Collaboration, clear goals keys for modernization success, say IT officials

Technology modernization projects can be long and complex, but state and city officials agreed there are some best practices for improving their chances of success.
katie savage cybertalks
Katie Savage speaks at CyberTalks 2022 in Washington. (Pepe Gomez / PixelMe Studio / Scoop News Group)

State and city technology officials at StateScoop’s IT Modernization Summit on Tuesday agreed that collaboration across agencies and beginning with a clear goal are two essential practices for ensuring successful projects.

“I think we’ve all learned as leaders that without effective organizational change management our transformation efforts will fail,” Virginia Chief Information Officer Robert Osmond said during the event.

Chicago Chief Technology Officer Nick Lucius said digital transformation doesn’t happen overnight.

“It becomes about priority and it becomes, I think, really important about getting the IT and technology teams synced up with not only executive leadership, but departmental leadership as a whole for how are we dealing with all these,” Lucius said. “How are we aligning all the missions of all our various departments and pushing our agenda for resonance with technology?”


Lucius said his background in development and experience using various IT products has informed his approach to change management when working with other agencies.

“I’m just picturing myself in that agency being like, ‘Why am I going to do this? Why am I going to spend my time helping out those IT people with their change management? It’s because I care and I want it to happen and I know the reasons why it needs to happen,'” he said.

Maryland CIO Katie Savage said that in her experience gaining support for projects requires getting her team involved from the onset.

“Let’s make sure, before we build anything, that we really understand the business problem and understand … where are we trying to go as a city or a state and what is it that we’re trying to solve,” Savage said.

But when it comes to modernizing in order to embrace emerging technologies, like artificial intelligence, panelists said it’s important to provide clear guidance on how they can be used and updates on the latest developments.


Savage said her team has been trying to strike a balance in the rulemaking process between considering ethics and safety.

Osmond, the Virginia CIO, agreed that agencies should embrace emerging technologies with modernization efforts and learn how those tools can be optimized to accomplish goals.

“We have to realize that these technologies are here to serve and then solve problems,” Osmond said. “We are here in these roles that we have to solve problems and make the lives of our citizens and our constituents better. I think we need to make sure that we stay very well grounded in the mission that we’re trying to execute and then identify ways that these tremendous technologies can come and integrate into what we’re doing to make us do that even better.”

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