Empire State has fistful of deals

New York's new CIO wants to find enterprising partners

"Please tune the sales and marketing [pitches] to what works for the enterprise." ?New York CIO Mike Mittleman

New York State CIO's Office

The state of New York, the nation's third largest by population and with an annual IT budget to match, already is on every state and local integrator's must-watch list. But with a handful of the largest state IT projects in recent history moving toward implementation, the Empire State has raised integrators' awareness even higher.

Mike Mittleman, who in January replaced outgoing CIO Jim Dillon, is helping the Office for Technology and key agencies steer several critical projects through the procurement process. Three major projects for information systems ? financial management, identification and access management, and welfare management ? are nearing the point at which the state will issue a request for proposal.

Mittleman, who Dillon hired in August 2002 just months after becoming the state's first CIO, wants the hallmark of his administration to be a continuation of his predecessor's push to break down the IT silos that impede information-sharing and to link the state's disparate systems.

Mittleman is philosophical about his significant task: guiding these many large and complex IT projects to successful implementation.

"They are all multiyear projects, so there will be many opportunities for adventure, as is true with any large project," Mittleman said. "You can do all the planning in the world, but there's always the unexpected. One has to be adaptable and flexible to navigate through whatever situation shows up."

Big stakes

With all the project activity, and a retooling of the state's IT strategic plan also in the works for 2006, Mittleman has a full schedule. But a big part of the job for any CIO is meeting with prospective contractors, and he has carved out time to talk to them about potential opportunities.

In return, he expects vendors to educate themselves on the state's initiatives and not pitch unrelated solutions.

"Please tune the sales and marketing [pitches] to what works for the enterprise," he said.

The project closest to implementation is the enterprise financial management system. New York has a $6 million contract with Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu to help design the request for proposals, which the state expects to release Oct. 1, Mittleman said.

The contract to implement a statewide financial system using enterprise resource planning software will be worth at least $700 million, said John Kost, managing vice president of worldwide government research for IT consultants Gartner Inc., Stamford, Conn. Mittleman would not discuss costs, but said the contract would be large.

In addition to naming a systems integrator to lead the project, the state might have smaller opportunities for other companies to build bridges between the new system and legacy systems that will continue to run in many of the state's agencies, Mittleman said.

This spring, the state plans to begin testing some principles of the enterprisewide identification and access management system. State officials are refining the governance plan and technical reference architecture for the new system, Mittleman said.

"Should it prove viable and stable, I believe the RFP process and scaling up could happen quickly," he said.
Mittleman would not discuss any potential price for the project, other than to say that it would be considerable.

The New York Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance is testing database configurations and doing a proof of concept project that will lead to a redesign of the state's entire welfare system, Mittleman said. The price tag on the project, which has been in development for several years, would be large, Kost said.

"That will be another monster project, once they have their engineering in place," Mittleman said. "It will be a very good indicator of the grand welfare management system redesign technologies that will be involved."

Adding value

The state also recently awarded a contract for the New York State Police Information Network, a system that will link data from state, local and federal sources for use by state police and criminal justice agencies.
The state chose a bidder for the project, but as of press time the contract was still in negotiations with the comptroller's office, and state officials declined to divulge the winner or project value. Kost estimated the value of the deal at more than $1 billion.

A major server consolidation project, aimed at standardizing configurations and architectures, is a year or two away, Mittleman said. The state's IT staff will spend the next year cataloging thousands of servers and checking their software and configurations. When they finish the review, the state can begin developing a migration plan and eventually look for a vendor partner to help execute the transition.

"We anticipate that happening, but is it going to happen this week? No," Mittleman said. "There are thousands of [servers] that we have to go across."

Mittleman understands the big picture and what it takes to ensure that enterprisewide initiatives such as these succeed moving forward, Kost said.

"Breaking down silos is the preeminent problem with most of these projects in all states," he said, referring to enterprisewide projects. "Mike is doing absolutely the right thing in focusing on that issue. That's the most critical value-add a state CIO can bring."

Staff Writer Ethan Butterfield can be reached at ebutterfield@postnewsweektech.com.

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