Accelerate Illinois’ Modernization – a 30-day blog spree: Day 3 morning blog – Early technology assessment

We have a guest blogger today – Mike Wons, the first statewide CTO. We hired Mike in August after a 30-year career in the private sector as CIO and CTO for large global and smaller start-up companies. Mike joined us after spending the last 6 years as President and CEO of CellTrak Technologies, a leading provider of mobile SaaS based technology solutions used by home healthcare and hospice providers across the US, Canada and the UK. He is focusing on current state of technology. In a future blog, he will talk about the IllinoisFIRST IT strategy, describing the future state.


Mike Wons, CTO, State of Illinois

We are working collectively to modernize technology across Illinois. This modernization effort is not a destination but a multi-threaded journey as we look at how technology can help enable Governor Rauner’s vision for improving cost effective services for citizens and businesses across the state.

The State has built up quite a portfolio of applications and computing infrastructure over the past 40+ years. These applications serve important segments of our current engagements with citizens and businesses 24*7*365. The applications, while modern when they were launched, have aged over time and have become a burden to us as a state as we work to be a more competitive and high quality place to live, work and raise our families. This 40+ year’s technical debt has also built up a significant set of silos of data and many applications are duplicative across the state. Also due to the aged aspect of solutions we have a higher level of cyber threat than is desirable.

Across the state we have approximately 2,700 different and unique systems, 20+ data centers, multiple pods of non related petabytes of data within agency silos and currently have 70%+ of state workload running up on the mainframe (vast majority with IMS and DB2 databases).

While this may paint somewhat of a dim view of technology across Illinois, the reality is brighter. We have a strong workforce of 1,700 in-house technologists that keep all of these systems running. They are simply waiting for us, as a state, to unleash their creativity.

Our IllinoisFIRST strategy will provide a channel for this creativity. IllinoisFIRST strategy is based on turning the current IT inside out and operating as a preferred one stop, one entity and one voice across the state for Information Technology. Focused on “SMART Citizen” enablement we are on our way to collectively improving services and experiences of all residents, businesses, visitors and “everything” in, around and across the state.

Details on IllinoisFIRST IT strategy soon…


Thank you, Mike.

As Mike alluded to, his next post will drill down further on IllinoisFIRST and the key technology enablement levers as we help accelerate the modernization of Illinois.

Stay tuned for a "Fridays at movies" blog :-).