Cloud sets the baseline for analytics, cost savings in Arizona

For Arizona, the move to a cloud-first approach has resulted in more than just cost savings.

When Morgan Reed, the state chief information officer, joined state government three years ago, his infrastructure background at companies like Expedia and GoDaddy led him to realize that the way the state handled data centers wasn’t working.

“When I got to the state, as a data center expert, I realized quickly that I knew what a good data center looked like and the state didn’t have any of them,” Reed says in a video interview at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers annual conference. “So, we [established] a new Tier 3 data center. But as we’ve gone through there with a cloud-first lens, we’ve found that only about 25 percent of that infrastructure needed to be relocated and stay on premises. Fifteen percent we were able to just shut off and 60 percent has been able to go into various public clouds, which is fantastic.”

While the initial cost savings for the state has been about $2 million, the state predicts “tens of millions” of dollars of savings down the road, Reed says.

“Also it’s going to enable the business to move faster,” Reed says. “So when the governor says, or the agency directors say, ‘we want to do something different,’ it’s not just going to be weeks and months in ordering equipment and landing it, installing power. We can actually decide and respond faster, which is what our citizens expect.”

In addition to cost savings, Reed says the data center consolidation and cloud migration is setting the state up to be able to better tap into the power of the data the state possesses.

The state contracted with Google on an effort that will eventually connect all 40,000 state employees to the G-Suite. As a part of that effort, Reed says the state will digitize the paper documents in state office buildings — a move that will add more data to state systems for potential analysis.

“Once having our information in [Google] Drive and online and accessible, scanning documents to allow us to get them out of paper base, allows us to tap into that stuff,” Reed says. “Up until now, we’ve been information rich and data poor. Now, we have a lot of that data that we can go through and do some things with.”

Reed on the benefits of cloud infrastructure:

Reed on online services:

These videos were produced by StateScoop and presented by Google Cloud.