December 11, 2009 By Matt Williams
Iowa Gov. Chet Culver and a bipartisan committee of lawmakers both agree: Consolidation of the state's technology services would be one means of saving money.
Culver and the State Government Reorganization Commission came independently to the same conclusion this week, as the state government works to close a projected budget deficit in fiscal 2010.
On Tuesday Dec. 8, Culver released a government efficiency proposal to save Iowa $1.7 billion over five years. Prepared by consultant Public Works, the 90-point plan suggests consolidation of the state's systems for e-mail and payroll, wider use of thin clients and negotiating a statewide services contract for IT professionals.
The report also suggested the state Legislature elevate the state CIO to a Cabinet-level position. John P. Gillispie, chief operating officer of the Information Technology Enterprise in the Department of Administrative Services, is the state's highest-ranking technology official.
According to the report, Iowa state government employs 864 IT or "IT-related staff" and houses 1,944 servers. An estimated 25,000 e-mail users are scattered across 23 e-mail systems that are run by individual agencies. The report said the IT consolidation would cost nearly $ 8 million upfront, but would ultimately save $26.8 million.
"To think that we have 223 data centers throughout state government really highlights how much opportunity there is to streamline and reduce the number of these data centers, and obviously in doing so will significantly reduce cost and save taxpayer money," Culver told local TV station KTVO on Wednesday.
A bipartisan panel of lawmakers also backs IT consolidation, reported the Des Moines Register newspaper. The State Government Reorganization Commission drafted its own list of cost-saving ideas -- separate from Culver's plan -- and it too mentions consolidation of e-mail systems and servers. The panel's list of ideas likely will be combined in one bill that will go before the Iowa Legislature when it convenes in January, according to the newspaper.
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