Study Finds Modernization Reforms On Track
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: State Rep. Jason Murphey State Rep. David Derby
Capitol: (405) 557-7350 Capitol: (405) 557-7377
OKLAHOMA CITY – State and local governments are set to save $21 million each year due to purchasing reforms enacted in recent years by the Legislature and is on track to achieve further savings through consolidated information technology services and financial shared services, House committee members were told today.
Randy Ross, the deputy director at the Department of Central Services testifying at a legislative study before the House Government Modernization committee today, said the agency is continuing to negotiate new contracts for commodities utilized by state and local agencies. He said state agencies are projected to save approximately $13 million and local entities projected to save nearly $8 million. The agency is expected to document total savings in January.
“Central purchasing reforms have helped provide millions of dollars in relief to state and local government budgets as their revenues decline,” said state Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie and chairman of the committee. “We expect to see further savings from current IT consolidation efforts and financial saved services and were encouraged today to hear that those efforts are being implemented at a breakneck pace.”
The committee also heard testimony that recent legislative reforms are allowing state officials to re-negotiate contracts with vendors who are no longer providing products at a price which is competitive with commonly available peer products.
Chief Information Officer Alex Pettit and a representative of Capgemini told the committee that the data-collection phase of the IT consolidation effort is underway, with surveys sent out to agencies last week and an automated scan of seven agencies already completed. The final report of the IT consolidation plan is scheduled to be completed Feb. 28, 2011. A rough draft will be available by mid-December of this year.
“The CIO has already identified a need for technology standardization among agencies, a problem with document compatibility and a lack of communication between the IT personnel of various agencies,” Murphey said. “I have been very impressed with the speed of this consolidation effort.”
State Rep. David Derby, vice-chairman of the committee, sponsored the IT consolidation initiative as part of House Bill 1170 during the 2009 legislative session and plans to file follow-up legislation during the 2011 to incorporate any additional reforms suggested in the plan.
“The state stands to save millions through the consolidation of services in a massive area of state spending,” Derby, R-Owasso, said. “It is critical that the Legislature implement the plan’s suggestions after they are made available in February.”
The committee also heard from Brenda Bolander with the Office of State Finance, who said 95 agencies, representing 99 percent of travel claims, were using the newly implemented electronic payment system for travel expenses. She also noted that 20 percent of interagency payments were now made electronically. She said that OSF plans to implement an online system for submitting travel claims and grant provisioning. A Hackett Group report showed that Oklahoma needed to make more of its financial processing electronic.
OSF Director of Operations Jim McGoodwin reported that 22 agencies were not yet in compliance with a 2010 law requiring licensing to be available online. The number represents approximately one-third of agencies which must comply with the law.
“While there are some excellent examples of state agency online licensing offerings, it is very disturbing that this many agencies appear to be ignoring the law,” Murphey said.
“The Oklahoma Office of State Finance, Department of Central Services and Chief Information Office are experts in their areas,” Murphey said. “As state agencies increasingly delegate purchasing, information technology and financial services to these support agencies, they will be better able to focus on their own respective missions.”
The study also examined the use of videoconferenceing to reduce travel costs and heard from representatives of Oklahomans for Responsible Government and the Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs and received testimony from the Oklahoma Healthcare Authority regarding the possible realization of savings through the implementation of a telework pilot program for state employees.