February 29, 2012 By Hilton Collins
When the Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) needs something done, Steve Nichols is the man to call. He’s been instrumental in major state IT projects since joining the organization in 2002. After 10 years and numerous leadership changes, he remains an intellectual force behind Georgia’s IT operations.
Nichols — who’s working with his fourth CIO and third governor — offers this advice for dealing with changing bosses: “You have to recognize that if you really are going in a new direction, you’ve just got to let go of the history and the baggage and go with it.”
Nichols may be flexible, but he’s also been effective at helping state government maintain a consistent IT strategy despite the turnover. In 2008, the GTA awarded a contract to IBM for outsourced IT infrastructure services, which provides mainframes, servers, desktop and disaster recovery services. The authority awarded a second contract to AT&T in 2008 for outsourced voice and network services. The GTA announced plans last year to move Georgia’s Web portal and 65 agency websites to an open source cloud platform.
Georgia plans to eliminate 20 servers with this portal migration, and projects cost savings of $4 million to $5 million over five years. The state also expects the infrastructure and network outsourcing deals to save more than $180 million over 10 years.
While Nichols has been successful in convincing his bosses to see projects through, he knows it involves give and take. “You win some and you lose some,” he said.
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