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Patterns of Authority in State IT Governance

Three common arrangements for distributing authority are centralized, hybrid/federated, and decentralized (see Table 1). In a centralized governance structure, sole authority and decision making power are vested in the central IT organization, resulting in greater control over IT resources at the price of decreased flexibility. In contrast, a decentralized governance structure gives all IT decision-making power to agency IT departments, which gives individual departments flexibility needed to react to their environment, but also results in a complete lack of coordination across the state. In a federated/hybrid structure, the authority over IT decision-making is distributed between the central IT organization and the agency IT departments. This arrangement offers both the flexibility needed for individual agencies, while also retaining some degree of centralized control over IT.

Table 1. Common arrangements of governance authority patterns
Centralized
State CIO, including central state IT organization, has authority over all areas of IT, including IT management, services, general management, and operational functions.
 
Hybrid/Federated
Authority for IT areas including IT management, services, general management, and operational functions are distributed among both the State CIO, including central state IT organization, and individual state agency CIOs.
 
Decentralized
State agency CIOs have authority over all IT areas including IT management, services, general management, and operational functions.
 
Maine, Michigan
 
California, Florida Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, New York North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia