FACT SHEET

LB&FC Study of Computer Interoperability Within Pennsylvania State Government

Computer interoperability refers to the ability to link different types of computers together so that they can readily communicate and share data and software applications. Pennsylvania, like many states, has established at least an informal goal of achieving computer interoperability between its state agencies. Also like many states, the Commonwealth's computer infrastructure has developed over many years with little regard for the need for interoperability between state agencies. We found:

Recommendations:
  1. The General Assembly should consider creating in statute the position of Chief Information Officer to be the central point of accountability for the management of the state's automated technology resources. The CIO should be appointed by and report to the Governor.
  2. The General Assembly should also consider creating a broad-based Information Resource Advisory Board to help establish a strategic vision for the use of automated technology within state government.
  3. We recommend that the day-to-day operations of the Central Management Information Center remain with the Secretary of Administration and not be transferred to the Office of the Chief Information Officer.
  4. We also recommend that the automated technology purchasing function, which is in the Department of General Services, not be included under the Chief Information Officer.
  5. The General Assembly should consider amending the Capital Facilities Debt Enabling Act to clearly allow major automated technology purchases to be included in the Capital Budget.

    LB&FC: 2/15/95

    Response to the LB&FC Study of Computer Interoperability
    Within Pennsylvania State Government

    Response of the Director of the Bureau of Automated Technology Management:

    The Director of the Bureau of Automated Technology Management, a Bureau within the Office of Administration, submitted a five-page response. The Director stated that his Bureau is in conceptual agreement with the study's findings and recommendations. The Director agreed with the recommendation to create a Chief Information Officer position. However, the Ridge Administration believes the CIO function should be under the Office of Administration as the Deputy Secretary for Computer Operations and Technology. This Deputy Secretary would have responsibility over the Central Management Information Center, state government automated technology plans and policies, and would take the lead in developing policies for improving the public telecommunications infrastructure in Pennsylvania. The Bureau also recommends a strong preference for IPS as the best standard for achieving an open systems, interoperable environment in the Commonwealth.