Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) Update

AnchorVolume 7, Issue No. 6                                                                                               Nov-Dec, 2015 

GETS transformation wrap-up is the start of something good

"Transformation" has been in our GETS vocabulary for several years. We've gotten used to the sound of it. Now with the final SCON migrations completed (a set of DOR and GTA servers earlier this fall), we can happily say SCON and the whole of GETS transformation are behind us. Perseverance pays off.
It's quite an accomplishment, and not just for GTA and partners AT&T, IBM and Dell.  It also took real work from agencies to get the job done. I can't thank all participants enough. Your commitment, time, energy and insights made the difference. You made IT transformation work a priority, in the midst of all your competing priorities. Together we pushed through rough spots and reached the finish line.
Completion marks both a goodbye to the old and a hello to the new. Goodbye to old equipment, tools, processes and practices. Goodbye to outdated, fragmented systems and their inherent lack of reliability and recoverability.  Goodbye to a significant measure of the risk the state said it had to shed. You'll remember, those factors motivated the GAIT initiative (later GETS) in the first place.
Maybe even more important for the road ahead, it's a hello to the new. New capabilities. New possibilities. New opportunities for service delivery and IT services that make a positive difference for agencies and for Georgians.
Two quick examples - adoption of Office 365 and multisourcing service integration (MSI) in GETS. Neither would have been attainable without the transformation work that preceded them. The active directory upgrade, email upgrade and EUC refresh components of transformation stood as prerequisites. On the MNS side, the Capitol Hill network upgrade, LAN/WAN upgrade, the SSL VPN upgrade and others were key building blocks.
Taken together, the transformation projects moved Georgia's IT environment from a perilous position to one of potential. They put us on solid footing where reliable day-to-day operations allowed us breathing room to plan for the future. They allowed us to begin to take fuller advantage of IT innovation, for GETS agencies and for Georgia.  And equally important, transformation efforts cultivated strong working relationships across agencies and service providers that will continue to pay dividends.
It took longer than any of us wanted and it was harder than most expected, but we got it done. I wanted to be sure to say thanks. Thanks to you, our GETS agency partners, for putting your backs into the transformation projects. Thanks to the many project teams and those who supported them. And thanks to our service provider partners, with us from start to finish. We could not have gotten here without contributions from all.
In a dynamic IT setting, where business needs are ever-changing, we could say transformation is never finished. And we'd be right. But that doesn't diminish in any way the remarkable progress won through GETS transformation. We can all be proud of the achievement.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Calvin Rhodes
State Chief Information Officer
GTA Executive Director
Business/IT collaboration a key theme at Strategy Summit

Collaboration among IT and business teams isn't optional. It's essential to efficiency and improvement in state government services. Both within and across agencies. The collaboration theme anchored this year's Strategy Summit, co-hosted by GTA and the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget.
Near the start of the fourth annual summit in late October, OPB Deputy Director Rick Dunn described Georgia's revenue picture, and built a case for smart technology investment. Against a good-news backdrop of revenue growth for the state over the last five years, Rick cautioned that per capita revenue is not growing. The largest part of revenue growth is expected already to go to critical education and health spending. And, other new Georgia revenues (e.g., excise tax on gasoline) must, by design, be allocated to pre-defined concerns. Taken together, these make maximizing return on technology spending as important as ever.
Business/IT collaboration has to be in the equation. State CIO and GTA Executive Director Calvin Rhodes pointed to two examples of what that collaboration can produce. In GETS, innovation across agencies has come to life in the form of: 1) Office 365 email adoption, and 2) multisourcing service integration (MSI) incorporation into the GETS service delivery model. Both open doors to service improvements at GETS agencies.
Summit keynote speaker and author Phil Weinzimer pointed to findings from his book, The Strategic CIO, that confirm how companies and entities build upon collaboration to improve services they provide. CIOs and technology teams, Phil said, must understand business needs, as well as what technology options allow, to be a strategic partner and help innovate. That understanding, coupled with skills to capitalize on technology, as well as business/IT collaboration to implement improvements, form the basis of a model for innovation Phil discussed.
The 100 or so summit participants took those collected ideas into afternoon breakout sessions where they generated innovation opportunities for five broad business needs identified as common across multiple Georgia agencies. Shared needs included business intelligence, cloud strategy, data sharing, cyber security and mobile workforce. Innovation ideas brought forward from the breakout sessions gained a hearing from all participants at the close of the summit. Most promising ideas (and having broad backing) will be considered for further action through the GTA-led Georgia Innovation Program.
The Innovation Program, introduced at last year's Strategy Summit, is one of the ways GTA encourages innovation. Others include the GETS Quality and Innovation Advisory Council, a new forum, and the Technology Innovation Showcase awards presented each year at the Georgia Digital Government Summit.

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New procurement ahead for GETS computing services
As part of the Services Integration Initiative for the GETS program, GTA is planning for the re-procurement of infrastructure services (end user computing, servers, storage, mainframe, and print) using the competitive procurement process. Services are currently provided under an existing contract with IBM, set to expire in 2017.
To prepare, GTA will seek input from the IT services market to support a service delivery model capable of nimbly introducing new and innovative services to meet agencies' changing business needs.
The procurement is in the planning phase. Next steps will include a request for qualified contractors (RFQC) to obtain market input.  The RFQC is to be published by the end of 2015.
GTA will encourage participation in this procurement from the state agencies that will be primary consumers of the infrastructure services.  This continues the kind of agency involvement that helped ensure success in the recent GETS multisourcing service integrator (MSI) procurement and managed network services procurements.
Questions should be emailed to the GTA Procurement and Contracts Office at

MSI in operating mode, preparing for fuller deployment

New GETS multisourcing service integrator (MSI) Capgemini is now a 10-week veteran. It's much too soon to know every slope and turn of the GETS program landscape, but they're in operating mode and in the thick of it. And, working along with GTA and the other GETS service providers, Capgemini is preparing to become even more engaged.
In late August Capgemini began operating the GETS Service Desk. That's where they have highest visibility, though they're also administering other GETS functions including ordering of new services and technical functions like incident management and change management. In their MSI capacity, they're coordinating delivery of computing-related services among the several GETS service providers (e.g., IBM, Dell, Microsoft) that deliver those services.
Toward the start of 2016, Capgemini will extend its MSI service coordination role into the managed network services side of GETS. That's telephone, data and related services, where AT&T is the primary GETS service provider. Right now, Capgemini and AT&T are prepping to begin using a common platform of tools, processes and performance expectations, soon to be shared among all GETS service providers. Other new service providers dealing specifically with cable and wiring services, and conferencing services, will also hook into this platform. This is how the MSI coordinates services across multiple providers - by fostering a common way of doing business. The desired effect for GETS customers is smooth delivery of well integrated IT services.
Capgemini is also gearing up to take on responsibility for a slate of secondary IT processes - capacity management, risk management, operating level agreement (OLA) measurement and disaster recovery testing among them. These capabilities are to be in operating mode around the start of 2016 also.
Much of this is behind-the-scenes work. The GETS general user will continue to know Capgemini as Service Desk operator. Even there the MSI is busy with improvements. They've seen encouraging trends toward shorter wait times for callers and fewer abandoned calls than in the first few weeks of operation. Refinements will continue, with a goal of turning those positive trends into a regular pattern of reliable service.  More self-service options (e.g., password reset tool) are also being developed and polished to complement Service Desk services.

Self-service password resets
to bring added convenience
Easy-to-use - that's an essential quality for any self-service tool. Whether it's a flight check-in kiosk at Hartsfield-Jackson airport or auto pay online for a monthly utilities bill. Self-service that makes life easier is the kind of self-service people want.
That certainly applies to a self-service password reset tool. GTA and new GETS multisourcing service integrator (MSI) Capgemini have that firmly in mind as they prepare to re-introduce the PRAS password reset automation service to GETS agencies in the weeks ahead.
PRAS has potential to be a valuable tool to the GETS community. For staff in GETS full-service agencies, it allows password resets and account unlocks for your network password -- the one you use to sign in to your PC. Its web path lets you reset or unlock online. And a voice recognition path (new to GETS) allows automated resets and unlocks by telephone. Both should be time savers. Users can avoid needing to call the GETS Service Desk. They can reset or unlock when needed, without having to wait. It's convenient for users. And, it can help take pressure off GETS Service Desk staff who field significant numbers of password-related calls. That could free them to help with other concerns more promptly.
As part of the PRAS re-introduction, pilot testing is under way at GTA. The intention is to work out any remaining kinks and then extend tool access to other GETS agencies in a phased rollout.
PRAS was introduced at the time of MSI go-live in late August. Users' experience suggested the PRAS voice recognition feature needed to be easier to use. In addition to tool refinements, clarifications are also being made to user instructions and training materials (to be accessible on the SMART training tool on the new GETS Portal).
Look for schedule details soon about the re-introduction of PRAS. Try it out when you next need to reset your network password. Calling the Service Desk is still an option. You may find PRAS even more convenient though - like the airport kiosk.


  • The next GOVTalks  conference, hosted by GTA's GeorgiaGov Interactive team, is scheduled for November 18 in Atlanta.  It's all about data -- what to do with it, how to use it, who can see it. Register online now to hear speakers from state government and beyond describe how to share and make sense of plentiful data.  The GOVTalks series focuses on helping agencies create great websites and user experiences. It features a new topic twice yearly in web trends and technology, keeping you up to date.
  • The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) elected Calvin Rhodes, Georgia State CIO and GTA Executive Director, as Secretary and Treasurer for the 2015-2016 program year.  Selection of new executive leadership took place at NASCIO's October 13 annual meeting.  This nonprofit association represents state CIOs and IT executives from all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. It advocates for technology policy in government, promotes adoption of IT best practices and provides support services to public-sector CIOs.
  • Findings from NASCIO's newly released annual survey of state CIOs characterize the IT environment as faster-paced and more complex than ever before. Couple that with rising customer expectations, and it's little surprise CIOs report feeling pressed to be agile enough to adapt quickly and manage fast-changing technology to serve business needs. Have a look at the NASCIO survey to get a flavor of state government IT emphases across the nation.

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