Letter from Governor Bruce Rauner

January 25, 2016

We continue to experience a digital revolution. Information is accessible at any location, at any time, in many forms, using a multitude of devices. We are more efficient, more informed, and better connected.

Unfortunately, our State government not only fails to lead this innovation, but today finds itself deficient compared to many other state governments and the private sector. Despite significant spending, many State agencies rely on out-of-date technology. State agencies pursue agency-specific solutions, which are costly, redundant, and not interoperable and fail to adequately address our technology needs. State systems remain vulnerable to cyberattack, placing private information about State employees and their dependents, consumers of State services, taxpayers, and the residents and businesses of Illinois at risk to hackers, terrorists, and criminals.

We can and must do better. So today I am issuing an Executive Order to bring together the States information technology resources into a single, modern agency: the Department of Innovation and Technology.

An Uncoordinated Approach

Each State agency has been largely responsible for its own technology. This dispersion has led to the development of redundant, non-interoperable systems across State government. State agencies use thousands of disparate systems, built over the past 40 years or longer, including more than 400 enterprise resource planning systems, of which 263 systems are dedicated to finance alone. Data are isolated in agency-specific applications and hardware environments across the State, so agencies cannot easily share data to more efficiently serve business and residents; identify waste, fraud, and abuse; or save taxpayer resources.

Illinois lacks a statewide strategic technology plan. Resources are not being deployed efficiently or effectively to enable a well-run government capable of providing a high level of service, transparency, and accountability. Agency priorities are disconnected from an overall technology strategy.

The State employs many talented technology professionals, but these employees are underutilized and not provided with sufficient tools or support. Training and career opportunities are limited within isolated agencies, which hampers their professional growth. Innovation is limited to isolated pockets. We need to provide employees with better resources and career opportunities.

Prior Efforts to Address this Problem

The State has confronted this problem before, but with limited success. In 1999, Governor George Ryan issued Executive Order 1999-05 to establish the Illinois Technology Office within the Office of the Governor (now known as the office of the Chief Information Officer) to "coordinate the development and deployment of technology networks and initiatives throughout the state." While the Chief Information Officer has been instrumental in encouraging agencies to collaborate and to establish common standards and policies, key decisions about procurement, priorities, technologies to deploy, and operations have remained with the agencies.

In 2003, the General Assembly authorized the Department of Central Management Services (CMS) to direct the transfer and centralization of information technology functions from the State agencies under the jurisdiction of the Governor to CMS. In final consideration in the Senate, Senator Steve Rauschenberger proclaimed the bill to be "historic" and "truly groundbreaking."

Under that authority, CMS consolidated some, but not all, information technology functions into its Bureau of Communications and Computer Services. The results have been disappointing: many agencies continue to maintain their own infrastructure; almost all agencies continue to support their own software and application development; more than 70% of technology spending remains outside of CMS; and agencies in aggregate employ twice as many information technology personnel outside of CMS (approximately 1,200) as are employed by CMS (approximately 500). Consolidation did not happen in any meaningful way, resulting in minimal savings or improvement to services. There have been no significant efficiencies or cost savings as a result of those prior efforts.

The 2003 legislation was well-intended, but it was not well-executed. Consolidation was, and continues to be, the best path forward. But a well-executed plan requires a complete consolidation of functions, personnel, infrastructure, and data, as well as more attention and prominence than a bureau of CMS can provide.

Pooling Resources to Cut Costs and Improve Performance

The State spends more than $800 million each year on technology, which places it among the top five states by technology expenditures. Most of that spending is incurred by eight large agencies. Many of those agencies are investing in modern technologies, particularly where federal resources are available, such as for processing Medicaid claims, paying for child care, providing public safety solutions, and integrating eligibility processes for a wide variety of social services.

But despite some isolated, successful investments, most of our resources are spent maintaining outdated legacy systems. In one striking example, the Department of Human Services continues to use a mainframe-based system developed in 1974. These systems are more expensive to maintain than modern systems, do not support modern business practices or regulatory requirements, and are more susceptible to security breaches. Maintenance expenses crowd out investments in new solutions that would be more cost effective over the long term.

Much of this waste is directly attributable to the redundant development of enterprise systems, such as for finance, human resources, and payroll. Consolidating technology functions will allow the development of statewide enterprise solutions, saving resources that could be used for other purposes. Pooled resources position the State to develop user friendly, customer-facing platforms for businesses and residents that will improve service delivery and efficiency. Prioritizing technology needs ensures any necessary spending is justified by specific critical needs.

Securing Data to Protect the Public

For all the benefits of the digital revolution, cyberterrorism and cybercrime are real threats. The State obtains and stores sensitive, private information about millions of people, including Social Security numbers, addresses, bank account information, and other personal information.

Yet, like any large organization, the State is vulnerable to data breaches. Hackers were able to steal personal information of 22.1 million people from the federal governments Office of Personnel Management in 2015, while prominent breaches of companies like Target and Home Depot have cost hundreds of millions of dollars. In 2015, the State of Illinois experienced at least three instances of data exposure. We expect that this threat will continue to grow rapidly, and we must take whatever steps we can to protect the public and to secure data in our possession.

Our risk is worsened by the multitude of systems and the lack of central responsibility and controls to prevent a breach. Consolidating technology functions, including cybersecurity functions, will enable us to consolidate systems and associated processes and to enhance data security across all agencies.

Promoting Interoperability for Better Service

Many residents and businesses are served across multiple State agencies. Yet often those agencies, which rely on diverse and non-interoperable systems, are unable to share information, resulting in duplicative, non-shareable, unsecure data. Currently an agency is not able to take a 360-degree view of a constituent or the services provided to that constituent.

Taking a complete view of our constituents will reduce costs and enable better service delivery. Illinois residents and businesses should be able to use one customer profile to access information and services from multiple agencies and systems. In the case of healthcare and human services, for example, this unified view of the customer will enable the State to refer residents and their case records seamlessly to local service providers.

Creating a Modern Technology Agency

Technology has become too integral to government operations to be an administrative after-thought. We can no longer afford to spread responsibility for technology among dozens of agencies, with no central strategy or operational accountability for how we develop and maintain our information technology systems across State government. Nor is it appropriate for this responsibility to be assigned to a bureau of one of the largest departments of State government CMS which is also responsible for property management, procurement, labor relations, personnel, and a variety of other functions. Information technology is so prominent that its headcount exceeds the headcount for all other functions performed by CMS combined.

We must also identify and launch new innovations in business processes, customer service delivery, and technology in order to keep pace with fast-changing technology and the expectations of all who live in and do business with the State of Illinois. Currently, innovation within the State occurs only in pockets. We need a central agency responsible for harnessing these innovations from both within and outside of the State to enhance our competitiveness and service delivery.

Executive Order 2016-01 establishes a central, modern technology agency the Department of Innovation and Technology which will coordinate, develop, maintain, and operate our information technology systems, applications, and data across all State agencies under the jurisdiction of the Governor. The Department will serve and be responsible to the needs of those agencies, and those agencies will have meaningful input into the Departments work.

This strategy has been commonly deployed in the public and private sectors. The City of Chicago deployed its own Department of Innovation and Technology in 2008 to serve the needs of its departments and City Council. Twenty-nine states have also consolidated technology functions in central departments.

Together we have an opportunity to transform our technology systems, protect private information from cyberattack, reduce costs, and provide better service to Illinois residents and businesses across all of our agencies. In a time when State government is being asked to do more with less, this technology transformation is critical to our States success.

Sincerely,

 

Bruce Rauner
GOVERNOR