CHICAGO, Illinois, October 6, 2015 – State government need to use “Smart Cities” information technology to leapfrog to leadership among competing states, said Hardik Bhatt, chief information officer for the state of Illinois, speaking on Wednesday at the City Club here.
Bhatt, the former CIO for the City of Chicago, left municipal government for the private sector, where he managed global standards-based projects for Cisco Systems. For example, he worked to help build Hamburg into a leading port in Northern Europe, and with Brazil to help create systems to help manage large-scale public events like the 2014 World Cup and the forthcoming 2016 Summer Olympics.
Entering state government with Gov. Bruce Rauner, elected November 2014, Bhatt has established a four-year process to accelerate state adoption of “internet of things” technologies into state government.
The state intends to integrate working group collaborations among 80 state agencies, building one enterprise platform for many functions.
Tactically, the state will create 20 periods of 75 days each. Bhatt has had two such time-periods in his first six months in office; the goal is to use each session to make Illinois the most efficient, flexible and competitive state for quality of life and economic development in the global digital age.
Bhatt also addressed getting all governmental applications on mobile broadband platforms, on integrated cloud environments, and partnering with private cloud services.
He wants to move to a “demand side” focus on the customer, rather than an “supply side” focus on information technology vendors. He also addressed increased collaboration with private sector companies, statewide collaboration forums, and in working with universities on fostering technology talent.
When asked about the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development study showing the mediocre performance of Greater Chicago among Global Cities, he described close working relationship between the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and nearby states of Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Kentucky on digital economy matters.
Indiana’s statewide information technology management shows lesser costs for delivery of services, he said, driven by more integrated procurement and management.
Asked which states served as models of information technology integration, he highlighted Michigan, Georgia, and New York State.