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Controls and Governance

Other states undergoing IT consolidation have realized significant savings through the implementation of controls associated with centralized accounting and procurement. OIT has developed an internal controls and governance program comprised of the components listed below. Although in various stages of implementation, this framework allows OIT to effectively plan for and implement IT spend and project management across the enterprise.

 

 Controls Program Graphic 

 

Information Technology Planning

State agencies have specific and discrete missions and information technology is a key component in enabling them to meet their respective goals. Prior to consolidation, each agency planned and budgeted for its own IT solutions to address their business needs rather than collaborating with other departments to accomplish common goals. To address this problem, OIT implemented an annual planning process to identify ongoing support requirements and future IT needs of the departments, divisions and programs. Prior to the annual budget cycle, OIT works with the agencies to compile their annual department IT plans (DITP). These plans include a combination of information ranging from the preliminary justification of IT spend for the upcoming budget year as well as mission critical needs to be addressed. This improved planning process is intended to provide an enterprise overview that ensures initiatives do not overlap, neutralize, or impede each other. This annual process also:

 

  • Affords OIT the opportunity to understand the business needs of departments and to initiate a collaborative plan to help them achieve those needs while ensuring IT budgets are spent in the most economical, collaborative, and efficient manner possible; and

 

  • Allows for the identification of aggregated demand, multi-agency collaboration opportunities, and new avenues for leveraging resources that may not have been previously identified. 

 

Budget

OIT reviews all IT-related budget change requests prior to submitting those requests to the Office of State Planning and Budgeting (OSPB) for consideration. This review allows OIT to determine if there are consolidation/collaboration opportunities and to validate that the request supports the state's IT strategic direction while also supporting the business needs of the departments. Once reviewed with the requesting department and if approved, OIT forwards the request to OSPB.

 

Procurement and Contracting

Procurement and contracting activities have not traditionally been initiated with consideration to enterprise opportunities. However, there are huge financial savings to be gained. OIT has implemented procurement controls over proposed IT expenditures. All proposed IT expenditures of $10,000 or greater require OIT approval before proceeding and each department’s procurement office is responsible for submitting these expenditure requests to OIT for review. Before approving a request, OIT determines whether the expenditure is part of an approved budget, adheres to existing standards, and uses the enterprise infrastructure effectively. OIT also uses this data to analyze the IT purchasing trends in order to target spend categories and create enterprise-level agreements that will afford statewide cost savings and cost avoidance for commodities and services.

 

All contracts with an IT component require the signature of the State Chief Information Officer. This helps to ensure that a significant expenditure does not slip past controls and that it has been reviewed by OIT prior to execution. The state’s historical silo approach to IT contracting resulted in nearly 500 active IT related contracts across the Executive Branch, many for the same service or commodity at different price points. As IT consolidation proceeds, OIT will consolidate existing contracts becoming the primary contract point for IT products and services. The inception of this process has already shown significant financial savings.

 

Accounting and Reporting Improvements

Prior to consolidation, state agencies lacked a mechanism to consider IT spending from an enterprise perspective and therefore missed opportunities to implement technology solutions that collaborate activities and resources among departments. Compounding this challenge is the fact that transactions are not consistently recorded in a manner that identifies them as information technology expenditures. Without having this information properly recorded, this data is not readily available without manual analyses. OIT and the Office of the State Controller worked diligently over the past two years to develop the best historic and current reporting structure possible. Through better reporting processes, agencies will have a better understanding of their actual IT spend. OIT will continue to work with Agency IT Directors and budget and financial officers to ensure that this key data is provided to and reviewed with the appropriate senior level management in the agencies to facilitate better management of state IT resources. 

 

Standards Setting

The historical lack of hardware and software standards contributed to the proliferation of multiple platforms servicing the same needs across departments. The lack of standardization makes it difficult to fully leverage the state’s purchasing power and to ensure there are adequate staffing levels and skill sets to service all the hardware and software platforms that support a multitude of citizen facing services. OIT has the authority to “determine and implement statewide efforts to standardize information technology resources to the extent possible” (§24-37.5-105(9) C.R.S.) and to “coordinate and direct the formulation and promulgation of policies, standards, specifications and guidelines for information technology in state agencies…” (§24-37.5-106(1)(c) C.R.S.).   As such, OIT has developed hardware and software standards for implementation starting in 2010 and all purchases of IT goods will prospectively adhere to such standards. These standards were designed to ensure the effective use of the state’s purchasing power and provide for cross-departmental experience with a limited number of standard platforms.

 

Project Management

IT projects meeting certain criteria are monitored and tracked by OIT's Enterprise Portfolio Project Management Office (EPPMO) to ensure a proper level of governance and quality control. The EPPMO has established project management procedures to ensure that approved IT products and services are successfully implemented.