Michigan poised for public-private partnerships

HILTON HEAD, S.C.'The state of Michigan's efforts to consolidate its IT resources into a single department has paid off, and it is now gearing up for the next steps.

'We're really feeling very much now that we can springboard where we are to many new things that we really wouldn't have anticipated before,' said Teresa Takai, director of Michigan's Department of Information Technology and state CIO, who spoke Monday evening at the 26th annual Management of Change Conference sponsored by the American Council for Technology and by the Industry Advisory Council.

Michigan's next challenge is to promote public-private, cross-boundary initiatives; request broader and more innovative proposals for solutions from the private sector; and be open to new business models, said Takai, who also is vice president of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, headquartered in Lexington, Ky.

Michigan underwent its recent IT consolidation'the largest departmental transformation in the state's history'to consolidate shared services for efficiency, control its IT spending and procurement, and emphasize enterprise security. Takai oversaw the consolidation of IT personnel from 19 state agencies into a single department with 1,700 employees and a $365 million budget that will reach about $385 million next year.

Like Michigan, other states also are moving on their own paths toward IT consolidation and shared services, while focusing on IT spending control and increased resources for enterprise IT security. They also are concentrating on legacy system replacement and strategic sourcing initiatives through public-private partnerships and outsourcing.

Michigan, for example, is working with private-sector vendor partners to replace its Medicaid system and one of its tax systems, Takai said.

'States are moving toward consolidation of shared services,' Takai said. 'What's happening is ' all the governors are hearing from the National Governors Association what other states are doing, [and] that they can no longer afford to run pockets of IT [within] the states. Each agency can no longer have their own IT organization.'

Michigan's Information Technology Department was created in October 2001 by an executive order to centralize and consolidate the technology resources in Michigan government. Takai, who was appointed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm in February 2003, is the second department director.

NASCIO selected the state of Michigan in October 2005 for one of its annual Recognition Awards for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Information Technology under the category of state IT management initiatives for its initiatives to consolidate state IT services, enabling major reductions in staff expenditures while increasing service levels.

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