To Digitize, Rhode Island IT Must First Fill Its Talent Pool


Connecting state and local government leaders

The Rhode Island Division of Information Technology is focusing on digitization in its chief information officer’s second year at the helm.

Bijay Kumar spent year one ensuring staff members were trained in core competencies like vendor management, enterprise architecture and finance.

But digitization will require next-level skill sets if the division is to implement tech solutions like artificial intelligence, blockchain, data analytics and e-procurement.

“One of the things I need to do is to hire really competent people from outside,” Kumar said. “We don’t really have all these talents internally at this point.”

Kumar said he has Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo and Director of Administration Michael DiBiase’s to hire the right people.

A former vice president at Hasbro Inc., Kumar passed on higher private sector pay to “give back” to state government. But convincing others to do the same is still a “top challenge” for DoIT, he said.

Kumar’s latest hires find reducing lines at the Division of Motor Vehicles and streamlining processes at the Department of Corrections or state hospitals “fulfilling,” he said.

“I think that really excites a lot of people,” Kumar added.

Watch Route Fifty’s full interview with Kumar at the National Association of State CIOs 2018 annual conference in San Diego below.

Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

NEXT STORY: Checking In on a Census ‘Homework Assignment’ for Cities and Counties