pool the purchasing power of the enterprise we call Texas government and leverage that to drive down technology costs. That will certainly be a big initiative, and probably last, enhancing security and privacy management will be another big and targeted initiative for us.

What are the biggest challenges facing Texas, and how do you think technology can be used to address those?

One of our key goals in the state is to provide citizens greater access to government services while reducing service delivery costs. We continue to highlight effective, efficient and accountable government operations. So it's citizen access - or greater access - to services, reducing operational costs and highlighting accountable government. I think that plays into the sweet spot of technology and how technology can be integrated into business operations. I think technology plays a very significant role in providing greater access to government services 24 by 7, but also reducing the cost of government, and I think technology and innovation are well positioned to facilitate agencies in obtaining that goal.

You mentioned innovation as a focus. What areas are particularly ripe for IT innovation?

My goal in the context of innovation would be to establish Texas as a leader in the country in three areas - government-to-business initiatives, government-to-government initiatives and government-to-citizen initiatives. Those are obviously three areas ripe for innovation in my mind.

When we talk about government-to-business initiatives like TexasOnline, our official Web portal for the state and our official e-transaction Web site, we have a very successful implementation in our current effort. We are on the verge of rebidding that effort, and along with the rebid, our expectation is that will give us a wonderful opportunity to continue to evolve and innovate what I consider to be a national leader and our government-to-citizen initiative. So TexasOnline will certainly be a big initiative there.

In terms of government-to-government initiatives, we have a plethora of things. A good example would be our shared service delivery initiatives, and again TexasOnline would certainly fit in there as well. Also, our cooperative contracting program is very, very, very significant. We have close to 350 technology contracts that are part of that program today. We're expecting this fiscal year to do somewhere north of $950 million through those contracts. Those contracts serve not only Texas state agencies, but the full Texas enterprise: city governments, K-12, higher ed.

When we talk about government-to-government initiatives, it's technology initiatives, supply-chain management, cooperative contracting, and leveraging the purchasing power of the state to drive prices for all of our eligible public-sector organizations in the state, and hopefully improving service levels for those organizations.

How is the data center consolidation project progressing?

Thirty state government data centers across 27 agencies were in the scope of the data center consolidation initiative. There were 30 data centers that accounted for more than 5,000 servers in the state. There were around a dozen mainframes, a significant volume of print and mail operations were in the scope of the initiative, and more than 500 state staff were involved in the operations of those 30 data centers. So it's a very significant initiative.

The data center consolidation project ultimately will take those 30 data centers across 27 agencies and transform them into two data centers: a data center in San Angelo, Texas, as well as a data center in the Austin area. We're also moving from what I would call varying levels of security, disaster recovery and service levels that are currently part of those 30 data centers that exist today into an environment where we have consistent measured high levels of security, disaster recovery and service levels through those two data centers. And we're moving from multiple contracts across those 30 data centers into one single contract that's based on consumption pricing, so we're moving from an

Steve Towns  |  Executive Editor