Aug 04 2014

Pennsylvania Prepares for a Massive Cloud Implementation

The commonwealth recently awarded an estimated $681 million contract for on-demand IT services.

While some CIOs are still investigating the benefits of cloud services, Pennsylvania’s CIO is going all in. The commonwealth recently awarded a seven-year contract, which stands to be one of the largest cloud implementations at the state level.

The Keystone State’s plan to consolidate seven data centers into a hybrid cloud will provide state agencies with a range of services, including storage management, security, and database services, self-provisioning and capacity on demand, and service desk and configuration management, according to an announcement about the award.

The contract is valued at an estimated $681 million over seven years, with three one-year renewal options. Dan Egan, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Office of Administration, told the Philadelphia Business Journal that “the amount of money that the commonwealth spends will depend upon the volume of services purchased by state agencies.”

What the Contract Means for Future Cloud Procurements

In an interview with Government Technology, Pennsylvania CIO Tony Encinias noted that investments in cloud computing simplify budget planning because the contract can accommodate the state’s demand for IT services, whether large or small. Encinias added that the new agreement for cloud services would help set the course for future procurements.

“We no longer have to worry about negotiating terms and conditions with every vendor associated with cloud services,” he said. “We have a massive contract with Unisys, and if we have services that we require from other vendors, then Unisys, on our behalf, will go work with that vendor.”

Pennsylvania’s Strategic Plan, which outlines IT goals through 2016, makes clear that on-demand computing is a major change that’s driving the need for workforce transformation.

The state’s technology department is up against potential changes in retirement benefit packages and a technology workforce that is nearing retirement age, according to the strategic plan.

“The commonwealth will work with agency information technology staff as well as human resources professionals to design the technology workforce of the future,” the plan notes. But, “in addition to the likely need to train and deploy staff in new ways, agencies continue to face significant challenges in recruiting and retaining information technology personnel.”

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