One of the ways Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder plans to improve Michigan’s government and economy is through information technology innovations, and that job—improving Michigan’s IT department—falls into the hands of its Chief Information Officer, David Behen, who
holds a seat on Snyder’s cabinet.
Behen, who earned a Master of Public Administration from Eastern Michigan University in 1996, advises the governor on technology investments and on implementing innovative IT programs to meet the growing needs of Michigan citizens.
Behen gave a speech Thursday at EMU in Welch Hall’s Board of Regents Room to an audience of political science professors, information assurance graduates, EMU students and University of Michigan-Dearborn students.
Behen said Michigan’s IT department has a centralized system, with 17 agencies and 47,000 employees.
He said their philosophy is “that customers will want to work with us, not be forced to work with us.”
Behen said the state of Michigan is working closely with their partners to enrich the understanding and foundation of their efforts, and one of its partnerships includes EMU’s information security and cybersecurity classes and information assurance programs.
He said he wants to make it possible for communities to retrieve and access their information from the government.
“Having your personal information at your fingertips, including medical records, is the next step in Health IT,” Behen said.
Behen also said education is the key to the success of Michigan’s IT program, as well as the enhancement.
Matt Thornton, a graduate student from EMU’s information assurance program, said, “We have wonderful, great services. But what about the people who don’t know how to use them, including the elderly?”
Behen talked about branching out and having shared services to enhance the qualities of this system.
Shane Coleman, a senior majoring in information assurance, said, “I would be afraid of putting certain information in the system because of security issues. I wouldn’t put or want any personal information on there.”
The overall idea is to improve the state of Michigan and bring it forward in the technological world of IT.
“The goal is to make Michigan a world-class customer service provider, and to create a customer-centric government,” Behen said.
Not only is Michigan planning to move forward, but so is EMU with the same idea regarding IT.
Student Body Vice President Desmond Miller said, “We are looking to create more hybrid classes to focus on more non-traditional students.”
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