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Texas gathered tigers

For Texas CDO Ed Kelly, the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the “collaboration effect” in government, especially among different state agencies with similar missions.

Kelly leads a data-focused “tiger team” of developers and health care professionals from the state’s health agencies and private vendor partners that has taken responsibility for upgrading the state’s “data ecosystem,” he said, ensuring laboratories can share their COVID-19 test data with the state. It’s not Texas’ first tiger team (there’s also a cloud tiger team), but Kelly said that the group was critical to ensuring the state’s data-sharing tools could keep up with the spread of the virus. 

“Statewide, what we saw was a willingness to share resources, knowledge and best practices within multiple areas across the state,” Kelly said during Wednesday’s event. “A lot of this was planned, but what we had to do was accelerate. We had to migrate data, bring in and upgrade systems and get this thing running in a way that could consume the volume of the Texas laboratory numbers that were coming in.”

Kelly also said that securing bulk purchasing agreements with the state’s regular vendors over the past six months has been crucial to providing more than 130 agencies with remote-work equipment, like headsets, phones and laptops. The Texas Department of Information Resources spent $12 million to purchase and distribute 14,000 devices.