For Rhode Island, 2019 will be the year of digitization

Rhode Island Chief Information Officer Bijay Kumar has focused on the basics of his state’s IT infrastructure since being appointed to his position in the summer of 2017. But that work is maturing and the time has arrived for advances in workforce modernization and experimentation with new technologies like blockchain, he tells StateScoop in a video interview.

“We have a very good foundation, so I think the next year for me is going to be the year of digitization,” Kumar says. “It’s going to be the year of transformation.”

He pointed to a critical need for new technology for cybersecurity, the potential of using recordkeeping technologies like blockchain for permitting and other “legal stuff,” and hiring more data scientists to ensure the state government is employing a modern workforce.

Kumar tells StateScoop he has spent the last 18 months heading the state Division of Information Technology, focused primarily on the “foundational aspects” of state IT: connectivity, procurement, improving customer satisfaction. And he says in many cases he’s been successful — the state’s vendor management team has helped save Rhode Island millions.

But a solid foundation, he says, will now allow his office to try new things while protecting the state’s networks from an “ever-evolving threat.”

Kumar on his top priorities:

On his team’s greatest accomplishment: 

On cybersecurity:

On workforce diversity: 

On exciting new technologies:

These videos were produced by StateScoop at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers’ annual conference in San Diego, California, in October 2018.