Information technology reforms have saved Minnesota taxpayers $27.4 million to date with at least another $7 million expected between now and the end of the year, Gov. Mark Dayton announced on Wednesday.
The savings come as a result of an information technology overhaul the state undertook in 2011 that focused on reducing administrative waste, consolidating state contracts, reforming administrative processes and implementing new accountability measures.
“MN.IT’s innovative work has produced significant savings for Minnesota taxpayers,” Dayton said in a statement. “Their reforms are also delivering faster and more efficient services to our citizens. I thank Commissioner Parnell for her strong leadership and MN.IT Services’ hard-working employees for their accomplishments.”
The result came as part of new legislation that took aim at the information technology efforts. Part of that included establishing a statewide project management office that oversaw the state’s major technology investments and contracts.
The state also has focused on saving money on software and licensing contracts, cutting $15 million since 2012.
“Delivering efficient and cost effective services was an important value proposition of IT consolidation,” said Carolyn Parnell, commissioner of MN.IT Services and Minnesota’s chief information officer. “Our early success comes primarily from the opportunity to leverage group purchasing and negotiate enterprise contracts to avoid the cost of smaller, individual purchasing agency-by-agency. There are still more areas where we can realize savings and we intend to maximize those opportunities.”
The state highlighted the following projects as examples of its savings:
Data Center Consolidation – The state recently de-commissioned one of its largest data centers as part of a strategy to reduce the state’s overall data center footprint through consolidation and server virtualization. So far, MN.IT has reduced by over 60 percent the number of physical servers managed by the state.
Going Mobile – MN.IT is helping state agencies go mobile through projects such as the MN Report Card, a mobile device-friendly platform for disseminating school performance data to students, parents and teachers.
Online, Streamlined Permitting – MPARS, the Department of Natural Resource’s new online permitting and reporting system, provides an online application, approval, and tracking capability for several types of water-related environmental permits. Developed to streamline the application process, the system allows for application tracking and the collection of monitoring information and permit fees online. On average, permits are issued or denied a month faster than under the manually-intensive, former way of doing business.