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Series Offers More on California’s Many State Departments, Agencies

Industry Insider — California debuted a new series this year, Profiles in Government. Here’s more on its coverage of some of the state’s most significant departments.

The California Capitol building.
This story is limited to Industry Insider — California members.
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From the California Horse Racing Board to the California Public Utilities Commission to the California Department of Technology, government in this state is conducted across more than 130 entities, each with its own approach to IT.

This year, however, Industry Insider — California debuted a new article series aimed at better acquainting readers with some of the departments, agencies, offices, systems and conservancies that make up state government and touch IT. Dubbed Profiles in Government, it has featured four state entities thus far — and it goes without saying that many more will follow. Here are the four departments we’ve profiled to date (our next is in the works, but you’ll just have to watch us in the new year to read which one):

  • The California Department of Finance may be best-known for creating the annual state budget — but it’s also Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “chief fiscal policy adviser” and is underway on an in-depth technology modernization. Newsom appointed the department’s Director Joe Stephenshaw on July 1 after the departure of Keely Martin Bosler, who’d been director since September 2018. Chief Information Officer Wesley Major is a 30-year veteran of state service and has been its IT leader since 2008. Find his Industry Insider One-on-One interview from June here. The department has a budget of $99.9 million with rounding and has 384 staff, 40 in its Information Services unit.
  • The California Department of Public Health centers its mission on advancing the “health and well-being of California’s diverse people and communities.” Core responsibilities include “infectious disease control and prevention, food safety, environmental health, laboratory services, patient safety” and emergency preparedness. There’s also a significant focus on IT; initiatives implemented include the California COVID Reporting System (CCRS), a “robust 24/7 solution to process electronic lab results for all reportable diseases,” including COVID-19 and mpox; and My Turn, the state’s COVID-19 “vaccine scheduling and administration system” — recognized last year by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO). Projects on the horizon include building a “flexible, scalable, responsive and attainable backbone to support dynamic public health capabilities and services and streamline transactional systems, to create one-stop, enterprise-scale systems for surveillance and licensing activities,” the department told Industry Insider.
  • The California Employment Development Department, among the state’s best-known departments, will see a large-scale IT modernization fueled in part by $136 million for the department’s EDDNext project, a “comprehensive modernization initiative,” per the 2022-2023 state budget. This will replace legacy systems with a new benefits system that is “modular, flexible, and customer-oriented” and improve customer service processes. The first-ever EDDNext Vendor Day in August examined customer-centric services. The department has a budget of $20.3 billion, with rounding, and nearly 10,000 total staff. At an Industry Insider — California Member Briefing in July, CIO Rita Gass told moderator Alan Cox, executive vice president of parent company e.Republic, that the department is “working on establishing a cybersecurity division” during FY 2022-2023.
  • The California Department of Motor Vehicles has been open for business for 107 years and, as of this year, employs more than 9,800 staffers at 229 facilities; and had 84 million total transactions and 11.5 million items of “incoming paper mail” according to its website and a March event. IT initiatives either finished or underway include the large-scale Digital eXperience Platform (DXP) modernization that will replace and update software, hardware and programming language in core legacy systems over three to five years, and the new Mobile Identity (mID) program figured in the FY 2021-2022 state budget cycle. The DMV’s nearly $1.7 billion portion of the $308 billion 2022-2023 Fiscal Year state budget includes more than $539 million for driver licensing and personal identification. Four of the five major goals in the DMV’s 2021-2026 Strategic Plan, created under the leadership of Director Steve Gordon, are IT- and innovation-leaning.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Industry Insider — California.