Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) Update

AnchorVolume 8, Issue No. 5                                                                                               Sep-Oct, 2016 

Innovative use of technology alive and well in Georgia

GTA debuted the Technology Innovation Showcase in 2012, and each year since, it has been a dynamic forum for honoring outstanding work at the state and local government levels. We're glad to celebrate folks making innovative use of technology, and a primary goal is to promote sharing of ideas, experiences and lessons learned.
In 2016, we fielded entries across nine categories:
  • Cross-boundary collaboration and partnerships
  • Data, information and knowledge management
  • Digital government - government to business
  • Digital government - government to citizen
  • Enterprise IT management initiatives
  • Improving state or local government operations
  • Information communications technology innovations
  • Open government initiatives
  • Cyber security initiatives
A committee of GTA leaders and GTA Board of Directors members evaluated project entries based on: 1) level of innovation, 2) business process and operating efficiency improvement, 3) savings or cost avoidance impact, and 4) service delivery improvement.  The strength and variety of entries are testament to the great work being done across Georgia government.


It's my great pleasure to announce top honors for the 2016 Technology Innovation Showcase awarded to the following agencies and entities for the projects listed here:

  • Department of Audits and Accounts: Sales Ratio Study Application
  • Cobb County: Cobb Commute
  • Department of Driver Services: For-Hire Endorsement Online
  • Public Safety Training Center: Student Registration Online Learning Management System
  • Department of Labor: TOPICS Quick Free Form
  • Department of Revenue: Public Dashboards
  • Department of Transportation: Information Communications Technology Solutions
  • University System of Georgia: Student Success Analytics Project
You'll want to learn more about these innovative efforts and you can, via project overviews for each on the GTA website. Read about Georgia DOT's linking communications across multiple state agencies to improve traffic management on Georgia's roads.  And Cobb County's creation of Cobb Commute, a web-mapping tool bringing drivers information about closures, traffic speeds and other road conditions.  Then check the University System's data analytics work to diversify recruitment and bolster degree completion rates.
There's so much to learn from what honorees are doing.  We can truthfully say, even if you didn't win recognition, you still win.  As you read about this year's honorees, I hope you'll be motivated to review your own agency's technology-enabled projects and consider submitting your finest for consideration when next year's Showcase comes around. My sincere thanks to all organizations that submitted projects in 2016.
At the Georgia Digital Government Summit later this month we'll celebrate the 2016 honorees with an awards ceremony in front of the gathered state and local government IT and business leaders. I hope to see you there September 29th.

On a related note, I'm proud to share that our state's web platform has earned national recognition.  For its universal accessibility work, has been named a finalist for a 2016 NASCIO technology award.  These National Association of State CIOs award competitions draw the best IT work from states nationwide.  A finalist distinction is tough to come by, and this one is quite an honor for Georgia.  Read about's standout achievement in the NASCIO finalist article below.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Calvin Rhodes
State Chief Information Officer
GTA Executive Director
Georgia IT project a finalist in prestigious NASCIO awards
An initiative to promote universal accessibility of the state's web platform has been named a finalist in the State IT Recognition Awards sponsored by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO).  Winners will be announced at NASCIO's annual conference on September 19.  The work helps ensure all Georgians, including those with a wide range of disabilities, can access state government services online.
Georgia's enterprise web platform (managed by GTA's GeorgiaGov Interactive team) includes the state's web portal,, along with 78 state agency websites. GTA collaborated on the accessibility work with the AMAC Accessibility Solutions and Research Center at Georgia Tech, as well as the state's ADA Coordinator's Office.
The GeorgiaGov Interactive team has treated universal accessibility for the web platform as a top priority, recognizing government's special responsibility to ensure its services are readily available to everyone. They point out that people with disabilities often are the very ones who need online services the most. Website accessibility considerations then must win focused and sustained attention.
An example - where it might take a sighted person just a few seconds to find the right link on a government website, the same could prove prohibitive for someone with a visual impairment using a screen reader. If the site isn't designed for universal accessibility, those individuals may struggle to access needed services.
The GeorgiaGov Interactive team implemented 24 enhancements to the enterprise web platform and updated all of its 16 design themes for greater color contrast and font legibility. These improvements make it easier to access online content using assistive tools. The initiative required careful research, planning and testing, and extensive code enhancement. It earned compliance with widely recognized accessibility standards.
The NASCIO awards, now in their 28th year, honor outstanding technology achievements in the public sector and are broadly considered the most prestigious awards presented to state government IT. Georgia's inclusion among the finalists put it in good company among states leading the way in using technology to make government services more accessible.
See a list of all finalists for the 2016 NASCIO State IT Recognition Awards on the NASCIO website.

Strengthened management for state's large IT projects 
IT projects bring great potential. In state government that's often the promise of improved services for citizens. But project success and hitting schedule, budget and quality targets are hardly guaranteed. Avoiding the risks requires disciplined project management.
The Georgia General Assembly addressed IT spending and project management this year, passing a measure to promote sound IT investments even before funds are allocated. House Bill 676, initiated by Rep. Buzz Brockway, requires that all executive branch agencies submit a written business case to GTA and the Office of Planning and Budget (OPB) for any IT project with a value of more than $1 million. The new law stipulates that GTA review the business case and provide recommendations to the agency, which must then submit a revised version to OPB, along with its budget request.
The business case is to include details about the business need for the project, an estimated budget, a description of operational impact, a scan of possible options, an outline of benefits and risks, and an assessment of required business process improvements, including how organizational change will be managed.
Agencies are further required to create and implement change management plans when the $1 million threshold is met, or when projects involve multiple agencies or significant business process change.  GTA can help direct agencies to organizational change management resources and training.
GTA's Enterprise Portfolio Management Office can provide templates and other resources to assist in developing business cases.  For more information, email

Digital Government Summit to explore internet of things, more

Georgia Digital Government Summit keynote speaker Manley Feinberg has spent time on the edge. For the world-class climber and adventurer, the expression "don't look down" could be a mantra. Manley says it has relevance too for IT and business leaders. He'll explain when he addresses the 2016 summit in Atlanta later this month.
The Digital Government Summit keys on new technologies and trends and their implications for government. This year's topics include: the internet of things and its impact on government, cyber trends, information of everything, exponential government and the future of public service, next generation workforce, cognitive technology and more.
A second featured speaker, consultant and change agent H. James Dallas, will address succeeding in times of change. He will illustrate a connection between change and culture, describing a culture that allows people to succeed, and even thrive, through change.
State and local government agencies will be recognized again this year for their technology achievements with the presentation of the 2016 Georgia Technology Innovation Showcase awards. And, leading technology companies will exhibit their latest products and services.
This annual summit for both IT and business leaders from state and local governments will take place September 29 (all day) and 30 (until noon) at the Westin Buckhead hotel in Atlanta. Registration is $25 for public-sector employees.
Register online and view the full agenda at the summit website.

  • The state's web platform,, operates on a simple strategy: users first, content first, mobile first.  Three tenets.  Not much to remember, and yet it can be so much to manage successfully.  The GeorgiaGov Interactive team, administrators of the portal, can help.

    They can help Georgia agencies keep their websites focused on constituents and their needs.  They can offer counsel on the right kind of web content -- the kind your site visitors need.  And they can help steer agencies toward website development geared to mobile devices as the use of smartphones and tablets to access government services continues to grow.  In total, GeorgiaGov Interactive can help agencies develop a user-centered approach to their web presence that promotes serving citizens.  Read more details in a GeorgiaGov Interactive web strategy blog.  Contact GeorgiaGov Interactive for assistance with your web needs.
  • With its enhanced features and transmission of communication over a data network, VoIP has become an in-demand telecommunication service.  That's Voice over Internet Protocol, and it competes with longer-standing telephone systems such as Centrex, key systems and PBX.  State agencies have expressed interest in VoIP, and it's now available through the GETS program.  AT&T's Hosted Voice Solution (HVS) service was added to the GETS family of services at the start of September.  It's available to all Georgia agencies, local governments and colleges and universities.  An initial visit by AT&T would be required to evaluate readiness of existing data networks and cabling/wiring.  You can email inquiries to AT&T's Mark Roberts 
  • The GETS infrastructure services re-procurement continues with the issuance in late August of a draft Request for Proposal (RFP) for mainframe and print/mail services. GTA looks to receive input now from the service providers qualified earlier in the procurement process before issuing the final version of the RFP.  GTA expects to issue RFPs for other infrastructure services (including end user computing, servers and storage) in the coming months.  This comes in anticipation of the June 2017 expiration of an existing infrastructure services contract with IBM. The procurement effort continues to benefit from close collaboration among GTA and GETS agencies.  That collaboration is key to ensuring the GETS IT services program secures the right services to align with agencies' evolving business needs.

  • The recently introduced GETS Radio Show webinar series provides a new forum for sharing important GETS program information.  Directed toward an audience of GETS agency leads/focals and GETS service provider focals, the Radio Shows will explore topics including GETS program changes, initiatives, processes, tools and systems.  How-to demonstrations could also be offered.  Each one-hour Radio Show will feature remarks by GETS subject matter experts, followed by question-and-answer with participants.  The debut Radio Show in late August keyed on a new VoIP service offering through GETS and Office 365 account administration considerations for agencies.

  • In late August the GETS program's multisourcing service integration model marked a one-year anniversary, with the MSI role fulfilled by Capgemini.  Tools (e.g., project management system, billing, service catalog) and processes (e.g., incident and change management) provided by Capgemini are now shared across the range of GETS service providers.  And integrated performance standards are in place.  The MSI's work allows the flexibility of delivering needed services from multiple providers, while preserving smooth coordination and continuity of IT services for GETS customers.

  • Golfers, don't miss the fifth annual GTA Charitable Contributions Golf Tournament scheduled Monday, October 10 (Columbus Day holiday).  Register individually and be teamed with some new golfing buddies, or sign up a foursome. Registration is affordable and easy via the tournament website, and discounts are available for early registration and for teams.  Join GTA employees and friends for the 2016 tournament at beautiful Stone Mountain Park.  The event benefits the State Charitable Contributions Program, which supports hundreds of charitable organizations providing services across Georgia.  See full tournament details on the website.

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