Pennsylvania's Bold Buy

This summer, in a move that shook up its procurement patterns, Pennsylvania standardized the core desktop functions of 40,000 state workers on Microsoft Corp. software. Under the threeyear, $23.6 million deal, which covered the operating system, the office suite and email, the state expected to save $9.2 million and reap big productivity gains.

This summer, in a move that shook up its procurement patterns, Pennsylvania standardized the core desktop functions of 40,000 state workers on Microsoft Corp. software. Under the three-year, $23.6 million deal, which covered the operating system, the office suite and e-mail, the state expected to save $9.2 million and reap big productivity gains.

Six months later, both sides are rolling out software and making the deal work. But it has been an experience they say other states should not take lightly.

"Migrating a diverse enterprise to a single standard is not an easy thing to do," said Larry Olson, the state's chief information officer. "It is technical, organizational and a human nature thing. You need to understand why you are doing it and not just go out and do it because it is popular."

Essentially, the deal is designed to save money and make it easier for state agencies to share information. Before, agencies purchased and deployed software independently, which meant considerable variation in types of products and software versions that were used. This caused problems exchanging and opening documents, e-mail failures and headaches for the technical staff, which had to support and train users on different products.

For guaranteeing Microsoft 40,000 seats over three years, Pennsylvania gets the latest software upgrades, $12.8 million in products and services for Pennsylvania schools, and a full-time senior Microsoft executive assigned to oversee migration decisions. In return, Microsoft will learn how to migrate a government enterprise.

"This is the first time that Microsoft has worked with an entire state as a single entity," said Michael Ferreri, manager of Microsoft's Enterprise Customer Unit. "It's a smart thing that the Ridge administration has done. They made it easy for Microsoft to work with them."

The challenge will be in getting such a large, multifaceted organization to migrate to common platforms. For example, creating a common messaging architecture and transitioning 40 state agencies to Microsoft Exchange will take considerable cooperation between agencies and partners. "The commonwealth has a lot of pre-existing systems in place on different platforms using different hardware and different networks," Ferreri said. "We certainly have a lot of work ahead of us."

The ground work for the deal began three years ago when Gov. Tom Ridge entered office and the state first looked at pulling agencies together to function as an enterprise. At the time, "technology was a mystical thing that no agency managers got into," Olson said. "The only money available went into mainframes."

What's more, agencies operated independently used different software products and versions, and there was no communication between agencies on product selection or technology investment strategies. "To me, it was the typical government bureaucratic approach to technology," Olson said.

In choosing a partner, Pennsylvania invited software vendors Corel Corp., Lotus Development Corp., Netscape Communications Corp. and Microsoft to enter into discussions. Each was asked two key questions: What would it do as a partner to make Pennsylvania a model government for the 21st century, and what would it do to benefit Pennsylvania communities, specifically education?

"Initially, they came back saying, 'Can't you just tell us what you want to buy?' and we said no," Olson said. "We're making a policy decision about who is the strongest partner to bring us into the 21st century." While all the companies had a hard time responding, "Microsoft best understood us as an enterprise, what we wanted to do and how we wanted to leverage our enterprise to benefit Pennsylvania," Olson added.

Standardizing on NT

Under the three-year agreement, Pennsylvania will standardize on the Windows NT operating system, Office 2000 for office suites with Outlook 98-the client-side version of the Exchange mail system-and Exchange 5.5, the back-end e-mail system.

The state plans to migrate all 40,000 seats to Windows NT by July 1, 1999. Migrating office suites and e-mail will be staggered over three years, with the state standardizing 15,000 seats on Office 2000 in the first year, 10,000 seats in the second year and 15,000 seats in the third year. About 15,000 state agency PCs already run Office-about 60 percent of all PCs that have office suite software installed.

The phased rollout is expected to save the state millions of dollars, with the agreement allowing the state to lock in software prices at 1998 levels and get software upgrades at no charge. All licenses will be purchased through Dell Computer Corp. The enterprise agreement covers only the desktop operating system, office suites and e-mail software. Other products used by agencies, including other Microsoft products such as Visual Basic, will continue to be purchased through select agreements on a product-by-product basis.

State IT officials are doing high-level design work for the desktop network. "We will have the major plumbing deployed by the end of the first quarter 1999 and will start phasing in agencies-connecting them to the major plumbing-beginning in April," said George White, director of Pennsylvania's Bureau of Desktop Technology and the person directly overseeing the Microsoft project.

White's office also plans to automate software deployment. The state will use 70 servers throughout the state to push the software to agency desktops and use automated scripts to install it. The proj-

ect so far is on schedule. "We are right on time, and even though there have been challenges, we are meeting them. So far, so good," White said.

Other states are looking into enterprise agreements as well. Indiana and New Mexico contacted Pennsylvania, asking about the number of seats covered and potential procurement problems arising from the deal-questions that did not surprise Olson. "More and more CIOs are coming from the business side who look at technology as a business too," he said. "And they are starting to figure out what they need to do to create an enterprise."

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.