Digital Transformation Blog - Day 2 of 12: Step 1, Focus on Transformation

6 key steps slide

The State of Illinois is a $60 billion, 60,000 employee organization. Digital transformation for an organization of this scale requires complete focus and buy-in from the CEO through the rank and file employees. Governor Rauner had a very clear mandate for his leadership team at the beginning of his term in 2015: "I want to create a 21st century enterprise for our customers and for that, Illinois needs to become efficient, accessible, competitive and compassionate".

It was our turn now to define the strategy, deliverables and an execution plan. For the first 30 days, I went on a listening tour. I met with as many customers (agency directors, business owners and suppliers) as possible. Listening helped to build a clear story (strategy and deliverables) and tell it like a story-teller (execute the plan and communicate) to get buy-in from key stakeholders and build credibility.

It became clear that we needed to do a major technology overhaul, while ensuring we are keeping pace with today's technology. Our oldest technology was built in 1974 and it was still operational. We had a 45-year journey to make in 4 years, starting in 2015 through 2019. So "45-in-4" became our mantra. We divided this journey into 3 steps:

  1. Improving the business of IT
  2. Improving customer service through IT
  3. Leapfrog to a leadership position by becoming the first Smart state in the country

Execution of this three-step journey required action-oriented and innovation-hungry leadership that was seeing business as peers and customers.

In step 1, we consolidated 38 IT silos within the state into the newly formed Innovation & Technology organization. We operate a $1 billion organization as a business – with a Board of Directors, led by governance from operational committees, well-defined KPIs, scorecards for leadership and regular Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs). We approach every initiative in 75-day sprints with associated business cases and return on investment and place them on an enterprise PMO portal.

We also doubled-down on Cybersecurity with the first enterprise CISO for the State of Illinois, encrypting almost all PII and having the first comprehensive cybersecurity strategy (here).

We will cover step 2 at length in one of the future blogs. In step 3, we identified "becoming a Smarter State using IoT and other latest technologies" as our focus for a leapfrog initiative. With concerted efforts – including white papers, internal IoT Center of Excellence, external Smarter Illinois Advisory Board, etc – and a laser focus, Illinois is now recognized as the pioneer and leader in the "Smarter State" concept and vision. You can learn more about Illinois' Smarter State efforts at the following links:

Today, Tuesday, December 6, 2016, we are in day 2 of our Smarter State workshop that will help build a roadmap of execution for Illinois to become the first smarter state in the country. Vertical partnerships with cities and the federal government, horizontal partnerships with internal state agencies, external partnerships with the industry and academia, and national/international partnerships with the National Governors' Association and the Indian State of Telangana are allowing us to manage this complex, multi-stakeholder engagement around IoT and Smarter State.

With a laser focus on transformation, Illinois moved from being in the bottom quarter to the top 3rd of 50 states in smart and effective use of technology for better outcomes.