The state of Georgia spends a large sum of money every year on information technology, including services, equipment, applications, personnel, software licensing, development, and maintenance. However, determining exactly how much is spent, where the money goes, and what taxpayers are getting in return can be difficult to report on in the aggregate. Coupled with this challenge is the need to better understand whether Georgia is receiving or could receive greater value for the dollars invested in information technology. This is likely to be a continuing challenge due to the rapid changes in technology each year.

The General Assembly has charged the Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) with compiling information from executive branch agencies about their IT expenditures and presenting a report to state leaders every year (O.C.G.A. 50-25-7.10). With comprehensive and accurate information, state leaders can make facts-based decisions about the allocation of limited state resources to support technology.

GTA uses the State Technology Annual Report Register (STARR) to collect data about IT expenditures from executive branch agencies. Information is requested in the categories of application, infrastructure, network, other IT costs, and projects.

The state has a more comprehensive understanding of the cost of infrastructure and network services than it does for applications. Infrastructure and network services are provided through the Georgia Enterprise Technology Services (GETS) program. Under GETS, Georgia can measure consumption and value through detailed reporting for all agency users of infrastructure and network services.

Enterprise IT Spend

The following graph depicts the most comprehensive summary available of IT expenditures by infrastructure, network, application, and other IT costs in FY 2017, FY 2018 and FY 2019.

Enterprise Spend by Cost Category

Enterprise ITS Spend by Cost Category FY2019

Agency Participation in IT Expenditure Reporting

A total of 49 out of 53 agencies submitted a report, or 93%, which was the same percentage as FY 2018.

Complete listings of the agencies reporting, and their expenditures are in Appendix A and Appendix B. The agencies listed in Appendix A with NR in the "Reported 2019" column did not submit reports because:

  • The agency no longer exists.
  • Its expenditures were included in the report from an agency to which it is administratively attached.
  • The agency is attached to one of the state’s constitutional agencies, which are exempt from filing the report.

In addition to constitutional agencies, other state entities with large IT budgets are not required to report their IT expenditures, including the University System of Georgia.

Did IT expenditures increase in FY 2019?

Participating agencies spent over $752 million on technology in FY 2019, more than the $730 million reported in FY 2018. Even though the cost overall went up year to year, some agencies reduced their IT spend by reducing mainframe costs. The difference in spending is attributable to:

  • More accurate application costs captured in the application inventory.
  • More accurate IT Full-time Equivalent and IT Contractor costs.

GTA continues working with agencies to increase both the quantity and quality of data received.

Annual Investment Strategy Sessions

GTA’s investment strategy sessions in FY 2019 included agency decision makers in business, operations, and finance. The agenda was targeted to increase awareness of the challenges associated with technology investments while also providing tools and best practices for a variety of investment scenarios.  The information gathered in these sessions provides the baseline for annual reporting on Planned New Investments as shown in that section below.

Procurement Reviews

GTA enhanced the procurement review process to provide more proactive support as agencies plan for large investments. A Procurement Review Checklist is provided at the initiation of the process, so agencies are aware of key elements to include in procurement documents, including recommended language for technology requirements, terms, and conditions. The checklist has shortened the time it takes GTA to review procurements and allowed for better collaboration during development of a Request for Proposal (RFP), thereby ensuring Georgia receives the best value possible.

GTA’s procurement review process continues to provide valuable feedback as agencies navigate complex RFPs and provider Service Agreements. Over the past year, GTA reviewed more than 12 sets of procurement documents, including RFPs, Requests for Information (RFIs), Scopes of Work (SOWs), and contracts representing over $100 million in investments.

Collaboration with State Purchasing

GTA and the Department of Administrative Services (DOAS) continued a successful collaboration to support agency technology needs. For the second consecutive year, they partnered in educating procurement offices about best practices and lessons learned for technology procurements at the 2019 State Purchasing Conference.

The two agencies also joined forces to identify Georgia-specific requirements and contract specifications for a cloud contract managed by the National Association of State Procurement Officers (NASPO). This contract has a stable of preapproved vendors qualified to provide cloud-type solutions to any participating state. GTA and DOAS successfully negotiated the first of several planned Participatory Agreements from this contract to help agencies meet immediate needs for quickly implementing non-critical solutions.

IT Application Portfolio

The state’s IT application portfolio included 752 applications in FY 2019, an increase of 180 since FY 2013. The following graph shows the number and percentage of applications by type.

Applications by Type
Application by Category

Applications by Category (752 Applications)

The graph above shows the number of applications by category.

Note: These applications were categorized by the reporting agency based on definitions provided by GTA. Many applications are accessible on mobile devices, but they are not categorized as mobile-only applications. 

New Investments by Agency

The FY 2019 total project portfolio of $617 million shows a significant decrease since FY 2018, primarily due to the completion of a large project and more accurate planning estimates. The FY 2019 portfolio is tracking over 40 active projects in 17 agencies. Several projects span multiple years. In addition to the active projects, several large projects totaling $309 million are in the planning phase.

The following chart/graph depicts each agency’s percentage of the total budget for all active projects.

Project Budgets

Department of Community Health

$140,769,811

45.62%

Department of Driver Services/Department of Revenue

$109,472,076

35.48%

Department of Human Services

$13,934,016

4.52%

State Road and Tollway Authority

$8,992,222

2.91%

Department of Driver Services

$8,595,492

2.02%

Department of Transportation

$6,235,000

1.92%

Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency

$5,932,446

1.89%

Georgia Bureau of Investigation

$5,821,142

<1% 

Department of Juvenile Justice

$2,500,000

<1% 

Department of Banking and Finance

$2,500,000

<1% 

Department of Corrections

$1,703,382

<1% 

Department of Education

$700,000

<1% 

Department of Public Health

$442,163

<1% 

Department of Early Care and Learning

$433,888

<1%

Technical College System of Georgia

$350,000

<1% 

Department of Administrative Services

$107,504

<1% 

Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission

$49,593

<1% 

TOTAL

$308,538,734

 

Planned New Investments by Agency 

The following graph depicts the several large projects totaling $309 million that are in the planning phase.

Planned Investments

Department of Community Health

$251,104,465

Department of Public Health

$33,071,611

Department of Community Health/Department of Administrative Services

$10,000,000

Georgia Bureau of Investigation

$10,000,000

Department of Human Services

$4,000,000

Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities

$500,000

Total

$308,676,073

Project Delivery Effectiveness

Large IT Project Board

GTA has utilized its Critical Project Review Panel as the primary governance body for complex and risky projects in the state’s portfolio. However, for projects costing over $10 million, the panel continues to see a variety of situations that could be addressed with even closer oversight and direction. To ensure such oversight and direction for these higher-dollar projects, the Large IT Project Executive Decision-Making Board policy was enacted by GTA, OPB, and DOAS at the start of 2017. It specifies new top-level management of the state's large, multifaceted, and lengthy IT projects. The policy establishes a governing board whose members are the DOAS Commissioner, the State CIO and GTA Executive Director, the State Budget Officer, and a representative from the Governor’s Office, along with agency heads who rotate on and off the board based on the project under evaluation. The board meets on a regular basis to review and make business decisions affecting selected large, critical projects.  During FY2019, the Board reviewed three programs: DPH’s Enterprise Service Modernization and DCH’s Medicaid Enterprise System Transformation and GBI’s Criminal Justice E-Filing Project.

Critical Project Review Panel

The monthly reviews of the Critical Project Review Panel continue to have a positive impact on the success of the monitored projects. The panel limits its reviews to the most critical projects in the state’s portfolio. For FY 2019, the critical project portfolio was valued at $318 million and encompassed 10 projects in nine agencies.

The information below puts into perspective the value and benefits of portfolio management and oversight.

Applying industry statistical information (based on the Standish Group’s 2018 CHAOS Report) to our current active and approved portfolio of critical projects yields the following projected results:

  • 22% of projects would be cancelled = $70 million
  • 52% would cost 189% of the original estimate = $313 million
  • 26% would be successful with no cost increase = $83 million

Without disciplined project, program, and portfolio management, the current portfolio of $318 million would deliver only 78% of the functionality originally planned.

The chart below displays how the state of Georgia compares to government and industry metrics compiled for the Standish Group’s 2018 CHAOS Report for technology projects. It measures only critical IT projects that were completed in each fiscal year. The chart indicates a decrease in challenged projects from FY 2018 to FY 2019. Of the 10 projects in the critical project portfolio, two were completed during FY 2019.

Project Delivery Effectiveness (by % of $) FY 2019

Standish

 * Note: Chart reflects Georgia data for FY 2011 – FY 2019.