At its 2005 Annual Conference here in San Diego this week, the National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO) named Matt Miszewski, CIO of the state of Wisconsin, its new president for the 2006 term. Teresa Takai, CIO of the state of Michigan, was named as vice president.
Miszewski has already begun his mission, spreading the word about the need for change at the state CIO level.
"We're developing the agenda right now, and while at this point I don't presuppose any programmatic activity, I do presuppose an orientation toward activity and action," he says. "What I want to know is what the other state CIOs are doing and what their business pressure points are, then how NASCIO can work together to satisfy some of those pressure points."
In addition to the main technology priorities NASCIO will be concentrating on, Miszewski says the organization's federal agenda may be seeing some changes in the coming year.
"We have two very good discussions happening right now on the federal agenda. One is, should we go to the Hill with a very focused agenda and a specific ask for Congress to deliver on?" he asks. "The second discussion is, are we spending too much time concentrating on Congress and not enough time concentrating on the agencies which really control state CIOs' destiny more directly?"
He points to the policies of such agencies as the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security, which have a day-to-day effect and are a multiplier in terms of costs at the state level.
"That's what we're struggling with right now--should we simply bypass the federal legislative agenda in favor of an administrative agenda?" Miszewski says.
One of the keys to change, he says, is the transition away from technology for technology's sake.
"No one cares if you're providing a fantastic IS solution; they care that educational outcomes are better or the graduation rate in Milwaukee increases or the streets are safe and the economy is growing," Miszewski says. "If you can talk about IT in those terms, magically your governor is going to mention what you're doing."
But regardless of the technology priorities or the federal agenda strategy, change is definitely the underlying theme of Miszewski's presidency.
"[Wisconsin] Gov. [Jim] Doyle has been a fantastic governor for me, for technology and for revolutionizing state government, so I've got that benefit," he explains. "I feel I can speak aggressively for the need for change, and I feel I'm speaking for the majority of the state CIOs."