New adviser to advance state's tech overhaul [The Honolulu Star-Advertiser :: ]
(Honolulu Star-Advertiser (HI) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Feb. 16--In hopes of advancing the state's overhaul of its aging information technology infrastructure, the current director of the Office of Information Management Technology will serve as the governor's chief adviser for technology and cybersecurity effective Tuesday.
"While we have all this tremendous convenience of an open government, we need to also be watchful and mindful of cybersecurity," Sanjeev "Sonny" Bhagowalia said of his promotion during a news conference last week in Gov. Neil Abercrombie's chambers at the state Capitol. "So we've established the first ever cybersecurity operations center so that we can start protecting Hawaii here on our soil."
Bhagowalia highlighted several strides the state has made in the past three years as part of its Business and Technology Transformation initiative to catapult its online resources into the 21st century. They include:
--Increasing reliability of the state's network from below 80 percent to 99.8 percent and improving the capacity of the network by 1,000 percent.
--Working to establish a data center in the isles.
--Starting to improve the quality of the state's broadband connections.
The state has also modernized all of its 18 departmental websites.
"We've come from the wilderness of total inadequacy with regard to information technology -- whether it's intradepartment, interdepartment, between the state and our citizenry, taxpayers, organizations -- at all levels," Abercrombie said. "We were so hopelessly behind."
Taking Bhagowalia's place as the state's chief information officer will be Keone Kali, the current deputy chief information officer for operations. Randy Baldemore, deputy chief information officer for business transformation, will take Kali's place.
The leadership shuffling coincides with the state transitioning from the initial study and planning phases of the business and technology transformation effort to implementation.
So far, three phases of the seven-phase, 12-year plan have been completed.
"We've spent 21/2 years laying the foundation for this journey ... but we have the technology, we're implementing the technology, and it's going to result in a positive impact and much benefit to the citizens of Hawaii," Kali said.
Abercrombie said the state could not have gotten as far as it has without help and collaboration from the Legislature.
"I'm grateful to the Legislature for seeing this literally as a work in progress," he said.
Sen. Glenn Wakai (D, Kalihi-Salt Lake-Aliamanu), chairman of the Senate Technology and the Arts Committee, cautioned that the changes will mean nothing without public involvement.
"The public always wants a more efficient government -- better, faster, cheaper," Wakai said. "Today, and since Sonny came on board, we've been delivering that to the public. But with all these bells and whistles, it really is worthless unless the public engages us and takes advantage of all of these new tools that are available."
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