Georgia to outsource telecom

To better manage its information technology, Georgia plans to outsourceand consolidate its telecom-munications services in the next 18 months.

The services would include voice, data, two-way radio, wireless technologiesand support services, such as billing and desktop management, said MichaelClark, marketing and communications coordinator for the Georgia TechnologyAuthority (GTA), the agency that manages and coordinates IT for state agencies.

He said the GTA would still manage and control the data, but that assessing,buying and installing technology is not something the state should be doing.

"It's not a core competency of state government to manage this informationand communications infrastructure," Clark said. "The technology is changingso rapidly that, arguably, it doesn't make sense for us to invest in thatinfrastructure."

"It's a lot like what San Diego did, but obviously on a much largerscale," he said. Two years ago, San Diego County, Calif., outsourced itscommunications and computer services to the private sector.

Georgia plans to issue a request for qualified contractors in May tohelp identify companies with the capabilities, financial stability, proventrack record and interest in bidding for the contract. A request for proposalswill be issued in August, and the state hopes to award the contract in January.Clark said he expected that several companies would have to partner to managea system of this size.

Clark said the state has been thinking of outsourcing telecom-municationsfor at least a year. A February 2000 KPMG International report said thatalthough Georgia is "comparable in size to a Fortune 100 company," witha $22.5 billion budget and an estimated $800 million in technology expenditures,its technology approach "resembles that of a loose confederation of small-to mid-sized organizations."

Although the report, which led to the creation of the GTA that summer,did not specifically recommend outsourcing, Clark said it served as partof the impetus for the current initiative.

"We've been told that a lot of states and other governments are watchingus very closely; and this may be a model for other states and other governmentsoutside the United States that may attempt this."

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