Schwarzenegger Announces Plan to Reorganize California's Information Technology

"With more than 400 online services available, Californians are increasingly interacting with government through Internet browsers instead of offices."

by / January 16, 2009

"With more than 400 online services available, Californians are increasingly interacting with government through Internet browsers instead of offices." -- California CIO Teri Takai (pictured)

Today, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced the Governor's Reorganization Plan (GRP) to consolidate statewide information technology (IT) functions under the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO). By creating a central IT organization, the state will leverage California's IT program for greater coordination and efficiency while reducing costs -- saving the state approximately $1.5 billion over the next five years. In addition to the IT reorganization, the governor is proposing 17 other ways to make government more efficient.

"At a time when California families and businesses are cutting back and tightening their belts, state government must do the same -- we have a responsibility to ensure government is working efficiently with taxpayer dollars," said Schwarzenegger. "My administration is proposing a plan to consolidate things like software contracts, networks, servers and data centers across the state, resulting in increased coordination, efficiency, energy savings and an overall reduction in costs to taxpayers. We have a unique opportunity to make the state's technology systems work better and more efficiently for the people of California."

"With more than 400 online services available, Californians are increasingly interacting with government through Internet browsers instead of offices," said Teri Takai, California's CIO. "Californians can now register their vehicles or pay their taxes online, and they can stream real-time traffic information or apply for research grants online. We need to build upon this strong foundation by making strategic investments to meet growing public expectations for access to services and information 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

The GRP is based on a recent Little Hoover Commission report that proposed realigning IT resources, including the Department of Technology Services (DTS) under the leadership of the OCIO, to enhance efficiency and bolster performance. The reorganization will create more accountability and provide a framework to enhance the IT workforce that supports our computer systems, among other things.

Specifically, the GRP proposes to:

  • Integrate four agencies -- the Office of the State Chief Information Officer (OCIO), Office of Information Security and Privacy Protection (Office of Information Security), Department of Technology Services and the Department of General Services -- Telecommunications Division --- into an expanded OCIO.
  • Provide the State Chief Information Officer with authority for IT procurement policy and enterprise IT management. 
  • Achieve consolidation of software contracts, office automation tools, data centers/computer rooms, servers, storage and networks over the course of five years. This is estimated to achieve a cost savings and cost avoidance of $1.5 billion.
  • Preserve program-specific IT systems and budgets at the agency level.

The GRP will be submitted to the Little Hoover Commission (LHC) next week. The LHC will then have 60 days to issue a recommendation to the Legislature on the proposal. The GRP will also be submitted to the Legislature 30 days after it is submitted to the LHC. The Legislature will have 60 days during which to review the GRP and allow it to take effect or take up a negative resolution in either house to reject it.

To more effectively oversee information technology in state government, the governor signed SB 90 in August of 2007 to establish the OCIO as a cabinet-level agency with statutory authority over information technology policy. The office establishes and enforces information technology strategic plans, policies, standards and enterprise architecture, as well as approves information technology projects for all state departments.

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