As governor transition approaches, Georgia focuses on services

With Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal set to leave office in January, the state’s chief information officer says he’s focusing on transition.

“It’s very important that we have as many things in flight or finished before they arrive,” Calvin Rhodes says in an October video interview.

Nearly two weeks after election day, Republican Brian Kemp — Georgia’s secretary of state — was certified as the winner of the gubernatorial contest over Democrat Stacey Abrams. Though both Gov.-elect Kemp and Gov. Deal are Republicans, there are no guarantees Rhodes will retain his position as state CIO.

After ensuring that as much of Rhodes’ office’s work is underway or complete by the time Kemp takes office, the state CIO says his second priority is “making sure [the incoming administration has] a full understanding of what we’re focused on.”

“There’s a number of very large projects going on across different agencies, and most of those are in pretty good shape at this point,” Rhodes says. “It is more just about communications and making sure they understand the importance of those projects.”

One of the big changes for Georgia’s information technology operation has been its reliance on a public-private partnership for delivery of IT services. The state outsources nearly all of its IT operations to vendors and works with a service integrator to bring them together.

“That work was done years ago, and has matured into where we are providing world-class service,” Rhodes says. “[That] allows us to not have to focus so much on the day-to-day delivery of services, but on how we can leverage that platform.”

By the end of this year, the state expects to have awarded several additional contracts, chief among them a re-compete for the state’s mainframe, server and end-user computing services contracts, says Dean Johnson, the technology agency’s chief operating officer.

“We’re bringing on not only updates and refreshes to all of our technology, but we’re also bringing on some things that we didn’t have before,” Johnson says.

The contract awards will be finalized by the end of 2018, and work on the server services portion of the rebid will commence in January 2019.

Rhodes on the future of government IT:

Johnson on identity and access management:

These videos were produced by StateScoop at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers annual conference in San Diego.