As we report in Reason's Annual Privatization Report 2008, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue is turning to privatization to transform Georgia's dysfunctional technology services. In December 2007, Perdue announced a major initiative to privatize state technology services--Georgia Infrastructure Transformation 2010 (GAIT 2010)--shifting about 500 state employees to private companies and eliminating roughly 200 positions.
A February 2008 consultant report found that the Georgia Technology Authority (GTA)â€“-created in 2000 to provide statewide government technology servicesâ€“is "a highly inefficient and dysfunctional organization, delivering expensive services." The report concluded that, "the capabilities within the state to fix the problem have deteriorated to such an extent that only an enterprise-wide initiative that draws services and skills from the market has the opportunity to make timely repairs."
Three major initiatives are in the works. IBM and EDS submitted bids to GTA in June 2008 to manage the state's IT infrastructure (including data centers, mainframes, servers, PCs and laptops). That same month, EDS and AT&T submitted bids to provide managed network services (including the state's wide area network). Lastly, BearingPoint Inc., Deloitte Consulting LLP and NICUSA Inc. are currently competing for a contract for the Georgia Portal Transformation project, offering Web users more services than currently available at www.georgia.gov. The state plans to select a winner and execute a contract in October.
Altogether, the three contracts would total $1.28 billion over five years, affecting operations at 11 state agencies. Gov. Perdue canceled a similar proposal in February 2003 after taking office. At the time, former GTA director Larry Singer was pursuing a single contract for all of the state's technology services, but Gov. Purdue felt that breaking the contract into several pieces would be a more manageable approach.
While this IT modernization initiative is poised to move Georgia to the front of the pack, they are certainly not alone. This June Washington Technology article highlights other major state-level IT initiatives:
Because they drive savings and improve efficiencies, infrastructure consolidation, shared services and enterprise resource planning initiatives at the state level are among the hottest state opportunities for systems integrators and other technology companies, he said. Other areas that will produce substantial business opportunities during the next few years are health information technology and justice and public safety, [Tim Brett, senior manager of state and local information services at market research firm Input Inc.] said.
Besides the costs savings involved, another impetus for consolidation, shared-services and enterprise resource planning projects is the need to tap the private sector for IT skills in the wake of state government staff retirements.
Input's top 10 state and local RFP opportunities this year are:
* Pennsylvania shared infrastructure services.
* Illinois shared services.
* California financial information system
* ERP projects in Colorado, West Virginia and Hillsboro County, Fla.
* Medicaid management information systems opportunities in California and New York.
* Oregon health record bank.
* Health IT opportunities in Connecticut, District of Columbia and Kentucky.
* Justice and public safety opportunities via various grant programs.
* Oregon wireless interoperability network.
I'm not familiar with most of these, but they certainly merit a look. And I'd wager that a number of local governments are looking at similar models, so it's worth digging around there as well.