Rhode Island CIO Bijay Kumar to Leave State Service

Rhode Island CISO Brian Tardiff is now interim head of the state’s IT division as Bijay Kumar departs for the non-public sector, Kumar informed Government Technology. The state will conduct a nationwide seek for a everlasting alternative.“We’ve constructed a high-performing management workforce,” Kumar stated. “That’s why I be ok with leaving; we’ve succession deliberate, and having an incredible workforce with competencies that didn’t even exist after I received in.”Kumar has served as state CIO and chief digital officer since 2017, after being recruited from Hasbro by former Gov. Gina Raimondo.“I took the job to serve, to do public service,” Kumar stated.The COVID-19 pandemic hit a couple of years into his tenure, and Kumar stated he had needed to keep lengthy sufficient to see the state by means of it. He now returns to the non-public sector, with a world know-how management place at an organization in the identical retail/client packaged items/media and leisure area through which he’d beforehand labored.Kumar joined the state at a turbulent time, after the 2017 resignations of each the state chief digital officer and human companies director, who had departed following the implementation of a troubled well being and human companies portal, which was tormented by profit funds points.“One of the most important causes the earlier governor employed me was to flip across the well being and human companies program,” Kumar stated.That wasn’t the one hurdle, both: The state didn’t have an IT management workforce on the time, and had obtained a mere C grade on the 2018 Digital States Survey.And, like all states, Rhode Island had to reply to the pandemic.By the 2020 Digital States Survey, Kumar had righted the ship, launching Rhode Island to a B+ rating. Kumar accrued different acclaims over the yr, too, together with profitable a BostonCIO Orbie Award in 2021.As CIO and chief knowledge officer, Kumar labored to construct a aggressive IT management workforce that has attracted members from the non-public sector, National Guard and army.He additionally emphasised embracing a longer-term technique.“One elementary factor we did was take a look at IT technique past a term-limited method,” Kumar stated.That meant recognizing that know-how persists past the tenure of whichever official at the moment heads the manager department or IT division and establishing three- to five-year IT plans which will outlast their tenures.Rhode Island additionally suffered a malware incident early into his tenure, and Kumar labored to advance the cyber posture. He recommends steps like selling ecosystem-wide cybersecurity consciousness coaching, constructing a robust cybersecurity management workforce and taking part actively within the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) in addition to partnering with the National Guard, state police and personal sector.In 2019, the state launched a first-in-nation statewide hotline the place residents might report cyber crimes.The workforce additionally carried out quite a lot of tech options to assist reply to wants created by the pandemic. That included implementing a vaccination and get in touch with tracing system, enabling distant work and utilizing AI instruments to assist monitor the flood of unemployment insurance coverage claims to establish potential fraud, Kumar stated.Kumar stated he leaves the IT division in good arms.“Rhode Island has the best performing workforce in its historical past, and an incredible management workforce,” he stated. “So [when] I take a look at leaving, the impression shall be minimal, as a result of we now have an IT technique, which is public, we now have superior processes, and we now have a very good prolonged management workforce. Irrespective of who’s in cost, they simply want to tweak the technique and transfer ahead with the developments they’re making.”


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