House committee told modernization reforms on track
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Published: 22-Oct-2010

CapitolBeatOK Staff Report

Published: 22-Oct-2010

State and local governments are set to save $21 million each year due to purchasing reforms enacted in recent years by the Legislature and is on track to achieve further savings through consolidated information technology services and financial shared services, House committee members were told this week.

Randy Ross, the deputy director at the Department of Central Services testifying at a legislative study before the House Government Modernization committee, said the agency is continuing to negotiate new contracts for commodities utilized by state and local agencies. He said state agencies are projected to save approximately $13 million and local entities projected to save nearly $8 million. The agency is expected to document total savings in January.

“Central purchasing reforms have helped provide millions of dollars in relief to state and local government budgets as their revenues decline,” said state Rep. Jason Murphey, a Guthrie Republican and chairman of the panel. “We expect to see further savings from current IT consolidation efforts and financial saved services and were encouraged today to hear that those efforts are being implemented at a breakneck pace.”

The committee also heard testimony that recent legislative reforms are allowing state officials to re-negotiate contracts with vendors who are no longer providing products at a price which is competitive with commonly available peer products.

Chief Information Officer Alex Pettit and a representative of Capgemini told the committee that the data-collection phase of the IT consolidation effort is underway, with surveys sent out to agencies last week and an automated scan of seven agencies already completed. The final report of the IT consolidation plan is scheduled to be completed Feb. 28, 2011. A rough draft will be available by mid-December.

“The CIO has already identified a need for technology standardization among agencies, a problem with document compatibility and a lack of communication between the IT personnel of various agencies,” Murphey said. “I have been very impressed with the speed of this consolidation effort.”

State Rep. David Derby, vice-chairman of the committee, sponsored the IT consolidation initiative as part of House Bill 1170 during the 2009 legislative session and plans to file follow-up legislation during the 2011 to incorporate any additional reforms suggested in the plan.

“The state stands to save millions through the consolidation of services in a massive area of state spending,” Derby, R-Owasso, said. “It is critical that the Legislature implement the plan’s suggestions after they are made available in February.”

The committee also heard from Brenda Bolander with the Office of State Finance, who said 95 agencies, representing 99 percent of travel claims, were using the newly implemented electronic payment system for travel expenses. She also noted that 20 percent of interagency payments were now made electronically. She said

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