Texas Department of Information Resource announces Texas Artificial Intelligence (AI) Center of Excellence

On March 29, 2019, Department of Information Resources launched a Texas Cloud Adoption Center of Excellence (CoE), also known as the Cloud Tiger team and have seen tremendous impact and made great progress. The program and its stakeholders witnessed firsthand the increased adoption and acceptance that such a core team could create. This cloud success drives us towards creation of a CoE around Artificial Intelligence (AI).  For the purposes of this initiative, Machine Learning, Robotic Process Automation, and Natural Language Processing all fit within the AI umbrella.

As we are addressing several new uses cases to drive government efficiencies as well as response to the Covid-19 pandemic impact, AI can support Texas agencies with digital assistants and automation to deliver services to Texans much faster and quicker. 

The AI CoE would be an educational endeavor, leveraging subject matter experts (SME) and working directly with agencies to help them manifest their AI CoE. Each CoE would be positioned explore AI opportunities and to develop a digital workplace that promotes automation as outlined in the state strategic plan.  As  stressed previously during cloud adoption launch, it's critically important that this initiative is NOT to do the work for the agency but rather to coach the agency through the learning process – that is to say  "teach the village to fish, not feed the village."

Criteria to initiate the AI CoE engagement:

  • Confirm the ability to leverage Service Now Idea ticket to document agency's interests.
  • Establish a cloud sandbox limited support environment – Azure, AWS and GCP.
  • Identify current project/RFS to deploy a new service and confirm staff commitment from agency.
  • Identify current project/RFS to automate infrastructure or application tasks and confirm staff commitment from agency.
  • Outreach to applicable vendor partners to provide SME support and guidance.
  • Confirm availability of DIR resources from CTO, COO, CFO, CPO and OCISO.  

Services to be provided (no cost to agency to increase adoption):

  • Incorporate AI into DIR offered managed services.
  • Assist agencies in developing an AI strategy and roadmap.
  • Provide agencies with required AI tools and training guidance.
  • Opportunity to conduct Proof of Technology, Proof of Concepts, Proof of Value and increase AI adoption.
  • Accountable and ethical AI Governance and Legislative guidance.
  • Technical coaching on how to architect a low code AI and ML model.
  • Help develop Process Design Documents (DD) to document business processes to be automated.
  • Operationalizing the AI to enhance business and strategic goals.
  • Business coaching on AI governance with an emphasis on ethical AI.  

Next steps:

  • Build a core team based on resources that are willing to engage.
  • Define trigger point for team activation (everyone will still have their day job!).
  • Construct playbook for best practices to be used while providing services, ie: system use cases, test materials, how to materials/guides/ etc.
  • Identify current projects that are candidates and promote availability to customers.
  • Socialize the need for practical ethics governance and pursue its creation from the beginning.  

For more information, please reach out to:
Krishna Edathil, Krishna.edathil@dir.texas.gov
(512) 475-4541

If you are interested in participating in AI CoE as a vendor partner please email your details to ess@dir.texas.gov