Why Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue Thinks IT Can Make Government Work Better

As a small business owner in the days before the Internet, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue was an early LAN and e-mail adopter who learned to program in Unix. But he won't deploy the latest and greatest technology for state agencies unless it makes them more efficient and improves services to citizens.

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State of Georgia




State government

2007 Budget

$18.7 billion


Patrick Moore, Executive Director, Georgia Technology Authority

IT Employees


IT Budget

$174 million

CIO: Can you share some specific examples of a problem in Georgia that had a technology-enabled solution?

Gov. Perdue: One that we're most proud of is an award-winning Web-based system, BLLIP: Georgia's Building, Land and Lease Inventory of Property. It's a Web-based GIS system that sorts information having to do with buildings, land and leases by many different data points (for instance, where the land that we own is, for what purpose it's being used, cost per square foot). It's been a huge resource by which we could improve our space management, to decide where our divergent group of operations needs to be and how we could provide synergy in certain communities. In some counties we had 40 to 50-plus separate leases for different functions. This system gives us an opportunity to coordinate those, collaborate and, we believe, be more effective and efficient.

Let's say that we have an agency that's looking to lease a building in a particular area of Georgia. Our state property officers go to [the agency managers in] that county and say, Were you aware that we already had 10,000 square feet of spare space down there? You use that data to make decisions about space management rather than doing things ad hoc.

CIO: Why wasn't something like that put in place sooner?

Gov. Perdue: Good question. Transparency of information has not always been fondly accepted in political environments. I believe if you're going to run a government, the more information that's out there, the more opportunity there is for doing better. And I just think it's the right thing to do. Many times Republicans get accused of being more close-minded [about transparency]. But I've felt there are advantages in running a very transparent government, and technology is one of the ways that you can be extremely transparent. The business information you can put out there is extremely powerful [for running the state more effectively].

CIO: The Georgia Technology Authority (GTA), the state's central IT organization, was created in 2000. What was your opinion of the GTA when you took office? Did you make any changes there?

Gov. Perdue:I was in the state Senate and voted for it when it was created. I viewed it as an enterprise-wide authority that could be an internal consultant for our agencies in areas of technology and how to be more productive. The real benefit of technology, I think, is productivity, and the GTA was created to get us all on some consistent standards and consistent platforms to manage the collective data that we had in the state, and to do that in a very safe, secure environment. When I became governor, I found that organization was morphing into more of an operational entity, doing some things that the private sector did well.

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