Hawaii's CIO to Tackle Outdated Technology

Nanea Kalani/Civil Beat

When Sanjeev "Sonny" Bhagowalia starts his new job in July as the Hawaii state government's first chief information officer, he'll have a big undertaking ahead of him.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie says Bhagowalia is charged with "transforming Hawaii's outdated technology infrastructure."

For starters, here are just three examples the administration says highlight just how outdated the systems are:

  • Because Hawaii doesn't have a data center, the Department of Accounting and General Services trucks back-up tapes to an archives building for safekeeping daily
  • Some state employees are still using decades-old Wang computers
  • The state prints 9,000 unemployment checks weekly, versus making electronic payments

"When (I) took office it was clear, it rose to the top, that IT was malfunctioning in the state," said Comptroller Bruce Coppa. "It really is a new day, and it's on the track to be a new day for getting business done in the state of Hawaii."

Abercrombie named Bhagowalia Tuesday, while also signing House Bill 1060, creating the Office of Information Management and Technology.

"We're entering the 21st century, officially, today on the seventh day of June," Abercrombie said. He noted that prior to Bhagowalia's appointment, he believes Hawaii was the only state without a CIO.

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