With consolidation well underway, states see cost savings, better risk preparedness

With technology changes and developments driving states toward running a more lean and efficient information technology operations, two states more than halfway through their consolidation journeys say cost savings and better cybersecurity are two big bonuses.

In the season two premiere of StateScoop Radios Priorities podcast, New York Executive Deputy Chief Information Officer Mahesh Nattanmai says that even after a bumpy road, the state has consolidated more than 30 data centers and is seeing big numbers in cost savings.

[Before consolidation], we had about 50 different CIOs, 50 different data centers IT was all over the place, Nattanmai says. The worst part is nobody knew how much we were spending on IT. We were completely reactive rather than proactive.

Now that consolidation effort is almost complete, and the state is occupying an even smaller data center footprint than initially expected, thanks to advancements in data center technology. That smaller footprint is helping the state cut costs even more.

In Delaware, CIO James Collins says his state is about 65 percent through their consolidation, and the biggest cost savings have come through contract consolidations across agencies.

This environment makes us have to question and it should make every organization question do we need to be deep into the IT business? Do we need to be in the IT business at all? Collins asks.

For Collins and Delawares Department of Technology and Information, that answer remains yes, and the way they conduct that IT business is on track to be more efficient and cheaper for the state.

David Wray, Hewlett Packard Enterprises CTO for Software, says the work underway in Delaware and New York reflects broader trends underway across state governments.

Most of these consolidation efforts have started off just with infrastructure, Wray says. That was their initial focus. Though last year, I saw an increasing trend where a lot of states and agencies are centralizing governance.

On the podcast:

  • Mahesh Nattanmai, executive deputy CIO, New York
  • James Collins, CIO, Delaware
  • David Wray, CTO for Software, Hewlett Packard Enterprise
  • Jake Williams, Manager of Strategic Initiatives, StateScoop

Things to listen for:

  • While the original goal of consolidation in New York was savings and efficiency, the consolidation has also enabled the Office of Information Technology Services to deliver open data in a new, more efficient way, Nattanmai says.
  • Advancements in broadband have pushed Delaware toward consolidation, Collins says. Increased internet speeds have removed the need for the state to be physically close to the systems they need to get maximum performance.
  • When states kick off consolidation efforts without a really good strategic plan, those optimization initiatives could end up being doomed by a lack of vision, HPEsWray says.
  • Due to political challenges, states need good executive-level support and agency buy-in to help consolidation be successful, Collins says.
  • Nattanmai and Collins agreed on the difficulty of consolidation, but says communication and collaboration among consolidated agencies is key to moving forward.

Priorities is StateScoops monthly podcast that examines the leading strategies, technologies and challenges that state CIOs expect to face this year. This episode of Priorities was sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise.Learn about HPE’s hybrid IT solutions here .

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