Georgia Department of Revenue CIO Ananias Williams III describes the advantages of his agency's cloud migration during NASCIO 2022.

Oct 13 2022

NASCIO 2022: Georgia Department of Revenue’s Modernized Tax Infrastructure

The department’s CIO described how he worked with the state’s IT agency to upgrade an expensive legacy system.

The Georgia Department of Revenue was operating on outdated infrastructure. As such, its CIO, Ananias Williams III, was eager to migrate his agency to the cloud.

Williams believed modernizing ultimately would save his agency money. “Another factor was security and compliance, as it relates to managing this tax information, and the sensitive nature of the information contained within the repository as well. And then, I think, also looking at the ability to have application modernization and to be able to affect business processes in a positive way,” Williams said, describing the drivers for cloud migration.

Speaking on a panel of the Annual Conference of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers on Tuesday, Williams said his agency turned to the Georgia Technology Authority, the state’s IT agency, for assistance. GTA had not yet assisted another state agency with a cloud migration, but they were eager to start doing so with direction from Georgia CTO Dmitry Kagansky, who joined GTA in 2021 as chief cloud officer after four years at Amazon Web Services. 

Acting as a service provider, GTA successfully began the cloud migration for the Georgia Department of Revenue, which soon found it could easily scale up volume during tax season in April. 

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Georgia Technology Authority Now a Resource for Other Agencies

Now GTA has taken its approach to other state agencies.

“For GTA, this was actually an opportunity for us to get into the cloud. We ourselves hadn’t done that. We hadn’t started that initiative. It did take a little while for things to move in that direction. And in so doing, we learned what we needed to do as an agency for our customers,” Kagansky said.

In the initial cloud migration project with the Department of Revenue, GTA learned a lot that it applies to other migrations, including critical aspects of business planning. 

“Now, if an agency wants to make a move, we know exactly what they need, and we can be a lot more responsive,” Kagansky said. GTA acquired the right mix of people by upskilling its staff through training. 

“We were being much more dynamic, with a lot more choices available, and needed more training to make those choices,” he added.

Georgia CIO Shawnzia Thomas said GTA has now formalized its review of business cases. “We’re making sure the agency gets exactly what they want,” she said. 

Thomas noted that Georgia agencies now have a choice of choosing Microsoft Azure or AWS for their cloud services. GTA has established a portfolio of products and services for state agencies to consider.

“We’re allowing the agencies to choose whichever of those two providers they like. We’re just here to support them,” Thomas said.

READ: StateTech's exclusive interview with Georgia CIO Shawnzia Thomas.

Georgia Department of Revenue Embraces Flexibility and Savings

The Georgia Department of Revenue today enjoys a modern suite of services from AWS, its cloud provider, Williams said.

The department now operates its Integrated Tax Solution, the state’s application for processing tax returns, on a modern platform. The migration from an on-premises server provided the Department of Revenue with increased flexibility while eliminating long-term costs associated with the legacy system.

“We anticipated saving 20 percent in recurring maintenance costs, but that number actually has been 40 percent,” Williams said. “It has been a great success.”

Some Department of Revenue personnel enjoyed working on the cloud migration project so much that they transitioned to working on cloud migration projects for other state agencies, Kagansky said.

Check out more coverage from the NASCIO 2022 Midyear Conference and follow us on Twitter at @StateTech, or the official conference Twitter account, @NASCIO, and join the conversation using the hashtag #NASCIO22.

Photography by Mickey McCarter

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