Who needs 21 e-mail systems?

The focal point of the newly released Shared IT Services Strategy is to slash technology duplication and waste across the whole government, something that’s badly needed, according to one CIO.

Federal technology leaders spend “a disproportionate amount” of their time on managing commodity IT, said U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel. A year ago, the Agriculture Department had 21 e-mail systems across its infrastructure, 21 different e-mail administrators running them, and 21 different teams managing those systems, said VanRoekel, who spoke at InformationWeek’s Government IT Leadership Forum on May 3.

USDA "took the bold, cultural step to consolidate, taking 21 data center systems to one cloud-based system,” he said. “It’s a third of the cost -- $24 per month per mailbox to $8 per month per mailbox.”

By consolidating something simple as e-mail services, an agency such as USDA can save $500 million, “and what’s amazing about government is that that’s not a natural motion,” VanRoekel said.

“In the private sector, it would be unthinkable for an organization to have 21 different e-mail systems,” he said. “We really need to push across the government and look at opportunities to take these systems where there’s rampant duplication and go in and strip those down.”

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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