agencies
  • Legislative mandates affect IT investments
    Funding for credit card fees
1.2 Procurement practices
  • Multiple statewide IT contracts with very competitive pricing
  • Procurement process very complex and lengthy
  • Missing opportunities to leverage state purchasing power
1.3 HR practices
  • Strong committed IT workforce
  • IT workforce diversity above industry standard
  • Aging workforce
  • Difficult to recruit IT staff in current competitive environment
  • Misalignment between current IT skills and needs
  • Non-standard IT job classifications
1.4 IT Risk management
  • Established CISO position
  • Cross-branch Enterprise Security Board shares best practices and recommends policies
  • Annual disaster recovery exercises and contracts
  • Inability to keep up with increasing pace of security threats
  • Lack of adequate disaster recovery facilities
  • Incomplete business continuity planning
  • Risk assessments inconsistently incorporated in IT planning and design
  • Risk management needs improvement
1.5 Project management
  • Some established Project Management Offices
  • Multiple and inconsistent use of project management methodologies
  • Mixed record regarding on-time, on-budget, on-quality project delivery
2. IT Architecture and Infrastructure
2.1 Enterprise policies and standards
  • Enterprise Technology Office and target enterprise architecture in place
  • Compliance with standards uneven resulting in highly complex IT environment
2.2 Shared Infrastructure Services
  • Some components exist (XML Gateway, CommBridge, SAN, MAGNet,, VOIP)
  • No comprehensive enterprise network plan/architecture
  • Limited funding to expand shared infrastructure (Identity Management, Enterprise Service Bus, Service Registry)
2.3 Operations Support
  • Relatively stable systems and applications
  • Unknown number and variable quality of data centers
  • Lack of clarity on IT services and costs
3. Shared IT Services and Strategic Applications
3.1 Shared Business Services
  • Some shared business services (MassMail, e-payments, GIS,
  • Could be more widely leveraged
  • Need better shared governance and cost models
  • Inconsistent data definitions
3.2 Enterprise Applications
  • NewMMars, HR/CMS, Information Warehouse, LMS/PACE in place
  • Governance models not well defined
3.3 Critical agency applications
  • Increase in availability of web-based applications and transactions
  • Innovative consolidation efforts such as Virtual Gateway
  • Aging agency apps (MassTax, ALARS, CJIS, others) difficult to maintain and expensive

As IT has continued to reach further and further into the operation of state government, expenditures for IT-related acquisitions, services, and operations have remained flat, in fact declining slightly over the last few years. Table 2 summarizes expenditures for IT across the Commonwealth.

Table 2. IT Expenditures across All State Government Entities [2]

All figures $000,000sFY 2003FY 2004FY 2005FY 2006FY 2007FY 2008
Capital Funds83.390.274.898.166.376.9
Operating Funds164.2168.3194.6210.5236.7225.7
Trust Funds141.0153.1148.2139.7143.5139.0
FTE Expenditure (est)124.3131.7133.6143.4142.9141.3
TOTAL 512.8543.3551.2591.7589.4582.9

[2] Based on an IT expenditures query from the Information Warehouse as of 8/21/08 for all Commonwealth entities (three branches including higher education plus constitutional offices). The FTE expenditure estimate represents 32% of total IT spending.

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