But we are not taking full advantage of the power of IT. Although the Commonwealth has a wide array of information systems in place, many of these are aging and no longer meeting all the modern-day business needs of government. Perhaps more importantly, these systems for the most part cannot work effectively together, preventing agencies from partnering in providing the kinds of information and services the public has come to expect in the Internet age. Across government entities, IT planning has been fragmented, and we find uneven levels of IT services and skills. In short, though once Massachusetts was considered a leader in IT innovation, we have fallen back into the pack.
Today we have a unique opportunity. First, there is a strong sense of collaboration and consensus among IT leaders throughout most of state government. Indeed, this IT Strategy for the Commonwealth represents the thinking of dozens of IT leaders as well as many agency heads. Second, as a result of the recently passed "Act Providing for Capital Facility Repairs and Improvements for the Commonwealth," more commonly known as Bond Bill IV, we have a pool of financial resources available for wise investment in collective action.
We urgently need to bring our IT environment up to date to pave the way for future innovation. Our vision is that the Commonwealth should have an IT environment that enables:
- Constituents could update their change of address once and have all their records updated
- Citizens could be empowered with easy ways to provide input on policies that are most relevant and important to them
- Data from many sources could be brought together to create new services and improve existing ones
This document expands on this simple vision, explains why it is vitally important, and charts a course of action to achieve it. Our first steps over the next three years are to build a solid foundation that can support new applications and shared services. The foundation must comprise:
Foundational Building Blocks
The plan for building this foundation entails seven key initiatives. These initiatives have been defined through a broad-based consensus process involving IT leaders and some business leaders from across Commonwealth government entities. The initiatives are:
Seven Key Initiatives
In addition to these, four supporting initiatives, which are already underway, represent additional required components of the foundation:
This plan outlines the approach, responsibilities, and major milestones for each initiative, balancing ideals with what is realistic, feasible, and practical, and in all cases guided by the opportunities and constraints at hand. It is a plan that requires collaboration among IT leaders and groups throughout state government, recognizing that we cannot afford to work as islands. We must work together to address common issues and to realize the benefits that today's technology has to offer.
The robust and agile technology foundation that results from this work ultimately will make it possible to implement the new kinds of systems and services that Commonwealth agencies must have to support their current and emerging business plans in the near term and through future administrations for years to come.
Figure 1. Summary of the Strategic Plan
Created 12/1/08: Information provided by the ITD Planning & Strategy Office