Arkansas ramps up data center consolidation, caps off K-12 broadband

As a massive K-12 broadband project ends, state IT Director Yessica Jones prepares for another big project: data center consolidation.

With the end of Arkansas’ K-12 broadband effort in sight , state Chief Technology Officer and Director of the Department of Information Systems, Yessica Jones, is gearing up for the next big project: data center consolidation.

“We are in phase one of our project,” Jones told StateScoop in April at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers midyear conference. “We’re going to be doing an assessment of the IT infrastructure across state agencies, and we’re hoping to gain some understanding of the cost analysis of our current infrastructure statewide.”

In addition to gaining that understanding, Jones says the state is also looking to find a path to where it hopes to be in the future on IT infrastructure.

Any effort like this, she says, includes effective planning and strategizing.

“Any enterprise project [requires] effective planning on prioritizing the projects that we are pursuing based on the governor’s and our strategic vision,” Jones says. “I think that’s very key, and of course, initial and ongoing support from our partners as well as collaboration and cooperation from our stakeholders.”

Data center consolidation — which Jones says will include input from several executive agencies in Arkansas state government — is not the CTO’s first foray into enterprise-wide collaboration. Earlier this year, the state completed a risk assessment across agencies.

“We required agencies to allow us to go onsite to check out their cybersecurity environment,” Jones says. “We ask the agencies to allow us to install an important security system, so that required a lot of trust and confidence in our agency.”

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