Doug Young became CIO of Missouri in November 2009. He has more than 20 years of public-sector IT experience, including serving as IT services chief for the Missouri Department of Conservation. Young oversees all of Missouri's technology needs and manages a consolidated statewide IT budget.
We're hoping it levels off soon, but we're expecting the next budget year to be just as painful as this year's. For our IT budget, that's meant a decline this year of about 10 percent. So those [will] be some challenging times as we figure out how to accomplish all the priorities that everyone has for us, but do that with less personnel and fewer dollars.
Missouri has worked on consolidation efforts for a number of years. We're going to ramp up some of those. We're shrinking individual data centers back into the state data center, and there are several more of those that we can do this year. That's also giving us an opportunity to consolidate some staffing. For agencies that are geared up to do 24/7 operations, as we do this consolidation, many of those positions will become excess. So we're trying to deal with that through attrition. We'll get savings from those efforts and hopefully that will be enough to get us over the hump.
We have vendors that are very interested in benefits-based contracts. We're looking at that possibly on some tax systems. We're also looking at unified communications solutions for the state. We've been a Centrex operation and it doesn't take much walking around our state buildings to notice that many of those individual phone lines aren't very heavily used. We've been looking hard at what we could do to internalize those phone operations, perhaps by going to a voice over IP system. We believe there's a significant cost savings to the state if we go down that road.
It's still very early in the process. We're reaching out to all the different constituent groups to get an understanding of the impact and how we can best help citizens. We need to see where states can collaborate. The way Missouri registers health-care providers shouldn't be that much different from how Kentucky does it. So can we create these common building blocks among the states and save dollars that way?