After weighing the options for about a year, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) announced on June 3 that it would partner with an outside firm to meet its IT needs. About 350 of TxDOT’s 400 IT workers will become employees of NTT Data, a global IT services provider. Contractually, all employees affected by the change are guaranteed employment for the next six months and no one is being fired or forced to reapply for their position as an immediate result of the announcement, according to TxDOT Communications Officer Bob Kaufman.
While the agency of 12,000 employees does a great job when it comes to transportation, Kaufman said, it has underinvested in IT and is now behind in that area. “This is going to help our overall agency perform better because we’re going to gain a lot of productivity gains that we haven’t had in the past,” he said. “This new partnership will help make TxDOT IT more efficient so we can better serve our employees and we can better serve our taxpayers and better serve the state.”
NTT Data beat out four other private companies for the contract with the department, Kaufman said. “We’re going to reduce the amount of old, outdated software at TxDOT. NTT Data is going to help us to develop better software and the cost to service these newer programs is going to be less than it was in the past.” NTT Data will also provide assistance in the areas of customer support, network support, and IT security, Kaufman added.
The department’s IT workers stand to benefit, Kaufman said, because NTT Data is one of the best IT companies in the world. “Over time, should they [TxDOT IT workers] decide they want to try to work on behalf of TxDOT in another form or fashion, that’s an option. They may decide to work for another NTT client,” he said. And the state benefits by drawing from the experience and resources of a large multi-national IT firm to achieve efficiencies that it could not have achieved alone, he said.
“They will reduce what we don’t need and optimize what we do need, either by improving the existing programs in place or bringing us more into the 21st century with ones that are better suited for today’s requirements,” Kaufman said.
Several other Texas agencies and Kentucky also are working with NTT Data, Kaufman said. TxDOT wanted to join those organizations in their success. Kaufman declined to comment on whether the decision to outsource the IT activities of the TxDOT was in any way controversial.
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Colin wrote for Government Technology from 2010 through most of 2016.