Some lessons learned from a CIO, in no particular order…
  • 29 Dec 2023
  • 4 Minutes to read
  • Dark

Some lessons learned from a CIO, in no particular order…

  • Dark

Article summary

Thank you to Mike Baca - CIO at NM Taxation and Revenue Department, for sharing his Lessons Learned in our knowledge base.

As I reflect on year(s) end and anticipate next year, these CIO lessons learned popped into my mind. If I had to rank the top three it would be DEI, take care of your people, and then security. Happy New Year everyone!

  1. Security – “Our Credit Score” Scan, scan, and then scan again. Every month we undergo an independent scan of all systems tallying weaknesses, vulnerabilities and risks. If our score is not in the 800s, we are not satisfied.

  2. Security – Communication and Awareness Users are a core element of enterprise security. By implementing communication and awareness campaigns we’ve reduced security risks, created a positive security culture across divisions, and enabled users to protect the department in new ways.

  3. Security – Security structures Users, data, and systems are the central elements of security. Checks and balances, segregation of duties and risks, and careful oversight measures must be consistently engineered, reviewed, and enhanced.

  4. Customer Experience The customer is at the core of everything we do. “If I can schedule an appointment for a haircut online, why can’t we do that in MVD too?” By asking ourselves simple questions like these we’ve transformed our customers’ experience.

  5. IT Team – our staff and our partners Recruit. Retain. Repeat. – Over the years we enacted several core strategies to ensure our commitment to our potential, our can-do attitude, and our work culture. Step away from your desk, listen to your team, and never forget - We get IT done.

  6. Modernization and other Projects Change is necessary – if your tech doesn’t stay relevant it will fail. There were some big ones over the years – retiring the old mainframe oil and gas system, reimagining property tax with GIS, a complete replacement of the State’s MVD, new revenue streams, modernizing customer experience, system enhancements and growth… all on time/within scope/on or under budget.

  7. Pandemic Response Hope was not a strategy. The ability to see the problems, find solutions and act quickly empowered us to enable a fully remote workforce, new customer channels, rapid developments and deployments, and taking care of the team – everything changed all at once. Leadership demands shifted – sometimes we spoke, sometimes we listened, sometimes the most important thing was just to be together.

  8. Security Compliance – Audits matter Security audits matter. We are subject to the requirements of the Internal Revenue service (IRS), Social Security Administration (SSA), Payment Card Industry (PCI), internal and external State audits, and our own monitoring. Passing an inspection not only matters to your peers, partners, and organization – it reflects your leadership and your teams’ efforts.

  9. Diversity, equity, and inclusion – Simply put, “our diversity + our experience = our foundation of success”

  10. Innovation – “Thinking Outside the Box” Technologists are naturally curious and always looking for new options. Encourage it! The Tax and MVD organizations have a ton of data. Thinking outside the box with that data was both fun and rewarding – here are a few examples:

  • Family Income Index Act is an innovative data mining strategy to direct additional funding to schools with concentrated poverty, which is known to contribute to low academic performance.

  • Easy Enrollment – partnering with sister agencies (good government), the NM TRD included a check box on our State’s Personal Income Tax form that allows tax payers to opt-in to a quick way to determine eligibility for Medicaid or other low-cost health insurance.

  • Pandemic era Rebates and Refunds – the NM Tax & Rev processed nearly $2B/4M rebates and refunds.

No doubt there will be more lessons in store for 2024 - Happy New Year!


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