When Illinois is compared with other states, It’s not often that it makes the top third of a list.
But that’s where the Land of Lincoln landed in a survey of state government use of technology.
Illinois improved from a grade of C+ in 2014 to a B+ this year in the 2016 Digital States Survey from the Center for Digital Government.
Illinois Chief Information Officer Hardik Bhatt said that’s partly because Illinois has been leapfrogging decades-old, outdated technology to modernize its systems.
“I firmly believe that we have done almost 20 years’ worth of work in the last 18 to 20 months, and it’s significant progress,” Bhatt said. “Going into the top third, we have done enough work to get there and deserve to be there.”
Bhatt said not having a budget in the past 19 months didn’t slow down the state’s accelerated upgrades because vendors were willing to work with the state. The state’s goal for the 2018 survey is to get an A+, Bhatt said.
Gov. Bruce Rauner had complained about the state’s outdated technology since he took office in 2015. Rauner said being recognized for the rapid technological transformation is about making government more efficient for taxpayers.
“This is very important to increase the long-run value (to) taxpayers, to provide higher-level, higher-quality government services.”
The survey results noted Rauner’s creation of the Department of Innovation and Technology as a step to bring about “more consolidation, more collaboration and cost savings.”
They also note that Illinois has put 3 percent of its operations on the digital cloud, with an aggressive goal of putting 70 percent on the cloud by 2018.