California has a new technology services department

Little Hoover Commission report regarding proposed Department of Technology Services

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California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced the consolidation of several agencies and offices to create the new state Department of Technology Services (DTS) to improve efficiencies and eliminate duplicative services.

“The creation of the Department of Technology Services is an important step toward bringing California's state government technology structure into the 21st century,” he said in a statement. “Californians deserve to have a government that serves them effectively and efficiently and this reorganization is an important part of accomplishing that goal.”

Under the reorganization plan submitted by Schwarzenegger, the new DTS consolidates two general purpose data centers – the Stephen P. Teale Data Center and the Health and Human Services Data Center – with the Department of General Services’ Office of Network Services, the state’s telecommunications unit. The new department will be located within the State and Consumer Services Agency.

The new department will be governed by a Technology Services Board comprised of the chief information officer, the director of the Department of Finance, the state controller and the secretaries of the major client agencies, according to the plan.

In addition to more efficient systems and reduced redundancy, the DTS will better take advantage of statewide information technology purchases, enhance security and privacy for the storage and distribution of electronic data, improve core technology support across state government and make better use of technology personnel.

The state could end up saving money as a result of the reorganization, according to a report by the Little Hoover Commission, a bipartisan, independent state body that promotes efficiency and effectiveness in state programs, which studied the reorganization plan.

Clark Kelso, the state’s CIO, said California could see about $2 million in annual cost savings within three years, but even larger savings once DTS is established and further opportunities for consolidating and supporting technology are identified.

“Initially, the consolidation will not involve a physical integration of data center or telecommunication operations,” the Little Hoover Commission report states. “As a first step, the CIO proposes merging the management team to capture savings that will be redirected to cover the costs of further integration. The new department will include a temporary “Consolidation Management Office” to shepherd the change and prevent the disruption of services to customers.”

Schwarzenegger submitted the Governor’s Reorganization Plan March 31 to the Little Hoover Commission. He then submitted that plan May 9 to the state legislature, which had 60 days to review and consider the plan under the executive reorganization process. Since the plan had not been rejected by either the Assembly or Senate during that period, the reorganization became effective July 8.

Bob Austin has been appointed to serve as chief deputy director and acting director of DTS, which will have an operating budget of $235 million and nearly 800 employees.

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