expand IT shared services and managed services," according to the study. "New customers most likely to participate in IT shared services include state executive branch agencies and public educational institutions at all levels."

First Phase

In Fort Collins, local officials said, the shared e-mail project is just the beginning. In recent months, PSD, Fort Collins and Larimer County, Colo., have been exploring other potential areas to share services. Areas under consideration include cyber-security, code enforcement, fleet services, IT, purchasing, risk management, parks maintenance and consolidated dispatch, to name a few.

"We looked for internal services and said, 'There's got to be other ways to save money by collaborating,'" Vosburg said. "But we need to prioritize where we put energy."

Vosburg also emphasized how good governance drives success -- that means communication, response times, incident management and change management procedures need to be exceptional. With that said, he recommends sharing services internally as a viable option to at least examine, if not pursue.

"Local governments are nonprofits so we're just looking for ways to cover costs, keep the lights on and provide service to citizens," he said. "Doing it by partnering with existing partners comes in way below retail. Given that cost model, it's really something that I think it would be irresponsible for other public CIOs not to pay attention to."

Russell Nichols  |  Staff Writer