When Not Changing Is the Biggest Risk

After hearing from Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue earlier this morning about how he's changed state government to make it more efficient, we got a ...
October 1, 2009

After hearing from Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue earlier this morning about how he's changed state government to make it more efficient, we got a front-lines look at a specific example: Georgia's current, massive effort to outsource its technology.

Patrick Moore, Georgia CIO and head of the Georgia Technology Authority, spoke at lunch, in very specific terms, about the state's effort to outsource its technology infrastructure to IBM, and its telecom network services to AT&T -- a $1.2 billion agreement over the next half-decade.

The project, which the state began implementing in April, has has its share of challenges, including the difficultly of finding vendors willing to embark on such a massive undertaking. And there were problems with the very idea of privatizing, Moore said. "People don't like the word 'outsourcing.' Even today, it sends shivers down the spine of people in government."

But Georgia's IT system -- outdated, outmoded and unable to meet demands -- was a detriment to the state, Moore said. "The real risk for us was not to change. What we learned very quickly was that this was as much about change as it was about technology -- maybe more."

Georgia determined that it wasn't capable of making the needed improvements alone. The state needed a private-sector vendor. In short, Moore said, technology just wasn't a "core competency" of the state of Georgia. "And if it's not a core competency, we shouldn't be doing it."

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