Led by State CIO Teri Takai, this was an impressive year for California’s IT community and the OCIO as we worked to achieve many things that helped us carry out our mission. The Governor and Legislature created the agency in 2008 to provide oversight and statewide coordination of information technology projects. Not to miss an opportunity to promote some of our accomplishments, here’s a look back at 2009:

In January, Governor Schwarzenegger announced a plan to Increase Government Efficiency by organizing the State’s Information Technology program. The plan will achieve greater coordination and efficiency while reducing costs – saving the state approximately $1.5 billion over the next five years. It integrated four agencies – the Office of the State Chief Information Officer (OCIO), Office of Information Security and Privacy Protection (not including the privacy program), Department of Technology Services and the Department of General Services – Telecommunications Division – into an expanded OCIO.

Also In January, State CIO Teri Takai released the Information Technology Strategic Plan as part of our mandate to provide IT leadership. The plan provides the vision and strategies for leading California state government as we work to overhaul the technology infrastructure and transform the way Californians will interact with their state government. An entire website was erected to host the volumes of information provided by working groups made up of IT professionals throughout the state, including agency information officers and individual department chief information officers.

In February, organized by Legislative Director Jon Dickinson, the OCIO hosted one of two town hall style forums to facilitate a dialogue with the vendor community and give them the ability to come to us with projects and emerging technologies that can help us better deliver services to Californians. The forum was so successful, a second was held in April to continue the dialogue.

In March, the OCIO appointed the first ever State Geospatial Information Officer to coordinate California’s digital mapping efforts. Michael Byrne took charge in the new position which is key in eliminating duplicative efforts and saving costs as the State increases the use of Geospatial data throughout departments and agencies.

In April, State CIO Teri Takai joined Governor Schwarzenegger in launching a new website to increase government transparency. The site is unprecedented with publicly available information including the Statement of Economic Interests, Form 700, and the Travel Expense claims for the Governor’s Office Senior Staff and Deputies, Agency Secretaries, Agency Undersecretaries and Department Directors.

The OCIO also released Information Technology Policy Letters on IT Project Management, Training, Status Reporting, Capital Planning, Enterprise Architecture and Computer Room Construction. Through the State Administrative Manual (SAM) and the Statewide Information Management Manual (SIMM), the agency creates statewide policy for the Executive Branch to ensure coordination throughout state government. Subsequent policy letters on AIO / CIO reporting and IT acquisitions were released in June and July respectively.

With the first article written by Michael Byrne on GIS, the OCIO launched The Tech Blog, a regularly updated source of information for the IT community and website visitors. The Tech Blog has also been used as a quotable source for the news media.

In May, the Governor’s IT Reorganization Plan passed the Legislature and became effective, combining four agencies into one, under the leadership of the expanded OCIO. The new organization will benefit the state’s overall IT program by creating more accountability and helping us support and train IT professionals who work on systems throughout the state. The Plan also completes an important organizational step which began in 2005 with the consolidation of the state’s major data centers and networks into one department, the Department of Technology Services.

In June, State CIO Teri Takai launched the State of California’s newly redesigned Web portal, CA.gov. The site has an improved, interactive design, linking to new features, including widgets, social networking Web sites and news and information provided by state agencies, departments, boards, commissions and more.

The OCIO began training 130 program managers in state government on their roles as executives and sponsors of IT projects and the California Project Management Methodology. This first in the nation effort ensures that policy and program executives understand the critical role they play in the success of IT projects.

In July, Takai launched a new online data repository on the California State Portal, Ca.gov designed to increase government transparency and spur innovation and economic development in California. By posting state government data in raw, machine-readable formats, it can be reused in different ways, allowing the public greater access to build custom applications to analyze and display the information. The data includes information on the economy, public health, transportation, environment and more on a single website. She also announced a new application hosted on the CA.gov portal which helps citizens and businesses find and contact government offices on their iPhones.

Led by Chief of Staff Joe Camicia, the OCIO held the first meeting of the Digital Literacy Leadership Council that was established by Governor’s Executive Order 06-09 to, among other things, develop policy that will promote digital literacy for all Californians. Stay tuned for a forthcoming report by the Council.

In August, the OCIO teamed up with the Department of General Services to reform the state’s IT procurement process after the Governor enacted a series of process and legislative changes included within the 2009-10 budget. The reforms will greatly shorten the time it takes to get an IT project done. They will also generate project benefits earlier, avoid costs and aid in the modernization of the state’s technology environment.

The OCIO also hired the State’s first Enterprise Architect, Lee Mosbrucker, to coordinate on IT projects throughout departments and agencies. With the ultimate goal of better understanding complex projects, increasing efficiencies and saving money, Enterprise Architecture is common framework for describing the integration of the current and future states of government programs, technology and information.

That same month, the OCIO released the first ever Statewide Data Strategy Report, a significant first step toward the strategic goal of managing data as an asset. The strategy laid out in the report identifies a common approach for data which will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of state government and enable the state to provide better services to California’s residents and businesses.

In September, the State of California won second place in the national “Best of the Web” competition held by the Center for Digital Government. The competition recognizes significant achievement in the overall web presence of state and local governments.

Chief Deputy Christy Quinlan announced that the OCIO, in partnership with the State Personnel Board and other department’s IT subject matter experts, has increased the availability of Open Continuous Online testing for IT classifications. This has changed the decades-old antiquated testing processes which no longer fit the state’s IT resource needs.

In October, the OCIO Public Safety Communications Division was awarded a $4.3 million grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to enhance the state’s existing 9-1-1 network.

In November, Chief Information Security Officer Mark Weatherford released California’s first-ever Information Security Strategic Plan. The five-year plan provides a statewide vision for how California will address and implement cyber security controls to provide the critically-needed protections to better secure California government’s sensitive assets and information.

Chief Deputy Adrian Farley also reported at a Legislative hearing that since the IT capital planning process was established last year, the state has achieved more than $400 million in savings and cost avoidance.

In December, the OCIO received a federal $4.7 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security. The funds will go toward developing a statewide digital mapping program, also know as geographic information systems (GIS) and cyber security projects.

Finally, at the quarterly Technology Services Board meeting earlier this month, Office of Technology Services Director P.K. Agarwal proposed an 18-month rate package for Fiscal Years 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 which includes rate reductions by more than $10 million. The proposal was on top of last year’s reduction of $16.5 million starting in Fiscal Year 2008/2009. The reductions are a result of operational efficiencies related to contract renegotiations, the elimination of deficit services, new options at lower costs and the realignment of mainframe storage rates. They are also attributed to the elimination of leased space agreements, deferring purchases on new equipment, reducing software licenses, reducing and eliminating consulting contracts, furlough savings and other discretionary spending cuts.