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Consolidating technology saves Oklahoma $40 million in two years

Oklahoma is undergoing a massive consolidation of the technology departments housed in almost 130 different state agencies. Two years into the project and more than $40 million has been saved and 130 positions reduced.
BY MEGAN ROLLAND Published: March 4, 2012

Oklahoma is consolidating the technology departments in 129 state agencies, and in the process officials have uncovered numerous inefficiencies that were wasting taxpayer money.

Oklahoma state agencies currently pay $4.3 million a year to access the Internet through private fiber-optic cables, owned by companies such as Cox and AT&T, said Alex Pettit, the state's chief information officer, who is overseeing the consolidation.

Meanwhile, Pettit said the state owns 940 miles of its own, underused, fiber-optic cables that those state agencies could be using for free.

“We're paying everyone else for their own networks. That's just nuts. That's just flat nuts,” Pettit said. “Just optimizing what's in the ground right now could save the state $23 million over five years. That's the thing I find so frustrating.”

Pettit is on the front lines of efficiency for the state.

Two years into a plan approved by lawmakers to remove in-house technology departments from almost every state agency and put them under a statewide office, the state already has realized $40 million in savings and cut about 128 information technology positions through attrition.

Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, said this is the best example of a process consolidation that needed to happen.

“There were obviously hundreds too many IT employees, and that's where the cost was,” Murphey said. “Much less what could be achieved through consolidation of data services, virtualization of server space, email server consolidation and then just digital hardware.”

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