Welcome to the first in a continuing series of discussions with thought leaders who are bringing new and innovative solutions to the challenges government faces in delivering services to the citizen.
In this inaugural episode of the "L" Podcast Channel I interview Bernie O'Donnell, Director, Communications Services for the State of Connecticut. Bernie O’Donnell leads the Communications Services and Telecommunications Billing and Order Processing units within the Bureau of Enterprise Systems and Technology in Connecticut’s Department of Administrative Services.
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In this short interview Bernie and I cover a lot of topics. Bernie tells us a bit about his role with the State of Connecticut and highlights a number of major successes. These include the roll out of a statewide network supporting public safety whose anchor tenant are the more than 100 call centers that take incoming 9-1-1 calls from the public and act as the keystone to government’s response. This multipurpose network will also eventually support communications to the state’s school districts. The goal is to maximize the value of that network for other applications.
Bernie talks about the challenges that individual agencies often face in dealing with telecommunications. Government priorities in the recent tight fiscal environment have caused postponement of investments in telecommunications upgrades. Bernie’s organization is innovating in the face of this challenge by offering individual agencies who can use it the most the opportunity to join an enterprise approach to telecommunications.
“The enterprise system will be operated, managed and upgraded without the agencies having to spend an inordinate amount of time individually,” Bernie said. “We can manage this much more efficiently and effectively and bring higher-end call center, Interactive Voice Response and other capacities to smaller agencies who wouldn’t be able to afford that type of capability on their own." Bernie continued that his agency expects that this approach will, “Provide efficiencies, save money, improve service levels and offload some of the telecommunications responsibilities from the agencies,” for whom this is a business overhead today.
In addition to his work with the State of Connecticut Bernie is an active member in the National Association of State Technology Directors. NASTD is the member-driven organization of technology professionals serving state government whose purpose is to advance and promote the effective use of information technology and services to improve the operation of state government. Bernie tells us of his current volunteer role as the organization’s treasurer and his previous experiences as a member of NASTD’s board when he served as president of the Eastern Region. Bernie also talks about the upcoming 36th Annual Conference & Technology Showcase that will take place August 25 - 29, 2013 in Charleston, South Carolina.
Bernie highlights key aspects of the agenda entitled, Climbing Into the Clouds Transforming Technology Services for Tomorrow and encourages anyone interested in promoting the increased ability for state government to provide services to the citizen to attend this valuable conference.
Bernie gives a preview of featured conference speakers including:
The interview concludes with Bernie speaking about one of the most significant challenges facing state government, the anticipated retirement wave. The State of Connecticut as other states estimate that as many as 40 percent of the state’s workforce are retirement eligible in the next three years. Bernie says that one solution may be that the State of Connecticut looks to increased partnering with contractors. For functions that once would have been handled in house, Bernie says, “We now look to a corporate provider with oversight from the state.”
Thank you for listening to this inaugural episode of the “L” channel. Please stay tuned for future editions. You may follow us on Twitter @LyceumPodcast and subscribe to our episodes on iTunes.