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Accelerate Illinois’ Modernization: Business Application Rationalization

An initiative is currently under way with a back-to-basics focus on the desired, future-state business capabilities of individual agencies.

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

A previous blog on the Statewide Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) program highlighted the transformative aspect of Information Technology (IT) and business at the state of Illinois. The ERP is the tip of the spear when it comes to technology transformation. Replacing roughly 600 back office related IT systems with a statewide ERP system will translate to cost savings and efficiency gains, which can lead to an overall improvement of the state’s credit rating, so it’s heartening to note the state has bigger, more ambitious plans.

The state intends to eliminate redundancy and duplication across the approximately 2,800 systems that currently exist across 54 agencies, thus eliminating the data/information silos, manual processes, swivel-chair integration, and many issues related to support and maintenance, reporting and compliance. It will take few years of arduous and persistent effort, but we believe there can be fewer than 1,000 systems at the end.

Application sprawl is common in large organizations -- in both the private and public sectors -- as they tend to acquire hundreds of applications over many years. However, large organizations often lack the capability or resolve to periodically sunset older, obsolete or duplicate applications -- even when the applications are ineffective and unable to adapt to changing business conditions.

A Business Application Rationalization initiative is currently under way with a back-to-basics focus on the desired, future-state business capabilities of individual agencies. A Statewide Reference Capability Model is being created with active engagement from agency subject matter experts and business users. It will enable the state CIO's office to make key decisions related to how those business capabilities can be supported using existing systems that survive the rationalization effort or by implementing new systems, where necessary. The guiding principles and Enterprise Governance around this objective is a topic for another day.

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