Cover: Effective Use of Information Technology

Effective Use of Information Technology

Lessons about State Governance Structures and Processes

Published 2003

by Robert H. Anderson, Tora K. Bikson, Rosalind Lewis, Joy S. Moini, Susan G. Straus


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Created in 1995, the California Department of Information Technology (DOIT) was to provide leadership, guidance, and oversight for IT initiatives and projects throughout the state. The complexity of the state's governance and other circumstances created challenges for DOIT as it attempted to achieve its mission. In 2002, the agency's sunset clause was allowed to take effect and it ceased to exist. To determine what lessons can be learned from other states with exemplary practices in IT governance, the authors conducted case studies in Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. They identified a number of common factors (which did not characterize California's approach to IT governance) that are likely to account for successful IT programs, including: (1) executive leaders who are champions of IT and who emphasize its value for achieving state missions; (2) a management style that is participative and collaborative, that emphasizes "carrots" over "sticks," and that evidences a commitment to employees during periods of change; and (3) a modular and incremental approach to development and implementation of IT initiatives. Finally the authors make recommendations for a new agency of information technology in California and describe a set of challenges that agency will face.

The research described in this report was conducted by RAND Science and Technology for the Bureau of State Audits.

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