Governor Doug Ducey has approved a $9.1 billion budget package. While many have described the budget as “austere” and “lean,” it largely preserves funding for the state’s IT modernization projects. This is yet one more signal that technology remains important to state leadership. Here are a few of the big takeaways from this new budget, and what they mean.
- IT Modernization Projects Continue to Present Business Opportunities
The FY2016 budget protects the majority of large-scale IT projects currently underway across state agencies with one new opportunity. Most of these projects began two years ago when the state established a special fund – the Automation Projects Fund – dedicated to implementing, upgrading or maintaining automation and IT projects for any state agency.
The largest funding amount of $19.5M went toward establishing technology at the Department of Child Safety and relocating the Department of Economic Security data center. In particular, the data center has been described as “increasingly problematic” with asbestos, floods, electrical fires and roof leakage.
Other projects that remain funded through non-lapsing funds or new monies include the Department of Corrections’ Adult Inmate Management System replacement project and the Department of Environmental Quality e-Licensing Web portal. The Department of Education also will receive $7M for the Student Longitudinal Data System and Education Learning and Accountability System.
Two ongoing projects did not receive any funding, but not to worry. The AHCCCS Data Security project will not receive any new funding because it is complete. And the Department of Revenue will rely on internal funding in FY2016 to continue work on its automation projects, Tax Analysis Improvements and Tobacco Tax System.
And, finally, the newcomer – the Department of Economic Security will receive almost $1.0M in new FY2016 funding for implementing IT security measures.
- BREAZ Scheduled to Go-Live This July
Awarded in 2012, the new BREAZ (Business Re-Engineering AriZona) system is expected to go-live this July. The Department of Administration will receive $2.383M in the FY2016 budget (down from the anticipated $9.2M in the Governor’s Executive Budget) to continue the project. The Department of Administration also has additional contingency funds available.
- ASET Keeps Strengthening IT Operations
The Arizona Strategic Enterprise Technology (ASET) division within the Department of Administration provides the centralized IT infrastructure used by all agencies, such as the State Data Center, security of the state’s IT systems and training for state IT professionals. ASET also happens to be the “home” of the State CIO. To help ASET improve the state’s IT infrastructure, the FY2016 budget approves continued funding for the following efforts:
- State Data Center improvement and maintenance ($2.625M)
- Statewide data security enhancements ($3.125M)
- E-Government projects ($1.075M)
- Enterprise architecture enhancements ($500K)
- Project management of statewide projects ($2.15M)
- Agencies Can Still Pursue Other IT Projects
Please remember, the Automation Projects Fund and projects listed above represent a slice of the IT investments occurring statewide. Provided that they have the funding, agencies are free to pursue other IT projects either by purchasing off an existing contract, or by conducting a procurement. One of the ways to track the IT projects in the agency pipeline is to monitor the IT Authorization Committee (ITAC) meetings. Under state law, this committee is responsible for approving all IT projects exceeding $1M.
- What about the CHILDS system replacement?
If you are watching Arizona, the biggest question is when the CHILDS system replacement RFP will hit the streets. For those of you not familiar with the CHILDS system, it’s the management information system used to document the status, demographics, location and outcomes for every child in the care of the Department of Child Safety (DCS). DCS has not yet spent its $5M appropriation from last year to complete a third-party assessment of the CHILDS system. Once this assessment is complete, we expect the agency to submit a new budget request for the much-anticipated CHILDS system replacement. This is the next major IT modernization RFP on the horizon. We will keep our eyes open for this one.