Mr. Rhodes is Chief Information Officer for the State of Georgia and Executive Director of the Georgia Technology Authority.
Cross-boundary collaboration has become a national trend, as budget cuts have led city, county and state IT departments across the country to work together to boost both cost savings and access to technology. The winter 2012 issue of State Tech Magazine highlights several examples of government jurisdictions working together effectively. Among them are two initiatives in Georgia - a joint effort by the Georgia Department of Labor and three other states to build a new unemployment insurance system and the GETS program through which we offer network and telecom services to local governments.
Recently, we had a valuable opportunity to reach out and build relationships with local governments around Atlanta. CIOs and IT staff from the metro area joined a team from GTA to talk about services available to local governments and how we might offer support. Attendance was impressive, with representatives from the City of Atlanta and Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett and Henry counties. The Georgia Department of Administrative Services participated as well.
We were able to share useful information on a variety of topics, including how local governments can participate in state contracts for equipment, wireless service and Microsoft licensing as well as possibilities for using the state data center as a backup facility for disaster recovery. We answered their questions and will be taking a closer look at issues we discussed.
Our pursuit of opportunities may also extend beyond Georgia's borders. In the future, we may make the data center's backup capabilities available to other states or even host their mainframes. A few years ago, crossing boundaries to build partnerships might have seemed innovative or novel. Now, it is simply a practical way to extend access and make budgets go a little farther.