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Florida CIO on State’s Email Consolidation

David Taylor discusses Florida’s move to a private cloud.

David Taylor became CIO of Florida and executive director of the state’s Agency for Enterprise Information Technology in 2008. One of his first tasks was to lead a state-mandated consolidation of email for executive branch agencies, which at the time operated more than 30 separate systems. Migration to the enterprise email system was scheduled to start in late 2011.

What were your first steps on email consolidation?  

We put together work groups of the customer agency participants to do a study, and then we told the Legislature that we saw consolidation as an opportunity to save some money. We took the same approach to the procurement. Agencies that would be the customers participated in designing the business requirements and the procurement instrument.

What solution did they choose?  

The best price and value was an Exchange 2010 system — a private cloud solution. The awardee was ACS, and Microsoft is a subcontractor. They will run it in an ACS data center in Florida using their staff in a private-cage environment. All state employees are doing is managing the contract. The project is roughly 115,000 Exchange mailboxes to start; we expect cities and counties to join within the next couple of years. The contract also was written so other states can join.

Will public safety agencies use it?  

Since the Legislature didn’t provide an exemption for public safety, they had to be included. That changed the business requirements dramatically. The system had to be architected to meet their security concerns. We needed to provide a system that [Criminal Justice Information Services]-type data could live in for years. That involves the technical aspect, and also background checks of all [vendor] employees.

What are the benefits of this move?  

Our initial estimate is that this will save about $2 million a year over the seven-year contract. That won’t save the state budget, but it’s significant. Putting everyone on the same platform also means all of the state’s archives will be in a central repository, which will make us better at responding to legal discovery or public records requests.


Miriam Jones is a former chief copy editor of Government Technology, Governing, Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines.
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