12 Months: The Story of Nebraska's Consolidation

Just under two years ago, Ed Toner entered the public sector by governor appointment. When the Nebraska CIO met his extremely talented workforce, he saw an opportunity to consolidate the state’s IT Infrastructure. Immediately, with the support of his team, he began building a Consolidation ‘Road Map’—a plan based on his vision and shaped by his experience gained in the private sector from managing IT through multiple company mergers and acquisitions.

Ed realized that changing to a hybrid-centralization model would save government cost, optimize state resources, and keep IT talent in Nebraska.

In his monthly CIO blog, he calls 2016 “The Year of Execution”: Twelve months to consolidate 22 code agencies into one team and one network. Holding respect for Nebraska’s taxpayers central to its mission, IT Consolidation would go on to save the state almost $5 million in one year, just under 5% of the Office of the CIO (OCIO)’s entire budget.

Nebraska’s OCIO provides varied levels of technology support for all 63 state agencies, all 93 Nebraska counties, and the state’s major cities like Omaha and Lincoln. Key to upholding these partnerships is the IT Project Management Office. The skilled team, chartered in 2016, devotes working hours to partner projects while it maintains governance at the OCIO level. In Nebraska’s model, Project Managers utilize their central role in projects to secure deadlines and communicate with developers while reporting directly to the CIO.

Network Consolidation became further manageable once the OCIO began interviewing IT employees in other agencies to better understand the various functioning roles of IT staff across the state. This research allowed OCIO leadership to identify employees who possessed the knowledge to be able to onboard each one of their home agencies to the enterprise server.

With the infrastructure in place, tools such as the enterprise “Service Desk”, and processes such as “opening a help request”, “submitting an Incident record” or “Change Request” became standardized in one location with common metrics and reporting. This in itself enhanced IT services, which could now be measured from within a single enterprise system.

For the first time, state agencies were sharing geospatial data to produce the time-saving, public-facing resource, NebraskaMAP.gov. Department of Corrections could now open training programs to OCIO employees, to permit whole support teams entry into state correctional facilities to perform work efficiently and effectively. And, new IT accounting codes and procedures were implemented across the enterprise to identify cost of services and cost reductions in areas where IT Consolidation can be useful and effective in the future.

IT Consolidation lived in the Nebraska OCIO, in 2016. Now, 2017 begins “The Year of Transformation” and this continued approach to providing state agencies with tightly integrated IT services. Follow Nebraska through the final phases of this transformation at cio.nebraska.gov. Here, readers can view monthly updates and learn about Nebraska’s mission, to “Create opportunity through more effective, more efficient and customer focused state government”.