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VTC deserves another look from cost cutting state CIOs

October 5, 2010 - 0 Comments

Every year, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) brings their members together for an annual conference to discuss the issues they’re facing with other information technology experts and vendors. This year’s collection of CIOs, information technology executives and managers from the states, territories and the District of Columbia, met at the Loews Hotel in Miami to talk best practices and the challenges facing states today.

It was no surprise that this year’s event had a feeling much like the ones over the past few years. With the ongoing economic downturn still influencing the nation, states continue to be asked to provide more services with fewer resources.

Unlike previous events, this year did have a feeling of uncertainty, with many governors about to be replaced during midterm elections. New governors can often spell new leadership in a state, including new CTOs, which means that information technology staff at states are preparing for a potential transition.

One of the things that we found most interesting at this year’s conference was, despite a call to cut costs across the board, there seemed to be less focus on video teleconferencing (VTC) solutions as in year’s past.

Many CIOs were looking into the technologies, solutions and strategies that are often bandied about when cost cutting is needed (such as datacenter consolidation, virtualization, cloud computing), but many were most likely unaware of the significant cost savings that can be realized from VTC solutions.

We’ve discussed the ways that VTC can save a state and local government agency or entity money on Break Down the Walls. From increasing the reach of teachers and making educational systems more effective and efficient, to reducing the cost and need of travel, to making the criminal justice system operate smarter and cheaper, the adoption of VTC can save a state significant amounts of money.

In addition to the savings that VTC can bring to a state or local government, there are other benefits that are especially important today, in light of the upcoming elections. VTC solutions keep communications high between and within agencies while simultaneously cutting costs. During a transition period, new leadership often needs to communicate frequently between and within their agencies. VTC would go a far way in facilitating the communication and collaboration needed to ensure a smooth and effective transition.

Despite the benefits, VTC seems to be overlooked as a cost saving measure by state CIOs. With the pending transition in power and so many added benefits beyond savings, it may be time for state CIOs to take another look at VTC.

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