It is not often that you get the opportunity to talk with a true buck stops here person but, in the case of Virginia’s relatively new Secretary of Administration, not only were we able to talk with Lisa Hicks-Thomas, we were also able to gain interesting insights regarding her thoughts on a range of topics including last year’s JLARC Review of the Commonwealth’s eVA purchasing initiative and the focus on delivering one stop services to Virginians.
While I will suggest that you to listen to the fast paced 30 minute interview with Madame Secretary through the following link “From Deputy Attorney General to Secretary of Administration: A Conversation with Lisa Hicks-Thomas,” there are a number of key take away concepts from the session that quite frankly extend well beyond the Commonwealth’s borders.
These include the continuing viability of large IT/ERP-based initiatives that ultimately cost tens of millions of dollars and rarely, if ever deliver the expected level of savings and, the reality of reduced time lines to produce tangible results in which governments now have to think in terms of months or weeks instead of years (a point that was discussed at length during my TV interview with Colin Cram).
Once again, the ideas expressed by Secretary Hicks-Thomas clearly demonstrates the energized approach and services oriented mindset of a Government that is truly taking meaningful action to succeed in a rapidly changing country and world.
Similar to the bold directions being pursued by other governments that have been accentuated by remarks such as UK Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude’s admonishment to it’s large IT providers that the halcyon days of big dollar projects are a thing of the past, this directional change has been a long time coming.
However, and unlike past pronouncements regarding needed change, these pursuits are no longer optional as governments especially at the State and Municipal levels in the US are faced with growing budget deficits that has many experts predicting bankruptcies for the first time since the Great Depression.
Against this backdrop, Virginians can consider themselves fortunate to have an experienced veteran such as Hicks-Thomas, who’s years of service in various public sector positions means that she has the breadth of insight and the critical understanding to cut to the proverbial chase and get things done!