Chan said he believes in open technology approaches – including re-using solutions developed by other states – whenever feasible to avoid unnecessary expenses. The strategy was cemented by the success of myBenefits.ny.gov, a 2008 portal he helped develop as CIO of the state’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. In building the site, his office modeled technology from Wisconsin Access, a benefits website developed by that state.
“We took all the underlying technology and converted it into open-source technology,” Chan said.
Chan sees cloud computing as a technology for supporting re-use of proven applications, especially among state governments. “If you look at some of these federal programs, the rules are very similar from state to state, a portion are almost identical – so why do we need to reinvent these systems so many times?” he asked.
“Because you can stand up an environment so fast, cloud will allow you to experiment with different ideas,” he said. “It’s a platform that will allow us to be more innovative.’
And I holler: Comrade! The OTDA is one of my favorite examples of how open source can transform state operations, and Dr. Chan is one of the best state CIOs working today.