Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) Update

AnchorVolume 11, Issue No. 3                                                                                               May-Jun, 2019    

A full decade of GETS program:
evolving to meet IT needs 
If you leapt back in time to the earliest days of GETS, you'd see an ambitious program still green on the vine. That early edition of GETS certainly resembles today's, but it has grown up plenty in the decade since.

Early on, the emphasis was on securing the state's IT environment and removing risk. That was job one, and it was done through consolidation, IT asset renewal, process improvement, service performance management, governance, and development of disaster recovery capabilities. It also ushered in a new approach to sourcing IT services, with AT&T providing managed network services and IBM providing infrastructure services. It was challenging, painstaking work. And it would never have succeeded except for sustained collaborative effort from state agencies.

Why reflect on any of that, now that we've long since cleared those hurdles? Maybe to appreciate once again just how essential it was. It paved the way for the improvements delivered since to Georgia via GETS. And as the state's shared IT services program marks its 10th anniversary this month, its accomplishments have stacked up.

Look at the scenario today. We have a well-established, efficiently served state IT enterprise. We regularly check service needs against service offerings (an approach we call "market test and rebid") to secure new and innovative IT services fitting the GETS community's evolving needs. We've diversified our service provider pool, and we're several years deep in experience with multisourcing service integration.
This takes us well beyond just "keeping the lights on." Georgia agencies are benefiting from enhanced IT options. We've recently brought expanded offerings for end user computing, including virtual desktop or VDI offerings. For servers, we're adding cloud options, as well as rapid delivery of new standard servers - both highly sought-after by GETS agencies. We've significantly trimmed the cost of storage and backup options. We're introducing expanded disaster recovery capabilities. For our telephone services customers, we're implementing voice over IP or VoIP - a more contemporary technology, and often less costly.
Throughout the program's history, smart spending for IT has been a high priority. This was built into the paradigm shift GETS brought to the state: a change to buying IT services rather than IT hardware. It's a consumption-based approach, helping enable GETS agencies to effectively manage their IT spending. It has allowed vastly improved visibility into where and how the state invests its IT dollars.
Right now, GETS teams are working to introduce enhanced server services, as well as expanded managed security services. The latter go even farther toward protecting agencies' systems and data - such critical considerations in today's environment. Program improvements won't slow, and neither will the payoffs of GETS accomplishments.  
All that's been achieved has come in collaboration with our GETS service providers, and with you, the agencies we serve. You have my sincere thanks for your partnership in these first 10 years of the IT shared services program. Be assured, GTA will continue working always to become better brokers of IT services for the state. GETS has matured since its early days and continues to prove to be the right pick for Georgia.
Thank you for your ongoing support. 

Calvin Rhodes
State Chief Information Officer
GTA Executive Director
Stirring the nest of artificial intelligence at tech summit  
"Artificial intelligence," or A I , is easily among the most-hyped IT buzzwords of the young millennium. Turns out, it's way more than just idle buzzing. State and local governments are among those capitalizing on A I to better serve constituents - not in some imagined future, but right now, today. There are examples right here in Georgia, and plenty of opportunities to do more.
A GTA-hosted Technology Summit, Monday, May 13, will explore how artificial intelligence is already being used and how interested government entities can tap into A I 's potential. The event in Midtown Atlanta will highlight use cases like a robotic process automation initiative at Georgia's State Accounting Office to streamline customer interactions. Plus, near-neighbor Florida State University will describe its use of A I tools to recast the whole university experience - something it calls "Campus Reimagined."
A slate of experts will present keynotes, panels and breakout presentations to dig into the world of A I and associated technologies like machine learning, Internet of Things and predictive analytics. One of those keynotes will feature former Ohio CIO Stu Davis tackling the topic of data analytics and its tie-in to artificial intelligence. He'll describe how analytics can be effectively applied to the mountains of data government collects to innovate the way government itself works - from its processes to its policies and programs.
The eighth annual summit is directed toward business leaders as well as technology professionals from Georgia's state and local government community. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, and a registration link can be found on the summit webpage. Lunch is included, on-site parking will be validated, and there is no cost to attend for Georgia's public sector employees. At day's end, participants will better understand what they need to do to use AI to benefit their agencies and the Georgians they serve.
GOVTalks looks at migration to new platform   
At its GOVTalks conference on May 22, GTA's Digital Services Georgia (DSGa) team will offer updates on the project ongoing to transform the design, branding, and capabilities of the state's enterprise web-publishing platform and digital presence. The effort has progressed significantly over recent months, and this edition of GOVTalks will prepare state agencies to take full advantage of planned enhancements for content and design. The new possibilities are sure to win keen interest from agencies with websites hosted on the platform.  
Chief Digital Officer Nikhil Deshpande, along with other members of the DSGa team, and representatives from development partner Lullabot, will discuss progress, and the migration schedule for state websites. They'll also cover considerations for content strategy, user interface, user experience, and what makes for good content.
The session is geared once again toward team members responsible for their agency's website or web applications. The May 22 meeting runs 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., at GTA's offices at 47 Trinity Avenue near the Capitol. Lunch, as well as light breakfast, are provided. Register today.
This marks the 12th edition of GOVTalks, a conference series now in its sixth year. The sessions are geared toward helping Georgia's state agencies maintain top-notch web presence through best practices for creating and managing user-centric content.

  • David Allen is now Chief Information Security Officer for the state of Georgia, having joined GTA last month. He does so at a time when the role of the CISO, whether in the public or private sector, has never been more important. It calls for clear understanding of both IT and business risk, and an approach to security that lends itself to solving complex business-related issues.

    David previously served as the chief technology officer and chief of cybersecurity for the Georgia Army National Guard. David's distinguished military career included a deployment in Afghanistan where he supported Operation Enduring Freedom in December 2011 with the 648th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. Throughout his exemplary military service he earned multiple decorations, including the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and Army Commendation Medal. Please join GTA in welcoming David as state CISO
  • The new Georgia Government CIO Exchange launched in March. It's a group of CIOs from cities and counties across the state who are coming together to collaborate and partner across government organizations. Some of the CIOs serve small municipalities where they may be the sole IT person in the office, while others work on larger teams. All are looking to learn from their peers and improve IT services for the citizens they serve. More than 60 participated in the inaugural meeting, organized by GTA. The session featured briefings on cybersecurity, digital government, FirstNet, and procurement options available through DOAS. Meetings are planned quarterly, with the group itself helping set direction. Questions can be emailed to GTA's Jeff Strane.
  • Filling information security roles in state government, and even securing professional security input, can be challenging. A new GETS program offering - Information Security Officer (ISO) as a service, - now provides another way to meet those needs. Agencies that have staffing needs for an ISO or related roles may acquire this support via ISO-as-a-service. Customers would tap into highly qualified security professionals from GETS vendor partner Capgemini. The service can provide additional operational and functional support to an agency's current ISO, or even fill the need for a primary ISO. For details, check with your Agency Relationship Manager (ARM). [Click the "Contact your ARM" button on the homepage of the GTA website.]
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