Virginians haggle over IT savings

Virginia's budget problems are forcing technology officials to fight for the savings that they expect to see from the statewide organizational and technology consolidation, said George Newstrom, secretary of technology.

State officials faced with a tight budget are taking several steps to save money in the technology area. That includes creating centralized contracts and providing common services to multiple agencies, acknowledging that with the budget crunch, "technology has to come up with its own savings dollars to support the investment of the future," Newstrom said.

Technology, however, is one of the areas where officials have long expected to see savings -- up to $100 million over the next year, according to Newstrom -- and the ability to put some of those savings back into technology will be the key to getting future savings.

"Without that, the incentive for making these changes is lost very, very quickly," he said May 3, at the Gartner Government Conference in Washington, D.C.

The authority to take back a portion of the savings is part of the law that created the Virginia Information Technologies Agency out of more than 90 agencies across the state government. The definition of a portion is now the subject of strong debate, and it's likely that it will be argued for some time, Newstrom said.

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