On January 25, 2016, Governor Rauner's leadership led to the signing of an Executive Order establishing the Department of Innovation & Technology (DoIT). A great deal of strategy and planning went into this decision, but for DoIT the work was only just beginning.
Hardik Bhatt was chosen as Illinois CIO, Secretary Designate of DoIT and "Head Coach" for digital transformation in Illinois. Not only was there a seemingly endless list of high priority tasks, but there was also a group of employees who felt unsure and concerned about the future of their jobs. It was imperative to hit the ground running, while also reassuring and inspiring our staff.
Communication has been critical to changing the culture of IT at the State of Illinois. Building a team approach to both provide and receive information was vital. The process of team building began by having regular meetings of agency CIOs, Town Hall meetings for all employees and making the IT transformation process completely transparent. This created a foundation of trust that is crucial during times of change.
At the first CIO Council meeting, Governor Rauner shared his vision and set the tone for what was ahead for DoIT. For some agency CIOs, who had worked with the state for more than 30 years, it was their first experience to hear a sitting governor address the state's technology leadership. This demonstrated, from the beginning of DoIT's transformation, that something was different this time and that the journey was important to Illinois, starting with the governor.
Communicating the vision and involving our staff in the process of digital transformation in Illinois has been key to building a strong team at DoIT. In the words of Coach K, "Effective teamwork begins and ends with communication."