Last Wednesday, Oklahoma’s Chief Information Officer told our House Government Modernization Committee that the effort to unify state government information technology assets has saved 129 million dollars. This is a significant increase over the 115 million he testified to during a similar committee meeting just a few months ago.
|CIO: James “Bo” Reese
The CIO attributed much of the most recent savings to the recent involvement of the Department of Human Services.
In recent months, DHS has consolidated their 8,222 square feet of data center space and 55 separate IT systems into just 100 square feet of data center space at the state’s shared data center. The old DHS data center space is now available use for office space, thus allowing the Department to give up leased office space.
In the early days of the unification effort, the primary political opposition to the IT unification plan came from DHS who at that time sought to be exempted from the unification. The current day leadership of DHS appears to be changing the old guard culture of resistance to reform, and the new leaders have embraced the opportunity for cost savings and efficiency.
I initially toured the DHS data center at a time when it seemed the agency’s resistance to the IT reform might prove insurmountable. The massive facility was a labyrinth and an absolute indicator of government inefficiency.
Now, things have changed. DHS provides an exemplary example of a state agency that has been willing to put aside the antiquated culture of resistance to reform and are now willing to share their IT services with other agencies. The millions in savings will continue to occur year after year because of the commitment of DHS and other civic, reform-minded state agencies who are now working together.
Better still, the CIO believes the savings will continue to climb as more state agencies join the effort and share their IT resources with each other.
He expects that the remaining state agencies will be brought into the unified IT environment by the end of this fiscal year.
If he’s correct, this year will finally conclude one of the most dramatic modernization reforms/re-organizations in the history of the state.
Those who have been charged with implementing the reform have overcome numerous technical, logistical and political obstacles.
Its completion has only been possible because of continued foresight and commitment from numerous state officials who realize the importance of efficiency and the far-reaching benefits of shared services between agencies.
You can view the most recent IT unification savings report by visiting ok.gov/cio