California commission urges new tech division

California needs to establish a new technology division and consolidate and standardize tech platforms across state government in order to function effectively, a commission appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recommended this week.

The recommendations were among 1,200 contained in the four-volume California Performance Review report delivered to the governor Tuesday. Schwarzenegger established the commission in February and charged it to find ways reform and revitalize California in the face of the staggering budget shortfalls in recent years.

The recommendations could possibly save California $32 billion over the next five years, the commission said.

The commission said that fundamental "policy failures" have severely restricted California's government. The report cataloged a series of missteps ranging from an ability to report information and use of incompatible systems to an ongoing lack of appreciation of technology improvements and mismanagement of high-profile contracts.

"Despite California's status as the sixth largest economy in the world and the birthplace of the tech revolution, the state government uses no common technology standards and cannot exchange information between ? or even within ? its departments," the commission wrote.

To achieve the productivity the state government needs, the commission recommended the state consolidate and align state information technology management, use technology to support California's citizens and businesses, and standardize technology platforms to efficiently manage common, internal business functions.

As for the new technology division, the governor would appoint a state technology officer who would be accountable to the state chief information officer for the division's compliance with technology strategic plans, policies, standards and performance measures.

A series of both general and specific actions related to California IT reform are set forth in the report at http://www.report.cpr.ca.gov/cprrpt/issrec/stops/it/index.htm.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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