August 28, 2009 By Wayne Hanson
The Massachusetts Department of Administration released a video yesterday explaining the commonwealth's IT consolidation plan. In the video, CIO Anne Margulies (pictured) says that IT consolidation is important because the commonwealth has a "massive patchwork of technology" that includes 183 data centers, 100 phone systems, 24 e-mail systems, and 15 data networks. As a result, said Margulies, staff spend too much time fixing what's broken, maintaining hundreds of internal firewalls and developing interfaces just so systems can talk to each other.
"The current approach to managing IT is too complex, too difficult to maintain and impossible to keep secure," said Margulies. The new model, she explained, is focused on more efficiency, more effectiveness, and more security.
The consolidation effort began with Governor Patrick's Executive Order 510 and is targeted to complete by Dec. 2010.
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.