Tech News for January 27

State Government Plans Big Push into Office 365

California is moving toward implementing an enterprise standard that would encourage state agencies and departments to migrate to Microsoft’s cloud-based email and productivity tools, officials tell TechWire.

The Department of Technology recently announced that agencies and departments can now order Office 365 as one of the state’s vendor-hosted software subscriptions (VHSS) via three different service bundles. The packages include a combination of Word and productivity tools, Exchange email, Skype videoconferencing and SharePoint; 50 GB email boxes and unlimited archiving. Data will be stored in Microsoft’s government cloud.

The Department of Technology will be procuring Office 365 on behalf of state agencies and departments through a pre-existing contract vehicle that Riverside County brokered with Microsoft under the Department of General Services’ Software Licensing Program.

The decision to go with Office 365 was a statewide decision, said Chris Cruz, chief deputy director of operations for the Department of Technology.

[Techwire] 01/27

CalHR Surveying State Workers to Consolidate and Update IT Job Classifications

The California Department of Human Resources is encouraging IT professionals working in state government to complete an online survey due Jan. 27 that could help create new job classifications and update existing ones.

The IT Classification Consolidation / Update Project has convened a team of more than a hundred subject matter experts and state executives to consider how job classifications can be revised. CalHR and the Department of Technology are leading the effort, along with other stakeholders. One of CalHR’s strategic goals is to consolidate job classifications across state government.

[Techwire] 01/27

Governor Appoints Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Chief

Tyson Eckerle was appointed deputy director of zero-emission vehicle infrastructure at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development by Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday. Eckerle has worked there since 2014 as a zero-emission vehicle infrastructure project manager.

Eckerle formerly worked with Energy Independence Now since 2009, and has served as its executive director since 2011. According to its website, EINow is “dedicated to advancing fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and the hydrogen fueling infrastructure required to catalyze a rapid transition to a clean energy and transportation economy.”

[Techwire] 01/27

Report: Emerging Technologies Put California Jobs in Public, Private Sectors at Risk

A new study has some worrisome revelations for the future of the global job market: By 2020, more than 5 million jobs could disappear in the wake of advancing technology.

According to The Future of Jobs, a report released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) earlier this month, millions of jobs around the world could largely evaporate as the larger employment market adjusts to the ever-rising tide of technology in what the group calls the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

The impacts of these substantial shifts aren’t likely be limited to just the private sector either. With office and administrative roles among those in danger of shrinking opportunities, state and local governments will likely have to adjust the way they hire and manage their staff pools as well.

[Techwire] 01/27

5 Steps to Speeding Up Smart Government (by Slowing Down)

All around the world, technology leaders are trying to work smarter, innovate and do more with less. From the Internet of Things to smart cities, from big data collection to connected drones, everyone’s trying to gain that competitive edge.

At the same time, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stay current with emerging technologies while mitigating security vulnerabilities. What can be done to keep up? Surprisingly it may be best to slow down, look around and catch your breath. That’s right — if you want to speed up innovation, many experts suggest slowing down first.

Why? To rethink, re-examine, realign and refocus your strategic plans related to emerging tech and innovation.

[GovTech] 01/26

It’s back to the negotiating table for transportation funding, threat of cuts

When the California Transportation Commission said last week that it planned to sharply reduce funding for transportation projects due to declining gas tax revenue, the resulting publicity served to reinforce Gov. Jerry Brown’s appeal for new taxes and fees to pay for road and highway work.

The announcement, issued one day after Brown renewed his pitch in the State of the State speech, followed a year in which Brown and the Legislature failed to agree on a multibillion-dollar road funding package. The commission’s estimated spending reduction, $754 million over five years, cut deep.

[SacBee] 01/26

California’s high-speed rail agency hires new CIO

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California’s High-Speed Rail Authority, the agency responsible for planning and building a new bullet train system to eventually link Sacramento and San Diego, hired retired Army Col. Keith Tresh as its new chief information officer.

Tresh will oversee the technology partners involved in the project and their contracts. A former California state chief information security officer, Tresh acknowledged that taking the tech exec job for the controversial $68 billion project will be a challenge.

“It’s fluid, it’s very high visibility and there are so many disparate pieces to bring together,” Tresh told StateScoop in a phone interview. “Ensuring we have one fluid system for everyone, statewide is probably the biggest challenge.”

[StateScoop] 01/26

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