Plan Development Process
In developing this plan, representatives from the public and private sector were engaged to establish direction for the strategic priorities that support the plan’s statewide vision and goals. Government technology and business leaders were also consulted to gain their perspectives on emerging technology management issues facing the state.
In an effort to gather broad stakeholder input, DIR interviewed agency and higher education chief executive officers and information resources managers, conducted online surveys, and hosted online IRM and state advisory committee discussion forums. Each of the plan’s major stakeholder groups was consulted at least once, and throughout this process, the results of this data gathering were reported back to the state advisory committee to determine input into the process and content of this plan.
The 2012–2016 State Strategic Plan reflects a broad range of input from Texas government, institutions of higher education, federal and local government, and the private sector.
This plan was developed with guidance from the Governor’s Office and the Quality Assurance Team, composed of the State Auditor’s Office, Legislative Budget Board, and Department of Information Resources. The governor’s vision and mission statements for state agency strategic planning were leveraged to develop the technology vision and goals for this plan.
State Advisory Committee
Texas Government Code 2054.091(b), requires DIR, with the approval of its Board of Directors, to appoint an advisory committee to provide input into the preparation of the state strategic plan. The 2011 advisory committee—which was composed of business and technology leaders from state, federal, and local government; public and higher education; and the private sector—met to provide guidance and input into major plan elements. The advisory committee provided additional input through an online discussion forum.
Business Executive Leadership Council
This council is composed of executive directors and commissioners from representatives of the agencies participating in the state’s data center services initiative. DIR met with the council members to update them on the plan development process and gather their feedback.
State Agencies and Institutions of Higher Education
State agencies and public institutions of higher education provided multiple sources of input into the development of this plan. Information was provided through agency strategic plans, the IR Deployment Review, and an online survey of agency CEOs and IRMs. A focus group of selected IRM’s also contributed more detailed input toward the plan’s development.
Summary of Results
Trends and Drivers of Change
Before considering priority strategies for the state, the Advisory Committee reflected on existing and developing constraints and opportunities evident in today’s technology, business, economic, and political climate. This initial assessment offered a foundation that informed the deliberation of the Advisory Committee and framed the parameters of their planning effort.
Texans expect a satisfying experience when connecting with their government. Whether seeking services, obtaining information, or conducting business transactions, citizens expect that a trusted environment is present and that state government provides timely, reliable, and straightforward access to services and information. As Texans have pursued greater engagement in democratic processes, demands for transparency and access to government data and information, in a format that can be analyzed and aggregated, have increased.
The current business environment is impacted significantly by an economic climate with growing uncertainty leading to business and government cost cutting. With predictions that oil prices will continue to climb within the next 18 months, and other surges in raw materials and commodities, this trend is not expected to change in the near term. Unemployment rates have increased, leading to underemployment of skilled workers in the service sector and a growing need for workforce development programs to retrain and refocus the workforce. The traditional retail sector is suffering as more large distributors make their goods available online. While online retail is on the rise, state and local taxing authorities have experienced an erosion of their tax base.
The local, state, national and international economic climate remains stormy with rising uncertainty about recovery. While the economic downturn has decreased the financial standing of government, there is a growing need for citizen services, particularly for those impacted by the fragile economy. The increased demand for citizen services offers an opportunity for government to think innovatively about the types of services they provide, and how they can best be delivered. Despite the poor economic environment, there are also opportunities for start-ups, with innovative business plans or solutions.
The budget shortfalls at federal and state levels force government to choose among competing needs. Budget cutbacks are forcing all areas of government to downsize, reducing government services for citizens. At the same time, state government is exploring ways to entice the private sector to invest in Texas, through corporate relocation or branch office expansion.
There is long-standing misperception between government and business about each other’s mission and operations, though in reality they are quite similar. Citizens, in particular, expect the same immediate service from government that they receive from the private sector, but are reluctant to provide the funding for capital or operational expenditures needed for those government services.
Government technology must meet the demands of citizens by offering anytime anywhere services. The challenge for government is to refocus their technology spending on those applications and services meet the growing expectations of citizens, while shedding legacy technologies that are increasingly obsolete. Cloud computing, open source applications, and social networking are among the important emerging technology trends cited in recent studies. At the federal level, innovative strategies are being pursued to make government technology more efficient and service friendly. Networking technology is being transformed by the transition to IPv6, in response to the depleting pool of unallocated IP addresses, and also delivering enhanced opportunities for multimedia transmission and data security. Broadband technologies have opened up the Internet with greater bandwidth and video applications for both entertainment and information—including government information. State and local governments continue to be concerned about broadband availability for all its citizens—whether in urban or rural regions, in order to fully utilize online government services.
The past biennium has introduced several areas of uncertainty to government technology; including new federal mandates and regulatory uncertainty, the need for increased workforce development. The overall impact of healthcare reform in unclear, but it offers a new focus on government health information technology (HIT) as a means to increase efficiencies in healthcare management. Recent privacy issues have led to a growing concern about the liability of government and its handling of data and citizen private information.
Development of Top Ten Priorities
To develop the top priorities for the 2012–2016 Plan, DIR examined strategic plans from the federal government and other states, reports and input from industry analysts, and trade associations.
Beginning with 23 potential strategic priorities, DIR established criteria to narrow the list to a manageable, actionable and discrete set of ten priorities, including
- cross-checking with the previous plan
- combining similar priorities
- looking for broad impact across all agencies
- analyzing recent legislation
From the initial list of 23, ten priorities were finalized with support from the advisory committee.
DIR conducted a survey across Texas state agencies. Of the agencies that were surveyed, DIR received a significant number of responses—57 from agency IRMs and 39 from agency CEOs or other business area representatives.
After completing the survey and analyzing survey and additional input, DIR re-evaluated the priorities, separating Data Management and Data Sharing into two distinct categories. Additionally, Workplace Productivity, which predominately reflected a need to support a mobile workforce was included under Mobility. Additionally, the Shared Infrastructure priority was renamed Infrastructure.
Of these top ten priorities, five are also included in the list of top technology and policy priorities for 2012 identified by other state CIOs, according to NASCIO, including
- Shared Infrastructure
The Plan priorities remain unranked because business needs and technology plans of agencies vary considerably—one priority may be extremely relevant within one organization, but have no direct impact on another.