Magazine article State Legislatures

Can Technology Save Money?

Magazine article State Legislatures

Can Technology Save Money?

Article excerpt

Information technology is vital to delivering government services, and states are looking for ways to use it to reduce costs.

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Consolidation is the No. 1 step taken by state IT directors to control costs, says Doug Robinson, director of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers. In 2010, Utah consolidated 35 data centers into two and reduced government-run servers from 1,864 to 591. State officials expect to save $4 million or more a year, much of it as a result of lower energy consumption.

Standardizing common applications such as e-mail, messaging, calendaring, human resources and payroll across state agencies also can save money. New York plans to move all state employees soon to a single e-mail system to save $4 million a year. Other states already have converted to common e-mail systems.

A 2010 publication by Tech America highlighted several other recent state initiatives to reduce costs and improve efficiency:

* Massachusetts centralized IT operations in the executive branch, which involved more than 150 state agencies, 200 phone systems, 15 data networks, 183 data centers and 24 e-mail systems.

* Ohio consolidated business processes, previously handled by individual state agencies, into a single division and standardized accounts payable, invoice processing, travel reimbursement, etc.

* Utah integrated how eligibility and benefits are determined for more than 60 social service programs, improving caseworkers' productivity with online verification of an applicant's address, work history and assets. …

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