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IT Consolidation underway promises opportunity for change

A new law to consolidate the State of Minnesota’s executive branch IT functions under the Office of Enterprise Technology was enacted following the 2011 special legislative session. This consolidation is one of the largest reorganizations of state government in Minnesota history. The goal is to create one IT organization for the State of Minnesota that is accountable for IT decisions and spending, and for ensuring that IT services are delivered efficiently, effectively and economically across the executive branch.

The legislation outlined an aggressive timeline to achieve the consolidation.  Because agencies, customers and employees are all affected by the change, the State’s approach has been to accomplish the goals of consolidation with as little disruption as possible.  Since the legislation passed, interagency agreements were executed between OET and the executive branch entities which placed the agency CIO or IT lead under the supervision of the State CIO, OET Commissioner Carolyn Parnell.  These agreements also gave the agency CIOs authority over all of the IT resources of the agency including staff and finances.   These changes were the first step in creating one virtual State IT organization.  The next steps are to transform from the virtual organization into a single state IT organization that delivers services in ways that are well-planned, deliberate and based on best management practices.  It is the work toward that end that is going on right now and progress is made every day. 

While consolidation itself is not a new or groundbreaking idea, it reaps great rewards.  Delivering IT through a single state IT organization, can:

  1. Build a stronger IT workforce for the state through improved training, skill development, job opportunities and defined career paths

  2. Improve security of private data through widespread use of common tools, better system and network architecture and consistent standards

  3. Provide a single look into the effectiveness and cost of IT service delivery in the state

  4. Uncover opportunities to reduce duplication, enable shared resources and improve service utilization 

  5. Generate cost savings through efficiencies in IT procurement, provisioning and training

  6. Foster innovative IT service delivery by making the work of IT professionals more efficient and freeing them up to develop better ways of delivering services

  7. Decrease the environmental footprint of IT through investment, virtualization and consolidation

  8. Improve the continuity and recoverability of systems and applications through reduced operational complexity, consistent standards and virtualization

While it’s never easy to implement major changes while continuing to conduct day-to-day business, IT employees throughout state government have shown that they are dedicated to providing quality service to customers every day. And their active participation in the strategic planning process now underway bodes well for Minnesota’s ability to realize the benefits of this significant change.

IT consolidation updates are available on the OET website, and future issues of Up to the MN-IT will include updates on the consolidation.

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