State Technology Replacement Program (TRP)


TO:

 

HONORABLE CHAIRMAN ELI BEBOUT
HONORABLE CHAIRMAN STEVE HARSHMAN

 

FROM:

Flint Waters, State Chief Information Officer

 

SUBJECT:

 

Technology Replacement Program (TRP)

 

DATE:

 

January 20, 2014

 

CC:

 

Governor Matt Mead


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

The Executive Branch of the State of Wyoming has implemented a Technology Replacement Program (TRP) to bring appropriate standards and industry best practices to the purchasing of desktop and laptop computers. Prior to this program, agencies purchased computers on varying cycles without necessarily considering the potential impact. If they purchase too soon they waste State dollars, too late and they expose citizen data to loss or theft and reduced the efficiency of their staff. This briefing will attempt to address questions raised regarding the recommendations adopted under this program.


In accordance with a directive from the Governor in 2011 to redefine the State’s Technology Replacement Program (TRP), changes were made in the processes for purchasing desktop and laptop technology. The resulting changes include the following:


  • ETS has set the minimum replacement cycle at four years or longer (up from three for many agencies).

  • ETS does not require agencies to replace computers every four years and provides paid support for older systems.

  • ETS no longer allows purchasing extended warranties for personal computers as these were wasteful compared to providing local repair and replacement.

  • ETS has lowered the base purchase price allowed for replacement computers unless specific justification is presented for higher end equipment. In the BFY 2013-14 review, it resulted in a reduction statewide of approximately $2.6 million in requested funds.

  • Monitors and printers are approved for replacement as needed rather than automatically.

  • ETS maintains a count of requested computers from budget session to budget session and matches with agency staff counts. This approach is to ensure excessive requests are identified.


REPLACEMENT CYCLE:

The four year replacement cycle was based on research into industry standards and best practices. The timeframe attempts to balance the cost of equipment replacement against the potential risks to citizen data where computers are no longer able to load the latest software patches and security enhancements. The question becomes one of acceptable risk and potential loss of productivity for employees relying on computers to perform their job functions.


In considering the replacement cycle, recent examples were identified as listed below showing the replacement timeframes available through a quick Internet search:



Agencies frequently request assistance from ETS in determining when to replace computers. A more detailed assessment of the given use of a computer can support longer retention of some systems where:  1) the use does not include critical data; 2) the system is frequently reloaded with software; or 3) the use is periodic and non-mission critical.


COMMERCIAL VERSUS CONSUMER GRADE:

When purchasing computer systems for the State, commercial grade computers are recommended. Commercial grade systems typically include preferred features in a heavy-use environment.


  • Better durability and build quality

    • Higher end components to endure such things as heat, shock and pressure

    • Metal hinges and brackets

    • Spill resistant keyboards

    • Finishes resist damage and bacteria

  • Longer warranties and better support

    • One year consumer

    • Three to four year commercial

    • Each additional year of protection is valued between $50 and $100

  • Additional security built in

    • Cable locking slots on laptops

    • Biometric readers

    • Trusted Platform Module embedded security chips

    • Better data protection

  • More expansion and connectivity options

    • Port replicators

    • Network ports

    • Expansion slots in desktop computers

  • Operating System

    • Windows Pro versus Windows Home

  • Total cost of ownership

    • Manageability

    • Quality and reliability

    • Productivity

    • Security


References:


PURCHASING DETAIL:

ETS leverages the buying power of the Western States Contracting Alliance (WSCA) (http://www.wnpsp.com/19.html). Using their current configuration model, which updates every six months, we set a norm for IT purchases. We used the performance model pricing as a target point for budget estimates. Our team then works with vendors to get even better pricing or include additional features beyond the WSCA model. Our current negotiation gets us higher end processors, larger storage and four year warranties while still staying under the WSCA price structure.


With this standardization, agencies no longer have to submit quotes to this office when requesting new purchases providing the request follows the WSCA pricing. This approach streamlines the process. If an agency requires technology that exceeds the performance model on WSCA, they submit a quote and justification for the enhancement.


REVIEW PROCESS:

In reviewing agency budget requests, ETS has added additional requirements never before used in Wyoming. In many cases, the review starts with an upfront engagement with our Business Analysts. These analysts assist the agency in advance of submitting a formal request for approval. By working in conjunction with the customer, our analysts can address many expectations as the request is formed. This approach provides faster approval later in the process and gives the customer a better sense of how ETS functions while delivering a partnered approach in our commitment to the agencies success. This effort has reduced the amount of time spent with negative recommendations later in the process. Requests that exceed $200,000 are required to submit a business case which follows a different path of review than listed below.


Once the request has been formalized, it is sent to our review specialists. These specialists check the quantity of machines requested, types and vendors specified and determines if quotes or justifications are required based on the dollar amounts and number requested. The specialists work with agencies to obtain any additional supporting documentation required before making a recommendation. This team looks for requests that are outside previously recommended purchase standards, like an agency wishing to replace all monitors or printers every four years. Once budget requests are reviewed by this team, they are forwarded to the Enterprise Architecture Team.


The Office of Enterprise Architecture (OEA) includes experts in Education technology, Health technology, Security and Privacy practices, Geographic Information services, Broadband technology, Enterprise Architecture and IT Governance. These specialists review the budget requests to see if they meet expectations with regard to identified need and level of technology requested. They double-check against prior requests by the agency to see if the numbers requested match the staff count identified for the agency. Upon completion of review by the OEA, the budget requests are forwarded to ETS management for review.


ETS administration reviews requested budget items to ensure compliance with statewide requirements. As an example, the team will pull prior business cases to identify projects that have exceeded their original scope or are outside the original budget projections. The administration review often involves calls and/or meetings with the agency director to address concerns or ensure the director is fully briefed on the scope of the request. Attempts are made to resolve negative items prior to giving a recommendation to empower the agency to deliver uncontested requests to the Governor’s Office for review. In previous years, State CIO recommendations were not revealed to the agency until the Governor’s budget meeting, leaving them no opportunity to refine the request. ETS has adopted a more collaborative and proactive approach to present a shared recommendation dedicated to the success of the agency.


For the 2014 budget session, ETS required more business cases than ever before. Classes were provided in partnership with our customer agencies in advance of the legislative deadlines. The business case review process includes representatives from agencies and elected official offices. Business cases are then reviewed by the Information Technology Policy Council (ITPC), which also includes citizen participation. Business cases are each individually reviewed by the State CIO prior to recommendations to the Governor.


ETS has adopted a governance model implementing best practices from throughout Government and Industry. This governance is necessary when implementing deceptively complex technical solutions on behalf of our citizens.