The Delaware Department of Technology and Information (DTI), founded in 2001, has evolved in the past two decades as dialup internet made way for DSL, wireless and more recently statewide high-speed broadband and 5G. The newest addition to the DTI was announced last week, with the promotion of Justin Day to the position of chief of partner services and leading a new department, the Office of Partner Services.
Day, a Wilmington University alumnus, Leadership Delaware fellow and ITWorks mentor, has been with DTI for most of its existence, in IT service management, end-user services, and data center operations. He previously worked as the director of data center and operations.
At the core of DTI’s purpose since its inception is IT centralization — consolidation of technology resources to improve things like data management and security, in this case for state agencies. Ideally, everything from the DMV to DNREC to the Department of Health and Social Services will have a centralized IT network.
Its importance was boosted after the election of Gov. Jack Markell in 2009, Day told Technical.ly.
“At the time, the state, country and the rest of the world were going through a financial crisis,” he said. “That was when it was first identified that the state has a lot to gain by becoming much more efficient with how it delivers IT services, and various task forces were created as a result of that. Number one and number two on the list was that IT centralization could benefit the state by realizing certain efficiencies and lower costs.”
DTI focused on IT commoditized services, such as end-user services, network services, infrastructure services and security services.
“No matter what business each state entity or division of each agency was in, every employee needed certain services,” Day said. “We started down a path where we formed partnerships with various state agencies, formalizing our [relationship] to provide end-to-end services for state agencies.”
Today, DTI provides 60% of those services to state agencies. With the passing of Senate Bill 153 last summer, it was put into law that IT services delivered to state agencies are to be delivered by DTI. The department was given a timeframe of three years to get to 100%, and the Office of Partner Services was created to make sure there is a unified approach to meeting that goal.
“We call it Partner Services because the agencies are our partners, while the citizens are the actual customer,” the chief said. “So, whether it’s bridges and roads at DelDOT, rural broadband to the Department of Agriculture or a project tied with the Department of Science, we need to ensure that we’re still adapting and aligning to ensure that IT services can be delivered.”
As private citizens, this all affects you, even if you don’t work for a state agency. Expanded broadband, for example, that is put in place for rural agencies will also benefit citizens who live in those areas.
“Whether [expanded broadband] is for for state entities, businesses or private citizens, we’re making sure that we remove any type of broadband desert and ensure that there’s access to affordable internet connectivity no matter where you live in Delaware,” he said. “We’ve taken significant effort to build out fiber infrastructure from the northern part of the state and, through public private partnerships, we’re now filling in those gaps, especially in west Sussex and west Kent counties. The network is critical to everything.”
While meeting the goal of 100% coverage, Day said there are three main goals for the next 12 months:
- Develop and implement strategies to enhance customer experience — “What we’re doing is looking at the partnerships we have, what those agreements are, and determining ways in which we can remove impact of inequity, so whether an agency has a more robust revenue stream vs. an agency that may be heavily reliant on federal or special funds, we want to ensure that there’s the same high level of service so matter what,” he said.
- Align the partner role — “Any role, out in the field or back at HQ, will have a partner engagement team. We also have developed a path where we’ve assigned what we call an IT director at each agency, and that person is primarily responsible for ensuring that the IT solutions we deploy are aligned to their business strategy [not the other way around.]”
- Implement a new management system for service offerings — “[This will] provide agency partners with more clarity around the services that they consume and how they are being charged.”