With California implementing IT consolidation, guidance from Richard Gillihan, chief of IT operations and consulting for the California Department of Finance, was crucial, according to California CIO Teri Takai. Gillihan recently spoke with Government Technology about the challenges and concerns of advising an IT consolidation from a financial standpoint.

What were your primary concerns when advising California's IT consolidation?

When the Office of the State CIO looks at doing a statewide policy, first we try to understand what they want to accomplish and how that would impact state agencies. With things like consolidation, we leverage economies of scale. Could we maximize the benefits of the data center and other shared services, and drive costs down?

Does the Department of Finance think the consolidation is a good idea?

We're behind the policies and supportive of the strategic direction. It's about understanding what the state is trying to accomplish and making sure we're positioned as to reach those objectives.

Do you think finance officials tend to fall into the trap of saying 'no'?

It's an unfair label sometimes. Unfortunately somebody has to be the one to say no. There's a little backlash that comes with that, but we're not just saying no for the sake of saying no. We're looking at the statewide perspective, prioritizing the resources and requests we have, and looking at the revenue projections. Ultimately we're asking, what's in line with the governor's priorities? What investments represent the best return on investment, and quite frankly, what do we think the Legislature will support?

What obstacles should a state that's trying to replicate your efforts expect?

They need to keep an open mind and realize you have to shake the apple cart. You don't drive change without ruffling a few feathers, and it takes a lot to get people to realize that we can do business differently. It doesn't necessarily take new money to make it happen. We can look at our existing dollars that we'd otherwise spend refreshing our existing environments and spend more cooperatively on shared services and common solutions.

 

Andy Opsahl  |  Features Editor