Since the state of Connecticut abandoned its outsourcing initiative three years ago, CIO Rock Regan has been rebuilding his IT organization?literally. More than just arranging org charts and skill sets, Regan has had to replace his aging headquarters, which was actually condemned last year (see “Between a Rock and Hard Place,” at www.cio.com/printlinks).
So now in a new facility, Regan is managing a new-look IT department?a centralized group that manages IT across all 65 of the state’s different agencies. As opposed to the old decentralized approach in which the state basically had dozens of different IT departments at odds with one another over standards and purchasing, today’s central IT organization deploys a standard set of technologies and services to its agency clients. “We’ve essentially adopted the outsourcing model, but we’ve become the outsourcer,” Regan says. “We’ve become the vendor.”
So far, the new group has been able to upgrade infrastructure, networks and information security across the agencies, as well as initiate some new e-government projects and a new statewide ERP rollout.
The results appear to have been mixed. A 2001 satisfaction survey by the state’s Office of Policy and Management found that 72 percent of respondents labeled IT’s efforts either fair or poor, with only 28 percent labeling it good or excellent. But the timing of that survey was poor, Regan says, because it fell amid the IT group’s relocation. “The biggest issue we had at the time was communication [with the agencies],” he says. Since then, he believes relationships with the agencies have improved, and that a new satisfaction survey would show better results.
But no matter how much the state’s IT efforts may have improved in a year, Regan still wishes traditional outsourcing had proved successful in Connecticut. Yet he also accepts the reality of his situation and limitations. “We’re trying to meet our needs through other means,” he says.