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Iowa to Create CIO Office and Expand IT Consolidation

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver signs proclamation that will widen state’s IT consolidation to include technology infrastructure, data security and enterprise applications.

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver signed an executive order Thursday, Oct. 14, that will widen the scope of the state’s technology consolidation and give the state CIO more authority on IT strategy and spending.

Under the order, Iowa’s IT consolidation will move into technology infrastructure, data security and enterprise applications. Previously a bill Culver signed in March ordered the consolidation of servers and siloed e-mail systems. According to the state, the Department of Administrative Services /Information Technology Enterprise (DAS/ITE) has moved more than 6,000 e-mail inboxes for 35 government organizations into a consolidated enterprise. The goal is to have about 15,000 mailboxes consolidated by the end of the year.

According to Robert Bailey, communications director for the Iowa Department of Administrative Services, the order Culver signed Thursday will create, for the first time, an Office of the Chief Information Officer. This office will be placed under the Department of Management, Bailey said, and will be headed by a new state CIO. Bailey said it’s his understanding the state’s existing technology office — the DAS/ITE — will continue its existing functions under its chief operating officer, which for years had served as the state’s de facto CIO. Lorrie Tritch currently is the acting chief operating officer of the DAS/ITE. “DAS/ITE has been and shall continue to be the lead for the operational aspects of information technology consolidation,” the order from Culver says.

Bailey said it’s hoped this new management structure will give the state CIO — the new position hasn’t been hired yet — more autonomy and the clout to enforce agencies’ compliance with the consolidation.

According to a study released in late 2009, Iowa state government employed 864 IT or “IT-related staff” and houses 1,944 servers. An estimated 25,000 e-mail users were scattered across 23 e-mail systems that are run by individual agencies. The report said the IT consolidation would cost nearly $8 million upfront, but would ultimately save $26.8 million. Culver told local media at the time that the state had 223 data centers.

“It says in [Thursday’s] proclamation that we’re already making progress, and we’re already making strides,” Bailey said about the consolidation.

Culver’s consolidation orders the state CIO to develop service-level agreements and technology budgets with individual agencies, to enact application development methodologies and to put together by spring 2011 a strategic plan for IT. Culver has also asked the DAS/ITE to report back by the end of October on the viability of desktop virtualization.


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