South Dakota works to save money by consolidating network services

Jim Edman, deputy commissioner of the state’s Bureau of Information and Telecommunications, discusses how he uses centralization to save money.

South Dakotas IT staff is stretching taxpayer dollars by consolidating as many of the states services as possible, said Jim Edman, deputy commissioner of the states Bureau of Information and Telecommunications.

The state ranks 48th in the country for the size of its IT budget, spending just $62 million in 2014, according to Delteks GovWin database, but Edman said thats simply encouraged his staff to find more creative ways to stress centralization.

We provide networking services to the executive branch of government, constitutional offices, we include K-12, we include higher education, Edman told StateScoop at the National Association of State Technology Directors annual conference in August. We take all those and bundle those into single procurements and we get competitive pricing for our state.

Edman said that the process isnt always an easy one, but at the end of the day, he believes centralization and eliminating the duplication of services goes a long way toward building value for taxpayers.

Sometimes that means we need to put egos and political differences aside in order to do whats best for the citizens in the end in order to use their dollars accordingly, Edman said.