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Insider Takes: State Office CIO on IT Projects, Cloud Services

The IT leader at a state office talked to Industry Insider — California about IT initiatives in various stages of progression and about impediments to cloud adoption.

This story is limited to Industry Insider — California members.
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With its longtime IT leader at the helm, one state office is poised to debut new tools to assist businesses and residents alike.

Thomas Boon is the chief information officer at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), the state’s “leader for job growth, economic development and business assistance efforts,” according to its website. He was the first IT employee hired at GO-Biz, in September 2013, following its establishment the previous year, he told Industry Insider — California, at which time Boon’s state career already spanned 15 years. He joined the state as an associate programmer analyst (specialist) at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in October 1997 and was most recently software engineer/technical architect at CDCR from January 2009-September 2013 before becoming CIO. A graduate of the state’s IT Leadership Academy 22 in June 2015, Boon studied computer science at California State University, Sacramento, before earning a bachelor’s in international relations at the University of San Diego.
In a video interview with Industry Insider on Sept. 29 at the California Digital Government Summit in Sacramento, Boon praised GO-Biz as an “early adopter” of cloud, noting the office was already utilizing the cloud when he became CIO. Asked to highlight impediments to adopting cloud, he said cybersecurity and privacy remain crucial, but cost management can be problematic as well.

“Now, because it’s so easy to build out your environment, you really have to manage, maintain, monitor everything to make sure that you’re falling within your budget,” Boon said. “Because the ease of use of the cloud services these days makes it an issue.”

GO-Biz is, the CIO said, always creating tools “out of necessity.” A website and toolkit for community-based solutions is expected to launch this month to support a federally funded program assisting communities in obtaining resources. In November, working with the California Film Commission, the office expects to launch a $150 million tax credit program associated with state Senate Bill 144, to benefit film and television production companies that build new soundstages or update existing ones. GO-Biz is also working on an update to CalGold, the state’s permit assistance website, that Boon termed “CalGold 2.0.” The site helps visitors locate permitting requirements based on their location and business type.

In 2020, Boon took part in Industry Insider’s One-on-One interview series; find that conversation here.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Industry Insider — California.