February 17, 2011 By Steve Towns
In January, Georgia CIO Patrick Moore wrapped up four years at the helm of perhaps the most ambitious IT consolidation and outsourcing initiative in state government. By the time Moore left state service for a private-sector job, hundreds of servers had been modernized, a new central state data center had opened and a single 24/7 help desk was created, along with other necessities for operating government in 2011 and beyond.
Gov. Sonny Perdue launched the massive outsourcing plan in 2007, contending that Georgia’s aging technology infrastructure had become too risky to maintain and too expensive to replace by conventional means. Perdue’s choice to lead the undertaking was Moore, his former deputy chief of staff and former deputy chief operating officer for the state.
As state CIO, Moore embodied a new breed of technology leader whose policy and political skills were at least equal to their technical chops. Those skills served Moore well as he led the effort to dramatically change Georgia’s approach to acquiring and operating core technologies.
The state struck an eight-year, $873 million deal with IBM to provide infrastructure services, including mainframes, servers, printers, service desk, end-user computing and disaster recovery. Georgia also inked a five-year, $346 million telecommunications contract with AT&T for wide-area network, local-area network and voice services. Besides modernizing state technology and strengthening disaster recovery, the moves were expected to save an estimated $180 million.
In a 2009 interview with Public CIO magazine, Moore admitted the transition was wrenching for many of the state’s IT staff. The Georgia Technology Authority — the state’s central IT agency — shrank from 600 employees to less than 100, although many were offered jobs with the new contractors.
“The toughest issue is that some people will not reach retirement milestones with the state government because of this agreement,” he said. “That’s very difficult. It’s not lost on anybody because you are having an impact on their lives.”
The task wasn’t easy, and the transition still isn’t complete. But Georgia’s outsourcing effort has avoided the high-profile problems experienced by similar projects in Texas and Virginia. And those tough choices leave Georgia state government better prepared for the future.
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