Changes in state IT systems have saved Minnesota $27 million

By overhauling information technology systems in state government, Minnesota officials say they’ve already saved $27 million and will save another $7 million this year.

Bipartisan legislation was passed in 2011, and signed by the governor, that consolidated the state’s information technology systems, employees, and administration.

The effort has “reduced administrative waste, consolidated state contracts, reformed administrative processes, and implemented new accountability measures,” officials said in a statement today.

One big part of the savings: $15 million by negotiating contracts on behalf of all state agencies.

Carolyn Parnell, commissioner of MN.IT Services and the State’s chief information officer, said:

“Our early success comes primarily from the opportunity to leverage group purchasing and negotiate enterprise contracts to avoid the cost of smaller, individual purchasing agency-by-agency. There are still more areas where we can realize savings and we intend to maximize those opportunities.”

State IT officials say they’ve worked to “enhance data security, save money, increase efficiency, and ultimately provide better services.”

As examples, they cited:

  • Decommissioning of one of its largest data centers as part of a strategy to reduce the state’s overall data center footprint through consolidation and server virtualization. So far, MN.IT has reduced by over 60 percent the number of physical servers managed by the State.
  • Helping state agencies go mobile through projects such as the MN Report Card, a mobile device-friendly platform for disseminating school performance data to students, parents and teachers.
  • Providng MPARS, the Department of Natural Resource’s new system that provides an online application, approval, and tracking capability for several types of water-related environmental permits. On average, permits are issued or denied a month faster than before.

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