California's New CIO Ready to Bring State IT into the 21st Century

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-03-05 Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Teri Takai has taken a year to evaluate the state of the state's IT structure. She is now starting to make decisions on a long-term direction for a jurisdiction of 10,000 IT staff workers, 130 divisional CIOs and 38 million citizens -- one that represents, in fact, the world's eighth-largest economy.

HANNOVER, Germany -- California CIO Teri Takai might as well be running the IT operation for an entire country.

After being named to her position in January 2008 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Takai has taken a year to evaluate the state of the state's IT structure. She is now starting to make decisions on a long-term direction for a jurisdiction of 10,000 IT staff workers, 130 divisional CIOs and 38 million citizens-one that represents, in fact, the world's eighth-largest economy.

If you are an IT vendor dealing in virtually any kind of data center-related product or services, you might want to consider giving Takai's office a call in Sacramento. California has a lot of overhauling to do, and it will need good companies to help it do the job. It will spend about $3 billion a year for the next five to 10 years in this sector.

The state does its massive amount of work using technology that is now a generation old. The work-everything from processing driver's licenses to coordinating law enforcement records to paying unemployment checks-has been getting completed day in and day out, but now it is time for a badly needed refreshment.

For example, the human resources division is still using a COBOL-based data system from about 1975, when the state population was half what it is today.

Due to the recession, unemployment insurance claims are way up, and the ancient IT system that processes those claims is barely able to keep up with the workload.

The total number of data centers located around the state will be reduced as the infrastructure becomes consolidated, using new virtualization and storage deduplication software. New servers that perform heavier workloads and use less power will eventually be coming online.

Better data center management tools will need to be put into place. That also will mean new software to manage and control the faster, more secure networks. Unified communications will be coming online. Upgraded security is in the plan.

We're talking about a massive changeover during the next five years to 10 years. Takai is expecting the first $1.5 billion in state funding for the job to be available soon. It is awaiting committee and legislative approval, but Takai didn't appear concerned about it, despite the state's-and the world's-current economic woes.



 
 
 
 
Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
 
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters























 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rocket Fuel