Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) Update

AnchorVolume 7, Issue No. 5                                                                                               Sep-Oct, 2015 

Three weeks in: MSI for the GETS program

The GETS community stepped onto new ground when Capgemini, our multisourcing service integrator (MSI), took over operation of the GETS Service Desk and other functions on August 24th.

If the ground has felt at all squishy in the first few weeks, it's just some slight settling.  We're on solid foundation.

In conjunction with Capgemini we're making needed adjustments as challenges arise.  This is exactly the sort of
initial discovery period you'd expect with such ambitious change.  Refinements remain to be made, but I'm confident, and you can be too, we'll all see efforts rewarded.

Preparations started months ago.  In fact, we started just as soon as we selected Capgemini as our MSI back in March.  It's not just GTA and Capgemini, of course.  IBM, Dell, AT&T and Microsoft, our GETS partners, have also prepared for new ways of delivering service.  And GETS agencies have been in the thick of it too, getting ready for the MSI model through WIGs (workstream input groups) and user testing and training.  I'm especially appreciative of the sizable effort agencies have made to be ready for changes.

Some of the MSI changes earning top billing right now are Service Desk-related.  (See the Service Desk article
below for details.)  Many others are more behind-the-scenes:  processes, reporting, tools used by IT administrators.  All of it builds toward a GETS program that better serves the state's IT enterprise, and I value your shared commitment to that.

The MSI function played by Capgemini is pivotal to the Services Integration program GTA has pursued.  We're out to
better coordinate services across multiple GETS providers and to ensure faster availability of innovative IT services to state agencies.  Important to GETS general users, that should earn us better service performance.  And significant to agency leaders and planners, it will increase transparency in IT costs and consumption.

GETS improvements don't end with MSI. We have been conducting a procurement to rebid the contract for managed network services in accordance with the new service delivery model.  We recently signed a contract with AT&T for LAN/WAN and voice services.  Still to come is the award of contracts to multiple service providers for conferencing and cable and wiring services. 

It's an exciting and demanding time for the GETS program. Working as a team, we are building a stronger program, one that is able to meet changing needs. I'm proud that the state's IT enterprise has embraced a forward-thinking way of doing business, and I'm grateful for the commitment of people across the agencies who are carrying through with the hard work of putting it into practice.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Calvin Rhodes
State Chief Information Officer
GTA Executive Director
SrvcDeskOnline, phone, email or chat:
all roads lead to Service Desk

New routes are open to you when you need help from the GETS Service Desk, now operated by GETS multisourcing service integrator (MSI) Capgemini.

GETS customers now have the added convenience of the following paths, as well as calling the 877-GTA-3233 phone number you're already familiar with.
  • Get online help from an electronic virtual assistant (EVA).
  • Chat online with an agent when you need help beyond what EVA can provide.
  • Email the Service Desk for help.
  • Submit an online request for help with a problem related to your computer or phone.
All these options are accessed through a new GETS Portal. It's your online connection for GETS IT services and information. It will also be home to GETS training material, GETS announcements, and tools used by GETS administrators (e.g., service catalog, assets, finance).
These expanded choices grow out of incorporating enhanced service integration into the GETS service delivery model and should provide you added convenience and reliability.

Even with new vendor partner Capgemini joining the community, the many GETS IT services you rely on -- email and personal computing and network systems among them -- carry on uninterrupted.  Vendors AT&T, Dell, IBM, Microsoft and others continue to provide services.

Back to Top 
A nod to disruptive technology at Digital Gov't Summit
In the technology arena, you earn points for being disruptive -- not for bad behavior, but for innovations that fundamentally change the way we do things.  Disruptive technologies figure prominently in the agenda for the Georgia Digital Government Summit September 22-23 in Atlanta.

Session topics include:
  • Cloud Today - What It Means for the Business of Government
  • Leveraging Big Data with Meaningful Analytics
  • Data and the Cloud
  • Disruptive Technologies - Where Are the Flying Cars?
  • Cyber Security - How Do I Know When I'm Doing Enough?
  • Taking Mobility from Strategy to Implementation
  • Game of Drones - Issues, Challenges and Opportunities
  • IT Leadership Qualities in the Years Ahead
  • Securing Georgia - Plans, Programs and Progress
A special interactive session - Breach! When Bad Things Happen to Good People and Their Organizations - will explore the new "wild west" of cyber criminals and hackers. A panel of experts will engage audience members in a discussion of lessons learned from real-life cases.

Two outstanding keynote speakers are scheduled:
  1. Communicating in a Crisis: 30 Years of Work Destroyed in 30 Seconds - Anthony Huey, president of Reputation Management Associates, will discuss the flow of information with the media, stakeholders, bosses, peers and other audiences during a crisis.
  2. Find Your Voice - Jim Meskimen, a communications coach, will examine the traits and methods used by some of the best communicators in the world.

State and local government agencies will be recognized for their technology achievements, and leading technology companies will exhibit their latest products and services.
The annual event -- for both IT and business leaders from state and local governments -- will take place at the Westin Buckhead hotel in north Atlanta.  The registration fee is $25 for public-sector employees.
Visit the Digital Government Summit website to register.

New Board to recommend cybersecurity measures 

Georgia's new State Cybersecurity Board held its inaugural meeting recently, beginning its work to raise the profile of cybersecurity preparedness and IT risk management in state government.  The board's creation grew from an executive order signed in June by Governor Deal.

The Governor's order recognizes the need for "interagency coordination, reporting, training, sharing of data and information about systems, and a consolidated view of the state's risks, readiness, constraints, priorities, and responsiveness to risk remediation."

The new Board, officially the State Government Systems Cybersecurity Review Board, will focus on protecting and ensuring the privacy of state data.  The order designates the state CIO as the Board's permanent chair, that post held by GTA Executive Director Calvin Rhodes.  Other members include the director of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (Jim Butterworth), the adjutant general of Georgia and leader of the Georgia National Guard (BG Joe Jarrard) and the commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services (Sid Johnson).

The Board's responsibilities include conducting a review of the cybersecurity preparedness of the state and developing recommendations to state agencies for the proper management of cybersecurity risks.  In addition, the Board is to provide an annual briefing to the Governor, with the first due in early 2016.

Paper on digital branding cites work of GTA's portal team
A recent paper on digital branding from the Center for Digital Government quotes GTA's GeorgiaGov Interactive team director Nikhil Deshpande.

The paper, "Digital Branding in Government," focuses on the importance of creating a digital identity to engage and better serve citizens.  It says state and local governments face challenges similar to those of commercial businesses in delivering services and understanding constituents' future needs. It advises governments to modernize internal operations and rethink branding strategies to succeed in an ever-changing environment.

Nikhil is among the progressive government leaders whose work is cited as an example for others. He and his team manage the state's web portal and oversee the portal's mobile and social media operations.

In the paper, he discusses the shift to an enterprise digital platform for Georgia state government. The platform is based on an open-source content management system and cloud hosting and provides cohesive branding across state agencies. It also incorporates responsive design technology, which automatically optimizes a website's display to fit the screen on a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Along with IT leaders from the state of New York and the city of Los Angeles cited in the paper, Nikhil offers guidance to government agencies that want to create a cohesive brand across multiple channels.

The digital branding paper can be downloaded from the Center's website.

Data sharing breeds innovation

Some IT work stays well out of view, even when its impact is quite apparent.  The efforts of GTA's Data Sharing Services team provide an example.  The team enables state applications and systems to communicate with each other, creating interoperability that allows agencies to share data securely among authorized partners.  Hardly glamorous, but important to Georgia.

The work takes shape as the Enterprise Service Bus - the "vehicle" for moving data among applications and systems. Over the past decade or so, the team has constructed 48 touchpoints connecting agencies served by the GETS program, smaller agencies and the federal government. The touchpoints process more than 800,000 transactions each day to satisfy more than 350 separate business processes. The Enterprise Service Bus uses Software AG's webMethods middleware technology stack, rated as a best-of-breed product. The team works to make sure all data is exchanging properly and readily available.

That's the behind-the-scenes part.  More important is what data sharing means for agencies and the Georgians they serve.  For example, the team works with the Georgia Department of Human Services to deny or suspend vehicle and state licenses from parents who owe child support.  The process involves collecting data and connecting systems within DHS and the departments of Driver Services, Natural Resources and Corrections.

The team is also helping to ensure that SUCCESS, a legacy application for determining eligibility for state assistance, is able to communicate with more modern applications and systems until it can be replaced.  The Enterprise Service Bus will play a major role in the state's new Integrated Eligibility System as the main data transmission component between the connecting state and federal business partners.

The work of the Data Sharing Services team will become even more vital as agencies move toward greater sharing of data to provide the convenient and efficient services constituents expect.


  • The fourth annual Strategy Summit, this year co-hosted by GTA and the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget, is scheduled for October 26th in Atlanta.  As with previous summits, emphasis will be on identifying innovative approaches to business challenges common across multiple state agencies.  The event will bring together business, strategy and technology leaders from Georgia agencies to think collectively about new ways to better serve Georgians,  Email questions to





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