Jim Bryant | Tech demos welcome

Interview with Jim Bryant, South Carolina CIO

When Jim Bryant took over Jan. 9 as South Carolina's state chief information officer, the Palmetto state was in the final phases of implementing the South Carolina Enterprise Information System. The system will integrate databases, applications and interfaces across state agencies, which should make the various groups more efficient.

But Bryant has plenty more on his plate, including keeping track of 300 IT employees and a budget of more than $66 million.

As the holder of five graduate degrees, including a doctorate in environmental engineering from the Union Institute in Cincinnati, the retired Air Force Lt. Col. and former technology executive?he worked at both EDS Corp. and AT&T Government Solutions Inc.?is uniquely positioned to tackle the CIO's duties.

Bryant, who reports to the state's Budget and Control Board, also is responsible for the state's data center and telecommunications services. Bryant's office also oversees the state's IT procurement.

Bryant spoke recently with Washington Technology about disaster preparedness, major statewide IT initiatives, and building public-private relationships.

WT: What do you see as the role of IT in disaster preparedness, response and recovery?

Bryant: Establishing communications and interoperability among local, state and federal emergency response personnel.

WT: How do you plan to use IT for disaster preparedness and recovery in relation to natural disasters this year? What's South Carolina's current strategy in this regard?

Bryant: We use our Palmetto Network (800 MHz radios) to communicate with public services, law enforcement and emergency management personnel across the state.

WT: In what areas can the private sector assist you the most right now?

Bryant: Technology demonstrations of upcoming innovations in security and enterprise management.

WT: What are two or three of the most important IT initiatives South Carolina will pursue in 2006-2007, and how much will the state spend on those initiatives?

Bryant: The most important initiatives are an enterprise resource planning system for human resources and finance, and an education system to improve the quality of our education across South Carolina. These opportunities present potentially millions of dollars to the public and private sectors.

WT: Are there any IT enterprise initiatives under way?

Bryant: The largest enterprise initiative we have is the South Carolina Enterprise Information System. This is state agency wide and will cost about $8 million.

WT: What are some of the do's and don'ts for IT companies doing business with your state? How should they approach project opportunities or initiate a business relationship and dialog with you, the state CIO, as well as the agencies?

Bryant: The do's and don'ts with the State IT Procurement are clearly identified on their web site at http://www.cio.sc.gov. Businesses can approach and establish a relationship through the CIO's office directly at 803-896-0222.

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