Georgia releases IT strategic plan

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The Georgia Technology Authority recently released the state’s enterprise information strategic plan to guide agencies’ technology projects through the year 2020.

In an interview with StateScoop, Calvin Rhodes, Georgia’s chief information officer, said his department worked closely with agencies around the state, which features a highly federated model for information technology, to explore the common areas within the enterprise and how the state can achieve things in a more efficient way.

“We really set out to learn from one another,” Rhodes said. “We met with each of our stakeholders, including from our top vendors, to try to create a document that was a representation of where we are going as a state and the choices we’ll be faced with.”

Rhodes said the strategic plan is aimed to give a high-level view of Georgia’s technology going forward.

The plan states:

Through modernization, Georgia is progressively integrating the state’s IT environment and providing a more robust and economical foundation upon which the agencies can operate their businesses. As part of this transformation, agencies are better able to measure and manage their consumption of IT resources. Georgia’s risk management, already on sound footing, continues to mature as part of the GETS modernization activities. These activities are driving Georgia towards a solid, sustainable approach to technology and greater alignment with the business needs of state agencies. This modernization is the base that the six focus areas will build on to achieve maturity in 2020.

Georgia is in a unique position with its technology structure as the state has outsourced nearly all of it to AT&T and IBM. Only Virginia and Texas have used similar models in their information technology structure.

Along with talking to agency stakeholders, Rhodes said the state was in constant communication with other state technology leaders around the country through channels such as the National Association of State Chief Information Officers.

The strategic plan focuses on six key areas: mobility, innovation, managing data as an asset, technology as a service, citizen access to service and evaluating business models.

Rhodes said each of the areas are weighed equally within the state, but various agencies will have different priorities based on what projects they are focused on along with their mission.

“We did not come at this from an ivory tower perspective but really wanted to find what key things were happening in our agencies that we could learn from one another on and build something that would help as many as we could,” Rhodes said.

Preparing the plan also helped Rhodes step away from the day-to-day running of the department and focus more on the big picture. He also partnered with Georgia’s Office of Planning and Budget to look more at the investment management area of IT and look at state projects either in the works or coming up and how to best plan for them.

“Sometimes it’s easy to get focused on the tactical areas and this let us have a much broader discussion and connect some dots,” Rhodes said. “It also gives me a chance to organize myself for meetings with the legislature to give them a better idea of where we’re headed as a state in regards to IT.”

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Georgia, States
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