In September 2016 the State of Wisconsin received an A- in the Center for Digital Government’s Digital States Survey, along with first place in the Adaptive Leadership category. Adaptive Leadership reflects our ability to align the state’s technology investment strategies with the top policy priorities of the Governor and Legislature. It is truly a barometer of state agencies being able to work together toward common goals. In Wisconsin, we now view enterprise collaboration as our everyday way of doing business – it has guided our data center consolidation efforts, our recent enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation, our cybersecurity strategies, and our e-government program, just to cite a few examples. I firmly believe in the potential of enterprise collaboration to keep us moving forward.

The cornerstone of our governance model is the ITESC – the Information Technology Executive Steering Committee. This group approves all enterprise IT initiatives and ensures they match the Governor’s priorities and agency business needs. The ITESC consists of the State CIO and deputy secretaries of the nine largest cabinet agencies. Meanwhile, the Agency CIO Steering Committee (ACSC), which includes CIOs from the same agencies represented on the ITESC, serves to operationalize the strategies approved and sponsored by the ITESC. With advance analysis of enterprise IT issues conducted by the State CIO and ACSC, the ITESC gets to evaluate and decide on clearly articulated and actionable options.

Several other interagency groups conduct important preliminary analyses for the ITESC. Our successful ERP project, STAR, was implemented in just over two years, despite an extensive scope – it replaced 140-plus systems with one comprehensive system. The STAR Decision Council, consisting primarily of agency division administrators, reviewed any customization requests and major configuration decisions prior to them going to the ITESC. Ultimately, the ITESC determined only three customizations to the off-the-shelf software were necessary, thanks to the Decision Council’s earlier research.

Likewise, we have an eGovernment Business Management Team that provides oversight for the state of Wisconsin’s self-funded portal contract and advises the ITESC on the annual e-government business plan. Since the state’s partnership with its self-funded portal vendor began in 2013, the e-government program has generated more than 50 cost-effective, user-friendly applications.

Cybersecurity presents an even greater challenge for productive collaboration, but fortunately, we have colleagues in local government, utilities, and private-sector organizations who were willing to step up. Beginning in mid-2014, representatives from 16 critical infrastructure sector owners in the state (e.g., banking, energy, transportation, food and agriculture, water systems) began meeting to design a Cyber Disruption Response Strategy – a framework to help infrastructure owners and operators function in public/private partnerships to respond to cyber disruption events. Our strategy was published in October 2015.

The past few years have required intensive work and participation from our enterprise partners. But the positive assessment we received from the Digital States Survey was a welcome reminder from an impartial source of all we’ve accomplished recently through a collaborative mindset and effective governance mechanisms. And we have every intention of maintaining that momentum.