3 steps states need to take toward consolidation, optimization

When trying to optimize their information technology environment, states need to streamline operations, evaluate what they have and make a plan for the cloud, according to an industry executive.

States looking to consolidate their information technology organizations should streamline operations, evaluate their systems and make a plan for the cloud, said Chip George, NetApp’s senior director for state and local government.

The focus on consolidation is a pressing one for state government IT shops. Last month, NASCIO reported that 89 percent of states have either consolidated or are working to consolidate data centers. The remaining 11 percent reported that consolidation efforts are planned in their state.

In a video interview at the National Association of State Chief Information Officer’s annual conference, Chip George established three steps states should follow as they begin their consolidation journey.

1. Streamline operations

“[States are] trying to streamline their operations,” George told StateScoop. “The number of things they’re trying to get done far exceed their budgets, so we get involved in doing things like converged infrastructure and considering cloud and consolidation efforts.”

2. Figure out what you’ve got

In order to truly consolidate state operations, officials in state governments need to know what they have in their data centers, on their network and under their IT enterprise, George said.

“You can’t optimize, consider consolidation or consider sending apps to the cloud unless you understand exactly what you have,” George said. “Those are key decisions when you’re going to your boss, your boss’s boss, or the governor when you’re asking for money.”

3. Have a cloud plan

States continue to look toward the cloud as a way to save money on internal operations and as a way to keep operations more stable and secure, but for states to realize those benefits, an effective strategy is necessary, George said.

A good point-person leading cloud efforts in senior leadership is also important, he said.

“We see people succeed who have a CIO or deputy CIO who is really tied into the cloud, or if they have someone that’s a cloud czar and they appoint them,” George said. “Let’s face it, the dream of the cloud is this cheaper thing, and faster time to market with applications. We’ve got to figure out if that will work.”

This video interview was sponsored by NetApp.

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