Washington State Eyes Second Round of IT Consolidation

After a major merger of IT functions in 2011, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is proposing further consolidation.

by / August 26, 2014
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee Flickr/Jay Inslee's office

An IT consolidation plan announced last week by Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee would combine functions of three state agencies into one. The state Legislature will consider the proposal in January, and at least one legislator is skeptical of the idea.

State Rep. Reuven Carlyle pushed for stronger IT executive management in recent years, but said he’s unsure whether this type of consolidation will result in better value for the state’s IT purchases, The Olympian reported.

The merger would consolidate 20 employees from the Office of the Chief Information Officer, 280 employees from Consolidated Technology Services, and 250 employees from the Department of Enterprise Services.

“It’s a fine-tuning of the state’s central IT organization,’’ Ben Vaught, spokesman for the Office of the Chief Information Officer, told The Olympian. “We are talking about making sure agencies do what they are uniquely best at doing and not overburdened by things they are not as good at – like racking servers and performing functions that a centralized IT organization should be performing.”

The proposed consolidation would be a continuation of a 2011 merger by then-Gov. Chris Gregoire that merged five agencies into three. State Sen. Michael Baumgartner, who sponsored the original merger bill, said he was then pushing for more IT outsourcing, but was unsure whether the new bill would positively affect operations.

Since the previous merger, the Department of Enterprise Services has done its own consolidation, reducing the number of applications it managed from more than 400 to about 300, and reducing a team of 14 managers -- each of whom oversaw their own teams -- to six managers of one central team.

Legislators like Carlyle, however, said that steps like this are small and don’t necessarily get the state closer to its goal of having “top-notch IT systems.”

-- Colin Wood

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