Georgia is well on its way to achieving an ambitious goal set in 2007: Move the state’s IT operations out of their “horse and buggy days” and into the 21st century by turning to private-sector leaders in technology service delivery. As a result, we are saving money, staying current with modern technology and ensuring confidential data remain safe and secure from outside threats.
The Georgia Enterprise Technology Services (GETS) program is a groundbreaking initiative for state government and one of the largest public-sector technology transformations in the world. It is valued at $1.2 billion over 10 years and is on target to save $181 million. The program affects 70,000 state employees and 1,400 state and local government offices throughout Georgia.
The serious deficiencies of the state’s IT enterprise have been well documented. Both the Governor’s Commission for a New Georgia and an independent assessment determined that Georgia was carrying too much risk, and its IT problems were too great for the state to solve on its own:
- Aging equipment and almost no funding for regular refreshes — Thousands of PCs were too old to run current anti-malware programs; important data were not backed up due to broken servers
- Inconsistent operating standards — Agencies could not easily share information and resources; unnecessary and costly duplication often resulted
- Failure to comply with industry best practices
- Underfunding of security and disaster recovery — In the four years before GETS, 4.5 million notification letters were sent to people whose private information may have been exposed in security breaches of state computers
- Difficulty in recruiting and retaining employees with needed technical skills
Correcting problems of this magnitude required decisive action. After one of the state's most competitive and transparent procurements, the state privatized IT infrastructure services with IBM beginning April 1, 2009, and managed network services with AT&T beginning May 1, 2009. At the same time, GTA shifted its focus from providing technology services to managing service delivery and downsized from 660 employees to 165. Many of those former employees now work for IBM, AT&T or a subcontractor.
IBM is investing $188 million to transform the state's IT enterprise, while AT&T is investing $99 million. The state could never make these investments itself, especially during a period of state budget cuts.
The path toward IT transformation has not been easy, but it is worth the effort. The changes that have taken place – and are continuing to take place – will benefit Georgians well into the future and create a sustainable delivery model at the center of the state’s IT enterprise.
Established procedures to improve data security
- Data encryption for laptop and tablet computers
- Up-to-date anti-malware programs on state employee computers
Established the state's first comprehensive IT disaster recovery program; five exercises completed
Improved IT system availability through a state-of-the-art data center
Established an ongoing equipment refresh program
- Completed refresh of all 4,900 laptop computers in GETS full-service agencies
- Just over 20,500 of 36,000 desktop computers have been refreshed
- End-user computers include software for automatic patches, updates and asset management
- 405 of 420 aging and end-of-life servers have been refreshed prior to consolidating those servers at the state's data center
Moved to a services model for hardware instead of purchasing equipment
Expanded capacity for the state's wide area network by 100% and achieved full failover redundancy for the first time
Consolidated 21 separate help desks into one with 24/7/365 support and a single ticketing system
Implemented an electronic procurement system for ordering IT and telecommunications services; agencies pay competitive market rates based on consumption
Implemented a new billing system with web-enabled invoices and detailed information about service consumption
Implemented service level agreements (SLAs) and operational metrics to accurately measure service delivery, another first for the state's IT enterprise; in the latest quarterly report, more than 93% of SLAs for both managed network services and IT infrastructure services currently meet or exceed expected levels
Migrated 7,884 mailboxes out of 41,386 in 12 state agencies to a consolidated e-mail system
Initiated ongoing surveys and a toll-free number for customer feedback about service delivery
December 27, 2012