The path to success for government agency IT officials comes from a laser-sharp focus on improving IT operations and efficiencies. State, local and education (SLED) government agencies are consolidating their information technology resources to find a balance between the expectations of spending less taxpayer money while meeting increased digital demands. Traditional government agency IT systems that operate in stovepipes are quickly becoming outdated. For instance, one agency may have an IT infrastructure that is identical to a neighboring agency, but because they cannot electronically communicate in real-time, multitudes of processes and service requests quickly become tedious tasks. Agencies today are realizing that they cannot continue to operate at low costs and create efficiencies when their systems live in silos. As a result, in 2016 agencies will continue to increase efforts to link their IT infrastructures. 2016 Focus: Eliminating Duplicative IT Systems One of the biggest hurdles the public sector is dealing with is duplicative IT operations. In the past, agencies set up their own customized IT systems and solutions designed to work solely for their specific agency. Forward-looking agency CIOs see the tremendous benefit from implementing systems that are engineered to communicate seamlessly with other agency systems -- streamlining dozens of processes. The City of Seattle will launch the Seattle Information Technology Department, AKA Seattle IT, in 2016 to begin a major IT consolidation overhaul by consolidating all executive level city IT employees into a single department. Officials plan to integrate city-wide and departmental applications development, geographic information systems support and web services with an expected completion date in 2018. In a gradual deliberate process, we’re going to bring people together by having those people delivering a service come together and set requirements, validate those requirements and in time, begin to operate in a new and consistent model.Seattle’s Chief Technology Officer Michael Mattmiller told GovTech Unifying Multi-Agency IT Operations When agencies plan to purchase hardware and software, unifying IT operations under a multi-agency enterprise canopy can save time and money—two top considerations of every state and local department. Managed IT services, such as printing services are transitioning to encompass multiple agencies, eliminating the need for single agency purchasing at a wide range of prices. Previously, one agency or department may pay a higher price, overpaying for the same service as another agency or department. Printing services is one area of IT services that this situation used to be common place, but the agency mindset is changing. The Louisiana Department of Administration sought out companies that can provide its departments with printing services on an enterprise-wide basis in an August 2015 bid. State officials want to get rid of multiple contracts for printing hardware, consumables and services, and consolidate into a single multi-agency use contract. They want to right-size their hardware while reducing printing costs and increasing efficiencies across more than 15,000 digital copiers/multi-function devices throughout 16 participating agencies. Vendors should take note that as departments cut duplicative IT operations and better manage IT purchasing, consolidation of IT contracts into multi-agency use, multi-year and fixed-term contracts will be their path to saving time and money. In 2016, vendors can expect to see more agencies issuing these larger contract opportunities and less of the smaller “one-off” purchase contracts.