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CIO Chad Kirkpatrick Discusses Arizona E-Mail Consolidation

Desktop virtualization and online licensing among other Arizona CIO's priorities.

With Arizona facing a large gap between income and expenses, state CIO Chad Kirkpatrick is looking for efficiency. One of his prime targets is Arizona's highly federated IT environment. Kirkpatrick, appointed state CIO last year, spoke to Government Technology about several initiatives aimed at cutting state IT costs, including an innovative cloud-based e-mail pilot and a virtual desktop initiative.


How are you approaching statewide e-mail consolidation?

We have about 135 state agencies, boards and commissions running their own e-mail systems. So you have a lot of redundancies - whether it's the people managing the systems or the purchasing of physical equipment. There's a lot of savings opportunity there. We've issued an RFI, and in June [came] out with an actual pilot program where we're going to take one group of users to do the Google public cloud and another to do an internal Microsoft Exchange private cloud. We're going to separate the hype from the reality, and see which one works best.

How long will the pilot run?

About six weeks. We'll spend another month or so doing a lessons-learned document, and then we'll come up with a strategy and move to the RFP process. The goal is to be on the path to some sort of consolidation by the beginning of next calendar year.

The desktop virtualization is somewhat similar?

Yes, each agency manages its own networks, infrastructure and desktops, so we see a huge amount of savings from consolidation. We're working with two vendors, and the goal is to have about 200 users for each solution by the end of the year. Ultimately we want to reach out to a lot of our smaller agencies. We think we'll see a lot of cost savings and better quality of service. This will give them an updated system at a small subscription rate - $20 to $40 a month per user depending on what the final price works out to be.

What are your other priorities?

A lot of our interaction with citizens is done manually; we're working on automating that. You can now get licenses from our Department of Game and Fish online. We've gone to a couple of vendors and said, "Give us a proposal for automating all the registration and fee pieces for another 40 or so smaller boards and commissions. And by the way, we're not going to pay you. So tell us how you'd make your money and how we can completely automate this in two years."