Recently at the CIO Academy, I had the pleasure of speaking about IT leadership in California. We have a proud tradition of investing time and resources in cultivating leadership within the IT workforce. One program that I have been involved with for many years is the Information Technology Leadership Academy (ITLA), which begin in 1990 as way for staff to gain skills necessary to effectively manage information technology projects and operations.

Each year, the ITLA (formerly known as ITMA) class develops a class project as the object of their lessons in leadership.

This year’s project is focused on change and transition in IT — of which there is certainly no shortage. The class is working on a White Paper, or instruction manual, for departments to use as the state moves to a more consolidated or enterprise model.

So far the class has organized, developed a plan and performed research to begin crafting a blueprint that will be presented at this year’s Government Technology Conference in May. They will include case studies, findings, tool kits and other important information to help leaders move forward as we meet the technology-related challenges that lie ahead.

Whether it’s using a new system, architecture, software or network, so often it is the cultural issues associated with change that are difficult, not the technology. To overcome these challenges and push forward requires true leadership.

And, with AB 2408, the statewide initiative to consolidate IT, the timing could not more critical. Further, our agency has undergone a tremendous amount of organizational change since the OCIO was created in 2008 and Department of Technology Services was created in 2005.

That is why I am proud of this year’s class for tackling such an important issue. With 25 members representing departments across the state including the California Technology Agency, I congratulate them for working hard to contribute to the greater good as IT is ever more important to the efficient operation of government.