Accelerate Illinois’ Modernization: Celebrating Contract Negotiations and Early Wins

These actions may not seem like much when looked at individually, but they signal a cadence of positive, demonstrable change.

by Dominic Saebeler, Scott Norton, Jonelle Brent; Enterprise IT Executive Leaders, Illinois / March 11, 2016

Editor's note: Day seven of Illinois' 30-day IT modernization blog was originally published on LinkedIn, and is republished here with permission.

As you can imagine with an organization as large and complex as the state of Illinois, there are always opportunities to challenge the status quo and find savings for the taxpayer. In the spring and summer of 2015, core team members focused their efforts on identifying and capturing immediate contractual savings to redirect IT spending across the enterprise. The examples below also illustrate our partners’ willingness to renegotiate their contracts to create taxpayer advantage.

Contract Negotiations

First win: $1.8 million

The state negotiation team executed a Fall 2015 amendment to its Enterprise License Agreement with IBM. This extended the term with available contract extensions through Fiscal 2017, while creating $1.8 million of combined savings and cost avoidance. The renegotiated contract included:

  • an additional discount for ongoing license purchase requirements;
  • expansion of license savings for a larger pool of agencies;
  • avoidance of $600,000 of prior contract costs; and
  • repurposing and re-establishing right to utilize previously unused IBM software.

Second win: Cost avoidance of $4 million with a potential for $12 million

Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (MSEA) was negotiated, potentially avoiding over $4 million of additional annual spending. Staged license conversion and purchasing Office 365 licenses for only two-thirds of state end-users (that would realistically transition to Office 365 in the given time) allowed us to achieve this. The state tied Office 365 adoption to migration of disparate domains to a single domain. The combination of tying new Office 365 license use to domain conversion avoids unnecessary up-front costs while providing the opportunity to control spend. Total projected savings, with a three-year term for this agreement is $12 million.

Policy Changes

Third win: BYOD Mobile Policy

This is an example of moving from tentativeness to firm decision-making. Mobile devices are important productivity tools for today’s workforce. The state had been contemplating a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) mobile policy for some time, but was unable to take action. Last fall, the Mobile Device Security Policy was revised to address security concerns and protect confidential state data. Additionally, this new policy permits authorized, personally owned devices. While BYOD participation is voluntary, employees who choose to carry/manage one device prefer it. While minimal, it will still save the state money by eliminating device costs and monthly service charges.

Technology Changes

Fourth win: Blackberry Retirement

Something unimaginable only 5 years ago, was a plan announced early last year to retire Blackberries. By January 2016, all blackberry devices and Blackberry Enterprise Servers were decommissioned. While the total savings was a rather low six-figure number, it created tremendous efficiency, as the mobile team is no longer supporting multiple platforms and devices.

As CIO Hardik Bhatt notes, "Taken independently, these actions may not seem like much. But they signal a cadence of positive, demonstrable change. There are many more examples, and we do have a long way to go. We are consistently challenging the status quo, making smart decisions and acting on them. They represent a culture in transition, proactively working for the benefit of the taxpayer."


In the state of Illinois, Dominic Saebeler is the chief of IT Transformation and Policy; Scott Norton is the chief of Infrastructure Operations; and Jonelle Brent is the chief of staff for Enterprise IT.