Florida county outsources 'CTO'

Lee County, Fla., has awarded a $34 million information technology outsourcing contract to SchlumbergerSema that includes what officials describe as a unique partnering element to shape the county's technology future.

In addition to providing oversight and management of the county's IT infrastructure, the agreement calls for SchlumbergerSema to supply a permanent "chief technology officer" who will work on-site with the county's 27 governmental departments to help them improve IT.

All departments have problems that are "low-hanging fruit that can easily be fixed through the application of technology," said Jim Desjarlais, Lee County's IT manager. "Then there are other things not so easily fixed that SchlumbergerSema will gather information on to help provide ideas for solutions."

The advantage of having an agreement with a company such as SchlumbergerSema is that it also can bring the expertise of its global organizations to bear on the county's problems, Desjarlais said.

Such connections already have proven fruitful in regard to Lee County's permitting system — Accela Inc.'s Tidemark Advantage — which tracks and records building permits. SchlumbergerSema has Tidemark permitting experience around the world, Desjarlais said, and has been able to provide valuable consulting services to Lee County.

The company will help improve the county's IT environment by applying a combination of solutions from its DeXa suite of services, which includes integrated support for distributed computing systems, 24-hour help-desk support, self-healing tools, knowledge capture systems, and an array of network management and telecommunications services.

The five-year contract will save the county about 20 percent on the cost of doing all of this IT oversight and development in-house, Desjarlais said.

Lee County, along Florida's southwest coast, was one of the earliest converts to IT outsourcing. Systems and Computer Technology Corp. (SCT), of Malvern, Pa., held the previous five-year contract.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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