The state is spending $62 million to combine widely scattered information technology under one roof, including 9,000 computer servers and 30 data centers in 26 state agencies.
Consolidation is expected to reap savings of $150 million over three to five years, Ohio Department of Administrative Services officials said. The upgrade is a five- to seven-year undertaking because most state agencies have gone their own way for years in providing computer services for government functions.
On Monday, the state Controlling Board approved spending $62 million to push ahead the information-technology project proposed by Gov. John Kasich’s administration. Although the board approved the spending, Sens. Bill Coley, R-West Chester, and Chris Widener, R-Springfield, wondered whether state agencies — and taxpayers — will be double-paying for the new services.
“I don’t see the agencies standing behind you saying, ‘Take $62 million out of my budget,’??” Widener said. They asked the administration to provide future reports tracking savings.
Legislators were assured by Jennifer Leymaster, Administrative Services’ chief financial officer, and Stu Davis, its information officer, that the $62 million is not double-billing. The officials said money for the technology services is in agencies’ budgets and will be passed to Administrative Services as payment for services.
“This is a better way to run the state’s information-technology business,” Leymaster said. “ We're not doing it 26 ways, but having one agency provide services.”
Most services will be centrally located at the Ohio Supercomputer Center, 1224 Kinnear Rd. on Ohio State University’s West Campus.
The new money will be used to bring agencies onboard. One, the Department of Transportation, has 389 servers, which are computer networks serving several clients. Others involved in the consolidation are the departments of Health, Natural Resources, Budget and Management, Mental Health and Addiction Services, Education, Youth Services, and Rehabilitation and Correction.
The consolidation will result in the creation of 132 technology positions, but most of the workers filling them will be transferred to Administrative Services from other agencies. The state expects to eventually reduce the number of employees in technology jobs by 400 through attrition and retirements.
©2014 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)