Senate Confirms California Chief Technology Officer

Published On: August 26, 2021

Confirmed by the State Senate on August 26, California’s new Chief Technology Officer Liana Bailey-Crimmins last month appeared in front of a friendly Senate Rules Committee, outlining her priorities and perspectives on how the state should approach technology to serve constituents.  With 30 years in state service, she brings a broad range of experience to the role of chief of the Office of Technology Services within the California Department of Technology.

Here are five takeaways from her Senate Rules Committee confirmation hearing in July:

Optimizing, before automating: When asked about the state’s difficulties managing large-scale projects, Bailey-Crimmins noted the importance of relationships between the private and public sectors. Automation requires a sound process, she says.

“I first look at when we’re deploying change in an organization or looking at large projects, making sure that we have the right knowledge in an organization to be able to do that,” Bailey-Crimmins said.  “So a lot of times it’s private and public partnerships, making sure that we have the right business sponsorship, and that we’re willing to look at the future of where our process needs to be on behalf of the residents and making sure that that’s what we’re automating.”

Incremental steps: Also regarding large-scale mismanagement, Bailey-Crimmins believes an iterative approach is an answer to many of the state’s large projects.

“We believe that by putting these things in modules, that we are delivering good functionality to our constituents and to our business partners. It shows. . .that we’re building upon our successes.”

Capability: Innovation can’t take place without the willingness to go the extra mile, says Bailey-Crimmins. Finding the right processes is one thing, but follow-through is another.

“We. . .need to make sure that we have the capability that we’re willing to do the hard work necessary.”

Empathizing with the customers: Innovation serves a purpose, and at the heart of that purpose is the community being served. Bailey-Crimmins noted the importance of spending a day in the life with those being served and discovering how technology is being applied in a real-life setting.

“I believe walking a mile in our customers’ shoes is extremely important. . .not just focusing on the technology, but actually walking out into every single institution.”

Fixing the digital divide: The COVID-19 pandemic and the reliance on remote work and learning highlighted the digital divide in California. The creation of the Office of Broadband and Digital Literacy is a step towards closing that divide, while expanding broadband networks is another.

“We have had a significant gap in our knowledge, digital biases, cyber societal divide, and I think it’s time that we address it, head on.”

Watch her testimony from July 14, 2021 below:

About the Author: Will Keys

Will Keys writes about technology issues for the GovReport. He is a graduate of the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. He can be reached at will at govreport.org