Governor Doug Ducey has approved a $9.6 billion budget package. While the budget has been touted as a “structurally balanced budget,” it preserves many strategic investments in technology. Here are a few of the big takeaways from this new budget, and what they mean.

Oversight Remains High

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee will be keeping a close eye on how the state manages its IT investments. From requiring ADOT to hire an independent third-party consultant to oversee the MVD Legacy System Replacement project to mandating that ADOA conducts a third-party IT consolidation assessment to assess the modernization of state agencies’ IT systems, agencies will be held accountable.

 ASET Continues the Trend to Strengthen 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 FY2017 budget approves continued funding for the following efforts:

  • State network and security infrastructure ($5.7M)
  • Statewide data security enhancements ($3.3M)
  • Strategic IT transformation initiatives ($3.6M)
  • Enterprise architecture enhancements ($1.05M)

Legacy System Replacements on the Horizon

It remains one of the biggest technology procurement questions: When will the CHILDS system replacement RFP 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 received another $4.6M to continue its system replacement efforts, bringing the agency’s piggybank to approximately $9.3M.

Other notable appropriations include $1.0M to the Department of Revenue to begin a feasibility study to replace the state’s tax system and $15M to replace the state’s e-procurement system, ProcureAZ.  Although the Department of Economic Security did not receive its request for $14.9M to replace the agency’s child support enforcement system, we are awaiting the contract award of the ATLAS Feasibility Study RFP.

Boards and Commissions Invest in Licensing Applications

Multiple boards and commissions received funding for online applications and licensing software. While many of these appropriations are small scale (as low as $15,000), the Board of Technical Registration received $800,000 for an e-licensing and case management system. This is likely a response to the governor’s focus on increasing the efficiency of boards and commissions.

 Continuation of Current Business Opportunities

The FY2017 budget protects the majority of large-scale IT projects currently underway across state agencies. Most of these projects began four 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 is non-lapsing to continue establishing technology at the Department of Child Safety and relocating the Department of Economic Security data center. Other projects that remain funded through non-lapsing funds include the Department of Corrections’ Adult Inmate Management System replacement project, the Department of Child Safety CHILDS system replacement project, the Department of Environmental Quality MyDEQ project, the Department of Administration Arizona Financial Information System replacement, and the Department of Education Student Longitudinal Data System and Education Learning and Accountability System replacements.

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 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.

It is sure to be interesting and exciting to see the continued adoption, development and/or improvement of technology initiatives across the state.

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