State CIOs Climb the Ranks

State chief information officers have progressed rapidly to positions where

they can have a real impact on how states serve citizens, according to the

president of the National Association of State Information Resource Executives.

More than half of state CIOs report directly to governors or hold cabinet-level

positions, said Otto Doll, commissioner of South Dakota's information and

technology bureau, while speaking in Washington in March.

Such power positions enable those CIOs to work with policy and operations

people to find ways that information technology can make the government

work better, he said.

"In the increasingly technology- reliant world we live in, the CIO serves

as the government's information management leader and key strategist to

the decision points facing our political leaders," Doll said. "The role

of aligning technology to achieve government program goals has never been

so crucial to effective government. The CIO plays an essential role for

making information technology work for government."

South Dakota is an example, Doll said. For several years, South Dakota has

allowed citizens to download forms from its World Wide Web site, print them

out and mail, e-mail or fax them in. The state has slowly added the ability

to fill out and submit forms online, but Doll recently initiated a program

to offer electronic submission for 80 percent to 90 percent of the state's

forms in the next 18 months, he said.

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