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Georgia Outsourcing Deal with IBM and AT&T Consolidates IT Operations

California chief information security officer Mark Weatherford writes on federal cyber-security.

What is it about Georgia governors?

They love farming -- and technology. Jimmy Carter introduced himself to the U.S. in the mid-1970s as a humble peanut farmer from Georgia, who also worked with nuclear energy when he was in the Navy. Current governor Sonny Perdue was raised on a farm, worked as a veterinarian and ran an agribusiness before becoming governor.

Perdue was also an early adopter of PCs as a businessman and has expressed a strong desire to use IT to modernize state government while taking it to the next level in driving efficiencies and productivity. He has also expressed frustration with the gap between IT's potential and its inability to deliver services cost-effectively and securely.

So I wasn't surprised to hear the governor directed CIO Patrick Moore and Chief Operating Officer Jim Lientz to take an unconventional approach and consolidate IT operations through a mega-outsourcing agreement with IBM and AT&T. The eight-year, $873 million deal puts the job of running Georgia's IT infrastructure and telecommunications in the hands of two of the nation's largest technology vendors.

There are few large-scale, public-sector outsourcing projects. All of them have run into challenges. What separates winners from losers? To use a cliché, the devil is in the details. Problems don't get solved by simply outsourcing them. The fact that three of Georgia's c-level executives are strongly involved makes for an interesting story, and we have a revealing look at Georgia's actions from Moore and Lientz in this issue's cover story.

A change has taken place in Michigan and it's reflected in our lineup of columnists and bloggers. Dan Lohrmann, formerly the state's chief information security officer (CISO), has become chief technology officer. Dan's not afraid to take on new challenges, so it seems natural he would broaden his horizons in the fields of government and technology. As a result, Dan's column will now cover infrastructure and innovation. He'll do the same with his blog.

Taking Dan's place covering security is Mark Weatherford, CISO of California's Office of Information Security and Privacy Protection. Weatherford recently moved to the Golden State after serving as CISO of Colorado. He received accolades from the IT security industry for his public- and private-sector work and has written for numerous industry publications. Now he's helping state CIO Teri Takai set security policies, standards and procedures. You can find Weatherford's first column in this issue and you can read his blogs on our Web site.


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With more than 20 years of experience covering state and local government, Tod previously was the editor of Public CIO, e.Republic’s award-winning publication for information technology executives in the public sector. He is now a senior editor for Government Technology and a columnist at Governing magazine.