Modernization Legislation Signed This Week Already Saving Nearly a Million Dollars

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Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has signed a key cost-saving government modernization initiative. House Bill 2197 outlines what appears to be one of the most aggressive state government implementations of open source and open standards technology in the nation and purportedly has saved nearly a million dollars each year even before its implementation.

House Bill 2197 was authored by state Representative Jason Murphey and state Senator Josh Brecheen in an effort to reduce the information technology acquisition costs of state government agencies and local public safety agencies.

The legislation will require Oklahoma Chief Information Officer Alex Pettit to purchase software licenses and equipment using proprietary standards only when options are not available for open source or open standards technology.

Open source software typically does not require the same acquisition costs as proprietary software. Over the past few years, government entities have started to take advantage of the proliferation of open source software now available. Oklahoma’s recent IT consolidation has made it possible for the state’s IT department to centralize and leverage the personnel necessary to maintain the software on an enterprise-wide basis.

“This is an exciting and dramatic cost saving measure. Historic, even,” stated Murphey. “This bill represents a key component of this year’s House Government Modernization agenda. Upon implementation it will make Oklahoma state government a leader in using less expensive open source technologies that will drive down the cost to the taxpayer.”

“The taxpayers of Oklahoma have asked us to reduce the size of government. By using open source technology to significantly cut IT costs we are responding to their request,” added Brecheen.

House Bill 2197 will allow state information technology purchasing officers to better leverage enterprise software contracts

Oklahoma’s central service officials have indicated that the mere presence of the bill has already allowed IT purchasing officials to leverage nearly one million dollars in annual savings. The state’s IT purchasing team has been able to negotiate down the cost of renewing enterprise software licensing due to the possible implementation of the legislation.

“It isn’t often that a bill saves the taxpayers substantial costs before legislative approval. The taxpayers have been well served by CIO Alex Pettit and his staff who have wisely sought to save taxpayer funds by leveraging this proposal as it has progressed through the legislative process,” Brecheen explained.

In addition to allowing state agencies to realize savings, the legislation is also expected to play a big role in driving down the cost of connecting to the state’s interoperable radio communications network. Public safety agencies will no longer have to use expensive and proprietary radio standards but should be allowed to access the network with off-the-shelf open standards communications systems that are affordable.

House Bill 2197 takes effect in just under ninety days.

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