Fla. governor seeks IT funding overhaul

Florida State Technology Office budget

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Florida Governor Jeb Bush on Tuesday outlined a 2004-2005 budget that calls for several changes at the State Technology Office, including consolidating its funds to gain better control of cross-sector initiatives.

This year, the STO's Information Technology Security Office is developing a statewide intrusion detection service, or Cyber Center, using funding from a federal grant. That service "will move the office into an expanded role to provide physical monitoring of the state's IT infrastructure to detect, prevent and minimize cybercrime," according to budget documents. In the budget released Tuesday, Bush requested almost $1.1 million of the state's money to continue the security office's work.

The new budget also reflects the STO's shift from legacy systems to Web-based services. For example, Bush requested devoting less funding to the Statewide Purchasing System as most of the functions shift over to the new MyFloridaMarketPlace purchasing system maintained by Accenture. According to the budget, that new system -- which includes a form of reverse-auction where vendors bid against each other to gain state business -- has for the first time saved the state $6.9 million.

Over all of this, the budget proposes a complete reorganization of the STO's programs into a single budget. Currently, the office exists as four budget entities under the Department of Management Service's Technology Program -- the main office, Telecommunications Services, Wireless Services and Information Services -- but the office is actually a single organization under law, so initiatives often cross budget lines.

Officials said that separating the budget for each portion of the office impedes their ability to be "as responsive as possible when working to provide services," according to budget documents. "This realignment of budget authority within a single budget entity will provide the necessary flexibility for the State Technology Office to meet the needs of its IT partners and customers as needed, while also maintaining the requisite level of budgetary accountability."

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