Jason Snyder, Chief Technology Officer, Information Technology Division
The idea for this blog originated from a discussion I had at the bus stop with several parents in my neighborhood. They expressed genuine surprise at the amount of technology used by the Commonwealth to provide citizens with services, and great interest in the cutting-edge nature of Commonwealth IT Projects.
The intent of this blog is for technology representatives from within the Commonwealth to discuss their experiences and to provide interested citizens with regular updates about technology initiatives occurring within Massachusetts. Most of all, we hope the Technology Blog will be a forum for discussion of technologies and ideas between this office’s staff and the public constituents we all serve.
Some of the projects that really excite me are:
1) Shared Application Infrastructure (SAI)
This project’s goal is to eliminate duplication and increase efficiency by creating a shared technology for common services that can support every IT software project.
For example, while every homeowner decides what kind of refrigerator, coffee maker, and washer and dryer is best for their own family, they do not build a custom source of electrical power for each appliance! Every appliance plugs into a standard outlet, and every family in a community plugs into the same grid.
The goal of this project is to ensure customers, business partners and Commonwealth constituents who are trying to meet their unique business goals (keep food cold, make coffee, clean clothes, dry clothes) are able to access and interact with commonly-required technology services (electrical power) offered by the Commonwealth in order to focus on building applications (home appliances) in the most seamless, efficient, secure and cost-effective manner available.
2) Open Data Initiative
Massachusetts is one of a handful of states that is leading the charge for posting real government data online. The main goals for this effort are to provide the public with:
a. Broader, quicker data access –By creating a pattern of posting this information, the overhead costs associated with formal means of presenting data are reduced significantly.
b. Active data analysis capability-Posting this information improves the transparency of government, and provides insight into our services beyond anything that we could perform alone.
c. New functionality developed and delivered by external communities –Posting this information encourages development of applications that provide significant benefit to our citizens and the government itself.
d. New markets created by allowing sale of information based on published data –Allowing communities to sell offerings based on the data that we publish, will create a positive economic impact.
3) Springfield Data Center
The Commonwealth already has a world-class data center, the Massachusetts Information Technology Center-MITC (commonly referred to as “Mitzy”), located in Chelsea, but it does not house every application used by the state.
There are two goals for the Springfield Data Center project:
a. Consolidate the many individual data centers supporting the Commonwealth’s applications to reduce security and technology risks
b. Enable disaster recovery capabilities, which most existing centers lack.
The Springfield Data Center will employ virtualization, a technology that maximizes hardware efficiency. It will also be one of the leading data centers in all of the country in terms of efficient green power usage, improved service delivery times, and cost savings.
There are too many examples of new technologies being implemented in Massachusetts to save money and improve government’s effectiveness to provide even the briefest of overviews. All of these projects will be explored in future postings.
We welcome your comments and feedback in order to create a lively discussion in this space!
Chief Technology Officer for the Commonwealth
617 626 4484