In 2011, Governor Mark Dayton signed legislation aimed at consolidating the state’s IT systems, employees, and administration.
Now, the governor and state IT leaders are touting the progress they’ve made, saying that their overhaul is saving taxpayers millions of dollars.
Among the steps that the state has taken to cut costs:
• Decommissioned one of its largest data centers and reducing the number of physical servers its manages by more than 60 percent, through consolidation and server virtualization
• The state’s IT arm, “MN.IT,” is now negotiating contracts on behalf of all state agencies
• Created a new online permitting and reporting system for the Department of Natural Resources; on average permits are issued or denied a month faster than under the former, more manual process
• Established a new project management office to ensure that the state’s technology investments and contracts are held accountable
• Taken efforts to help state agencies “go mobile”; for example, it developed a “mobile device-friendly platform for disseminating school performance data to students, parents and teachers”
By creating more efficient processes, the state has cut administrative waste and reduced costs in general, Dayton said. In fact, the state says the moves have saved state taxpayers more than $27.4 million, and MN.IT expects to save at least another $7 million by the end of the year.
“Our early success comes primarily from the opportunity to leverage group purchasing and negotiate enterprise contracts to avoid the cost of smaller, individual purchasing agency-by-agency,” Carolyn Parnell, commissioner of MN.IT Services and the state’s chief information officer, said in a statement. “There are still more areas where we can realize savings and we intend to maximize those opportunities.”
Dayton said that, in addition to cutting costs, the reforms allow the state to deliver its IT services to citizens more quickly.