Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) Update

AnchorVolume 9, Issue No. 6                                                                                               Nov-Dec, 2017  

Gov. Deal points to Georgia's technology edge at summit      

Technology is changing faster than at any time in history, and right now it's likely at its slowest pace for the rest of our lifetime. You heard me reference it at the outset of the Georgia Digital Government Summit last week. It's both exciting and sobering for us in the IT business. It means there's no letting up, and no limit to the possibilities.
The summit made clear that fast-evolving technology will sometimes even knock us off balance. We have to quickly right ourselves and capitalize on new opportunities in front of us. When we do that successfully across state government (and collectively, we are succeeding), we give Georgia an edge. It's an edge others have taken notice of, Gov. Deal says, and that can lead to more good things for Georgia citizens.
In his remarks to summit attendees October 30th, the governor pointed to the state's growing IT prominence, quoting recent references to Georgia as the "Silicon Valley of the South." Speaking just after a panel discussion about the state's new Cyber Center, Gov. Deal cited Georgia's leadership in cybersecurity as a contributor to the state's fifth consecutive ranking as the top state in which to do business. As more technology-related companies expand operations in Georgia, the Cyber Center will help prepare a ready workforce. That supports a cycle of growth with continuing dividends. 
Other summit sessions explored making better use of data, the potential of intelligent communities, IT services and contracts available to state agencies through the Department of Administrative Services and GTA, as well as creating a positive experience for citizens when interacting with their government. And, there was the highlight of presenting our annual Technology Innovation Showcase awards.
As it does each year, the summit offered us the chance to consider fresh solutions, strengthen partnerships, anticipate new challenges and celebrate achievements. This year's event set new attendance records, with more than 360 state and local government representatives participating. For the first time, we hit full capacity for our conference space.
I was pleased to see so many of you there. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have the Governor on the agenda. That was an added bonus to an already great forum for learning from industry experts and from each other. And I echo the appreciation the Governor conveyed at the summit for your collaboration in delivering technology services that enable your agencies and benefit Georgians.
Thank you for your ongoing support. 

Calvin Rhodes
State Chief Information Officer
GTA Executive Director
Georgia Cyber Center finds its footing, and then some    
It's starting to look like a building. What was bare Georgia red clay just a couple months back now holds a concrete foundation and steel skeleton of a building. It may not be water tight just yet, but this site in Augusta is well on its way to becoming the Hull McKnight Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center.
Later this month the state's $60 million cyber center will reach a construction milestone - completion of erecting the building's steel beams. And all within less than five months' work. This "topping out," complete with an on-site ceremony to thank crews working on the project, shows the 167,000-square-foot center on a fast track toward opening on July 10, 2018.
Cyber Ctr site 8Nov2017
Already the center has gained broad attention and was featured on the cover of the October/November 2017 issue of Government Technology, a leading IT publication. The accompanying article explores the cyber center's mission to bring together government, academia, law enforcement and private companies to bolster cyber workforce and defenses.  
The center will accomplish that through education, training, research and practical applications. It will house an incubator too for start-up cybersecurity firms and a new cybercrime unit operated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
The Georgia Cyber Center will offer education and training to prepare a new generation of cybersecurity professionals. The center is aligned with Augusta University's Cyber Institute and new School of Computer and Cyber Sciences.
Other center partners include City of Augusta, U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence at Fort Gordon, University System of Georgia and Technical College System of Georgia.

More work on the structure and facade of the building will come next, with attention to floors and interiors expected to begin by the end of January.
  A camera installed on the site captures daily construction progress and a time-lapse video.
CyberCtr rendering Oct2017
State makes big splash at annual NASCIO awards   
With one of its IT projects receiving top honors and two more named finalists, Georgia recently made its best showing yet in the coveted National Association of State CIOs' awards. Plus, two Georgia IT leaders earned NASCIO recognition when 2017 awards were announced in October.
The three projects winning 2017 NASCIO State IT Recognition Awards were:
  • The Child Support Services Mobile App, from the Georgia Department of Human Services, Division of Child Support Services received the top award in the category of Digital Government - Government to Citizen.
  • The GenTax Fraud Management Solution from the Georgia Department of Revenue was one of three finalists in the category of Improving State Operations.
  • The WebEOC app from the Georgia Department of Transportation was one of three finalists in the category of Information Communications Technology.
One of NASCIO's most prestigious honors, the State Technology Innovator Award, went to Georgia's Chief Technology Officer Steve Nichols. The award - which counts several governors among its past recipients - recognizes an outstanding individual for personal leadership and advocacy in advancing the state's technology policy, adoption of emerging technology, demonstration of best practices, and innovation in service delivery.
Georgia's Chief Information Security Officer Stanton Gatewood also garnered recognition as one of only three state CISOs across the nation to receive the 2017 Thomas M. Jarrett Cybersecurity Scholarship. The scholarship carried with it an opportunity to contribute to a national dialogue on cybersecurity and related issues during NASCIO's conference.
More evidence that big things are happening in Georgia IT came in the form of a 2017 Government Experience Award for the state earlier this fall from the Center for Digital Government. The award recognizes enhancements to how citizen services are delivered and improvements in how citizens experience their government. Georgia was recognized for its gains in making state services and information readily available and easy to use via web channels.
Office of Digital Services to focus on citizens' experience 

Connecting Georgians with the government information and services they need goes beyond effective websites. Citizens today expect state government to deliver services much like the private sector does. That is, services available online, on the device of their choice, and easy to use.
Georgia wants to continue to ensure its digital services stay on a road map to that modernized experience. With that in mind GTA recently created the Office of Digital Services Georgia (DSGa), an expansion of the team formerly called GeorgiaGov Interactive.
Headed by Chief Digital Officer Nikhil Deshpande, the Office of Digital Services Georgia will partner with state agencies toward establishing a customer-centric approach to digital strategy. DSGa will help agencies ensure their digital services promote a positive experience for Georgians.
How? By devising organization-wide digital strategies that meet citizen expectations and align with agency goals and direction. By providing a frictionless citizen experience across all their digital touchpoints, from webpages to mobile apps and more. By removing rough spots in online transactions or information gathering that could derail them. By standardizing digital interaction with state government where it makes things easier for citizens.
DSGa will put themselves in the citizens' shoes to advocate for a unified digital approach across the state enterprise. The team aims to build on the track record of digital innovation it built as GeorgiaGov Interactive to deliver experience-as-a-service -- a positive experience for Georgians when interacting with state government.
Hurricane prep and response aids GETS community 

Powerhouse Hurricane Irma blew toward Georgia in September, prompting Gov. Deal to declare a state of emergency across all 159 counties. As the state mobilized public safety resources, GTA and its IT service providers that serve Georgia agencies readied too.
In coordination with providers Capgemini, AT&T, IBM and NTT Data, GTA prepared and responded before, during and after the storm. Collectively, they worked with agencies served by the Georgia Enterprise Technology Services (GETS) program on multiple fronts:
  • As Irma approached, Capgemini's Agency Relationship Managers (ARMs) polled GETS agencies with offices in areas likely to be affected. They gathered information about agencies' emergency plans, and the asset management team provided lists of equipment - PCs, printers, servers, etc. - at agency locations.
  • To protect agencies' critical data, IBM proactively backed up file servers.
  • Capgemini, AT&T and IBM quickly created IDs and authorizations to allow system access for agents when a key state services help desk had to be shut down and a temporary location opened elsewhere.
  • The ARMs coordinated requests for temporary shutdown of network and computing equipment for offices where closings were planned and then stayed in contact with agencies to update office status.
  • GETS technical teams worked closely with agency IT staff to properly shut down their file servers in multiple locations. After the storm passed, the teams offered the same assistance to bring servers back online.
  • As storm damage was reported, NTT Data consulted road closure information to better equip technicians for responding to onsite needs at affected locations.
  • Staffing levels at the GETS Service Deck were adjusted to address anticipated higher volumes, especially just after state offices re-opened after the storm.

  • Is your agency providing a positive digital experience for customers and citizens? Delivering digital services effectively requires always thinking first of citizens' experience and how to improve it. That's the focus of the GOVTalks conference planned for November 14th. Presented by GTA's Office of Digital Services Georgia (formerly GeorgiaGov Interactive), this session keys on the user experience. You'll hear from industry experts who interviewed citizens about their interaction with state websites. And you'll hear about what Digital Services has planned for the state's future web platform and how you can prepare your agency's website to take full advantage of the upgrades. Register today for GOVTalks: The Future of Your Website.


  • Through an ongoing GETS program infrastructure services re-procurement by GTA, Atos is slated to begin providing mainframe services in December, taking over from current mainframe provider IBM. As those transition activities progress, re-procurement of other computing and print services continues for the state's shared IT services program. GTA (with input from agencies served through GETS) soon will re-procure end user computing services, print-to-mail services and server services.


  • Nobody wants them, but WAN outages do happen. Whether due to natural disasters, aging infrastructure or plain old human error (e.g., cables sliced with a backhoe), they happen. And it pays to be ready. One way to prepare is with wireless WAN backup, a service newly available via the Georgia Enterprise Technology Services (GETS) program managed by GTA. Wireless WAN backup can be a promising way to keep critical applications operating, and to keep services flowing to constituents. Learn more about whether it suits your agency's business continuity needs by contacting your Agency Relationship Manager (ARM).
  • Hurricane Nate may've blown us off the original tournament date back in early October, but it couldn't blow us off course. The rescheduled GTA Charitable Contributions Golf Tournament will proceed Friday, November 10 (Veterans Day holiday). GTA and the tournament's title sponsor NTT Data are happy to welcome a record number of golfers registered for the 2017 event at Stone Mountain Park. The sixth annual tournament once again benefits the State Charitable Contributions Program, which supports hundreds of charitable organizations providing services across Georgia.

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