This week I had the pleasure to attend the National Association of State Chief Information Officers’ (NASCIO) 2009 Annual Conference in Austin, TX. The conference brings together CIOs, information technology executives and managers from the states, territories, and the District of Columbia with technology providers to discuss best practices and issues in the public and private sector IT space.
Regardless of which state, territory or district the CIOs and IT professionals represented, one constant seemed to emerge from my conversations: the economy has created significant internal pressure to do more with less.
As my associates have mentioned multiple times on this blog, 48 of the 50 states are experiencing significant budget shortfalls during this economic downturn. With tight budgets getting slashed even more, CIOs are searching for inexpensive technologies that can help their states operate more effectively and save money.
One of the major directions this new cost-cutting directive is leading state CIOs towards is consolidation. In many states, multiple agencies, offices, college campuses, medical facilities, etc., are all employing their own disparate network infrastructures. Each of these network infrastructures costs money to power and maintain and is often not being used to capacity. There is considerable savings to be gained by consolidating these disparate networks and having multiple organizations utilizing the same networks.
One thing that wasn’t often mentioned in all of the consolidation discussions was the multiple disparate video teleconferencing (VTC) infrastructures in each state. With VTC being viewed as a cost saving and mission-critical technology in government offices, schools, hospitals, and other organizations, the proliferation of video in government agencies and organizations has been rapid, but oftentimes disjointed.
By consolidating disparate VTC networks, the states would be taking a huge leap forward in operational effectiveness and efficiency. Collaboration and communication between and within government agencies would steadily increase, new advanced technologies, such as instant messaging and IP telephony would become available to employees, and conducting “business as usual” would be significantly easier in the face of emergency or crisis.
The benefits of the consolidation of state VTC networks are great, but luckily, the price doesn’t have to be. This can all be accomplished without the need to tear down existing infrastructures and rebuild thanks to interoperable VTC solutions like the ones offered by TANDBERG.
The simple addition of some interoperable VTC solutions could turn multiple, disjointed VTC networks into one state-wide VTC network that enables continuity of operations, increases efficiency, and saves money. In this economy, can your state afford to not consider VTC network consolidation?