In tandem with our healthcare planning, we are currently modernizing the Colorado Benefits Management System. We successfully moved CBMS into the cloud while improving the user interface. With one final phase left to complete the modernization project this year, this major undertaking has made Colorado among the first states in the nation to move an entire integrated eligibility case system to the cloud. We also have our own state cloud, but this was an experiment to use a third-party cloud, obviously well-respected as an industry standard. This system determines eligibility for medical, food and cash assistance benefits.
STATETECH: Are you working on any new and exciting breakthrough technologies?
SZCZUREK: We are looking at artificial intelligence as a means to expand service desk support. We will start small with a proof of concept and expand it over time. I have a lot of background in chatbots and phone bots, and this is one area we know there’s great potential for improved service and cost reductions.
We’re going mobile. We have a mobile-first strategy, just like we have a cloud-first strategy, because in our research we have found that 70 percent of people in Colorado have stopped having personal computers and are doing all their business transactions through their smartphones. Thus, we are doing more in terms of supporting mobile device users.
We also have a special blockchain council, where we’re exploring this technology and trying to learn how it can be used to help with digital identity problems, protection of data and other applications.
STATETECH: Every year, NASCIO surveys 50 state CIOs to produce a top 10 list of priorities. Which of those priorities speak to you at the moment?
SZCZUREK: I would say No. 1 is security risk. Last February, our Colorado Department of Transportation faced the SamSam ransomware cyberattack. Because of the way we had set things up with our information security office, we were able to recover 80 percent of the Colorado Department of Trans-portation systems within just four weeks. And no data was lost. No ransom was paid.
No. 2 is digital government. We are very much interested in customer experience. I already talked about how our end users are going mobile. We have an architecture and strong technology and customer offices that run our projects, working to make every digital solution efficient and operating at its best