Imagine yourself as the CEO of a 24/7/365 operation with a $20 billion annual budget and nine million customers. Now imagine your primary data center goes down and your backup power systems fail. All your major business applications, website, online services and Internet access – down for 16 hours as the remnants of a hurricane sweep through the area.
Picture an IT environment so outdated and fragile that critical systems go down because of rats gnawing on electrical cables and broken air conditioners causing server rooms to overheat to 115 degrees. Imagine a single point-of-failure that leads to data center shut downs for seven critical business centers.
Now, stop imagining. This scenario is not a “what if”; it is real. The CEO is Governor Sonny Perdue, the operation is the state of
We could give you more examples, but the bottom line is this: Technology is critical to the operation of state government and the delivery of services to Georgians, and an IT infrastructure that is aging, fragmented and lacking in enterprise-wide standards poses an unacceptable risk.
Why are we turning to the private sector instead of fixing it ourselves?
Simply put, we can’t fix it ourselves. The fix will require a partnership that leverages both public and private sector capabilities and expertise. A 2007 assessment of IT operations in 13 of the state’s largest agencies came to this conclusion: “The capabilities within the state to fix the problem have deteriorated to such an extent that only an enterprise-wide initiative that draws services and skills from the market has the opportunity to make timely repairs.”
Equally as important, technology changes far too rapidly for government to keep up without help from the private sector.
What’s our solution?
It was clear that we needed to turn to the private sector to help us manage our technology. Thirty-one companies submitted initial responses to bid on the work. Thanks to extensive due diligence of our IT needs performed during our 2007 assessment, we are a well-informed customer. After one of the most competitive and transparent procurements in the state’s history, the Georgia Technology Authority signed a contract with IBM to provide IT Infrastructure Services beginning April 1, 2009. The contract is valued at $873 million over eight years and covers mainframes, servers, printing, service desks, end user computing and disaster recovery. Dell and Xerox will be subcontractors.
A second contract was awarded to AT&T, which begins providing Managed Network Services on May 1, 2009. It is valued at $346 million over five years and includes wide area network, local area network and voice services. The contracts we negotiated will not require any new appropriations of taxpayer money.
Collaboration has been and will be key to reaching our goals. GTA and agencies worked together to develop the requirements in our Request for Proposal and to evaluate service provider responses. Well in advance of awarding the contracts, GTA began building a Service Management Organization to oversee the new service providers. To ensure the state has the skill sets needed to manage our service provider partners, we brought onto the GTA team professionals from the private sector with extensive experience in managing outsourced solutions.
Technology must be managed well, and for too long we lacked the proper governance to do so. For example, the state had no consistent information security standards until Governor Perdue issued an executive order in 2008. No enterprise of this size should operate without mature, industry-based standards that are consistently applied to all areas of IT operations, particularly security and disaster recovery.
Although we still have a long way to go, we are well-positioned to tackle the challenges ahead. The state’s technology transformation will build a strong foundation for making