Michigan CIO David Behen: Michigan is the Ideal Place for Data Centers

Michigan CIO David Behen

Michigan CIO David Behen

Last Thursday, Online Tech attended the State of Michigan’s CIO David Behen’s speech at Eastern Michigan University (EMU), co-sponsored by the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), the Detroit Metropolitcan Chapter, EMU Political Science Dept. and the EMU Foundation. Behen’s speech, Reinventing Michigan Through IT, focuses on state technology initiatives in education, training, healthcare, security, Michigan data centers and more.

State of Michigan IT
Behen described the state of the government’s IT systems when he first came into the job – with an aging infrastructure with 400 legacy systems that were more than a decade old, money was spent on IT funds just to “keep the lights on.” With nearly $500 million allocated to the IT budget, Behen determined they needed to do better than just “keeping the lights on.” One of the problems was the skill gaps in the workforce – they lacked project management, business analytics, IT leadership and CRM.

Reinventing Michigan through IT started with a battle plan – in the year 2011, they assessed the situation. Year 2012 was for planning, and 2013 is for execution. They received $47 of the $50 million they asked for to fund the replacement of legacy systems starting in 2013. Currently, they have 18 major projects underway, with the financial management system being the focus. Another major project is the sales use and withholdings, a $13.2 billion system per year.

Michigan Cybersecurity Awareness and Training
Other transformational change projects include the Michigan Cyber Initiative that launched the Michigan Cyber Range, an IT security training facility that opened last November. The facility intends to prepare cybersecurity professionals to detect, prevent and thwart cyber-attacks in a real-world setting. This program also offers students and professionals alike a curriculum of meetings, workshops, cybersecurity training and awareness tools. Read more about the facility in State of Michigan IT Security Training Facility Opens.

For 2013, the theme of moving forward involves striving for a smart government, that is, one that is sustainable and affordable with more in-state organic innovation. The state is focusing on four major areas of improvement – cybersecurity, health IT, their website, Michigan.gov, and data centers. According to Behen, the two biggest threats to national security include cybersecurity and weapons of mass destruction. Read more about federal cybersecurity in Another Dead End for U.S. Cybersecurity?

With 32,000 state employees, the state intends to launch awareness training with the online tool Security Mentor. Additionally, increasing statewide awareness of online safety is a goal they intend to achieve with the aid of their Michigan Cyber Security Toolkit. This includes user guides for business, government, school and home; monthly newsletters to public and private partners; a cyber disruption plan; and a public/private sector catastrophic cyber event response plan.

Michigan Health Information Technology
When it comes to health IT, the key objective is to work to bring databases together and bring health records to devices, as well as work with hospitals and pharmacies to achieve this level of health information exchange (HIE). With HIE, concerns about interoperability and security are paramount. Keeping data safe at rest, in transit and in storage are challenges that must be overcome to take advantage of the benefits of connected healthcare systems. According to Michigan.gov/mihin, the Michigan Health Information Network (MiHIN) is the state of Michigan’s initiative to improve healthcare quality, cost, efficiency, and patient safety through electronic exchange of health information. The MiHIN is a joint effort among MDCH, the Michigan Department of Information Technology (MDIT), and a broad group of stakeholders from across the state of Michigan.

Other health IT projects include identity management, Medicaid expansion, EMRs, document management and more. Download our HIPAA Compliant Hosting white paper for a complete guide to protecting health data with secure, compliant HIPAA hosting and the requirements of a HIPAA compliant data center.

Michigan Tech Initiatives
Michigan.gov has been enhanced with added services targeted to high volume business users. The state has invested in infrastructure and local personnel to help build, manage and improve web-based state initiatives. While the website currently provides 410 services today, Behen reports the goal is to achieve 1200 web-based services by the end of 2014.

Another tech initiative is the Innovation Fund that provides $200,000 to companies that bring great ideas to Michigan IT. The fund provides loans for the development of new tech projects that support government functions.

Similarly, investing in young talent and education is key to sustaining and cultivating local businesses. Online Tech recently awarded a Data Security scholarship to two University of Michigan students in the fields of information technology and health informatics. Read more about Online Tech Investing in Future IT and Healthcare Talent at U-M.

Michigan: The Ideal Place for Data Centers
Behen reports that the state of Michigan currently has three 30-year-old data centers located within 10 square miles of each other. They have RFPs with other companies for colocation and leasing space. He stated, “We believe, however, that the state of Michigan is the ideal place for data centers.” While they have talked with companies in Texas and North Carolina, they still believe that Michigan is the ideal location for the state government.

Online Tech operates three Michigan data centers located 53 miles apart on separate utility power grids connected with Gigabit fiber, providing high availability hosting to Michigan small, mid-sized and enterprise companies. Read more about the geographical advantages of our Michigan data centers.

Ultimately, Behen is looking to change the culture in Michigan and combine both physical and cybersecurity.

About David B. Behen, Michigan CIO (Chief Information Officer)

As the state’s chief information officer, David B. Behen plays a critical role in leading development of information technology resources to meet the growing needs of Michigan’s citizens.

Today’s technology provides us with tools to reinvent government,” Behen said. “The growth of online resources provides our citizens and businesses with the 24/7 service they have come to expect.

In his role as CIO, Behen holds a seat on Governor Rick Snyder’s Cabinet, advising the governor on technology investments and implementing innovative IT programs to enhance and expand customer service. As an executive in the Department of Technology, Management and Budget, he leads efforts to provide the full range of information technology and communications services to Michigan’s citizens and businesses as well as 17 state agencies with 47,000 state employees.

Michigan offers a full range of technology resources – from traditional desktop computers used by the state’s workers to a law enforcement communications network that criss-crosses both peninsulas to mobile applications that allow tourists to reserve campground spots or purchase fishing licenses. Behen is leading a multiyear IT assessment and alignment process that will shape DTMB’s path to the future. This process will develop Michigan’s portfolio of high-impact, innovative, market-competitive IT services that focus on customer service and citizen engagement.

Related Links:
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References:
Michigan Depart. of Technology, Management & Budget: David B. Behan

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