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States reap the benefits of IT consolidation nearly a decade after recession

In the sixth episode of StateScoop Radio’s “Priorities” series, state tech execs say they’re starting to benefit from their efforts to consolidate IT in the wake of the 2008 economic downturn.

Jake Williams
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Jake Williams Associate Publisher & Director of Strategic Initiatives

Jake Williams is currently the Associate Publisher & Director of Strategic Initiatives for StateScoop, based in Washington, D.C., where h...

States are now reaping the benefits from their work to consolidate IT in the midst of the 2008 recession, tech executives said on the latest episode of StateScoop Radio’s “Priorities” podcast.

For example in Ohio, Gov. John Kasich jumpstarted an “optimization” project in 2011 to move more processes into the state's core data centers. Before consolidation, the state spent 80 percent of its budget on operating costs and “keeping the lights on,” according to state Chief Technology Officer Tom Croyle. But now, the state is spending more on capital expenditures and other initiatives, he said.  

“We’ve converted the distribution of that IT spend from that 80-20 to pretty close to 50-50 right now,” Croyle said. “We’re hoping to get that to 70-30 once we get through that entire change curve.”  

Consolidation is an issue states are looking at across the country. On the National Association of State Chief Information Officers annual top 10 priority list, consolidation and optimization ranked as the No. 3 priority for state chief information officers in 2016 — the same spot it occupied the year prior. From 2011 until 2013, it topped the list, and has been in the top three ever since the list was created in the fall of 2006. 

Indeed, North Carolina is taking a cue from Ohio — last year, the state’s Legislature ruled that the state would consolidate its IT operations into a single Department of Information Technology.

On the podcast:

  • Tom Croyle, chief technology officer, Ohio
  • Merritt Tew, information technology department transition office program director, North Carolina
  • Mark Moffett, SLED engineering director, Cisco
  • David Egts, U.S. public sector chief technologist, Red Hat

Things to listen for:

  • Before Ohio's optimization initiative, the state’s information technology shop managed more than 30 data centers and 14 networks, Croyle said.
  • About 65 percent of the states Cisco does business with are working on some type of optimization project, Moffett said.
  • Now that the consolidation in North Carolina has begun, Tew said the department intends to establish a clear structure of how the state will deliver IT services to agencies.
  • In the years since Ohio began its consolidation process, the state has already saved more than $120 million.

Priorities is StateScoop’s monthly podcast that examines the leading strategies, technologies and challenges that state CIOs expect to face this year. This episode of Priorities was sponsored by Cisco and Red Hat.

In addition to listening to Priorities on StateScoop.com, you can now subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and have episodes delivered directly to your podcasts app on your smartphone when they are released.

Contact the reporter who wrote this story at jake.williams@statescoop.com and follow him on Twitter @JakeWilliamsDC.

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