You’ve got mail: Looking at the state migration

On May 23, the California Office of Information Technology (OTECH) brought together agency information officers and departmental chief information officers from various state agencies to get updates in the progress of the California Email System (CES) and to hear first hand the experiences of those making the changes.

A big news item at the meeting, which was held at the Ziggurat Building in West Sacramento, was the announcement that CES has now successfully migrated over 10,000 mail boxes encompassing both large and smaller departments. State executives, project management and technical leaders spoke openly about their experience migrating to CES and to share important tips with each other.

CES is one of two e-mail solutions available to the Executive Branch departments following the passage of AB 2408, which was approved in 2010.  Since AB 2408 was enacted, 90 percent of all state departments have elected to use CES for their departmental e-mail service.

AB 2408 consolidated state information technology functions under the Office of the State Chief Information Officer and required all executive branch state departments under the Governor’s control to consolidate e-mail systems, servers and networks to reduce redundancy, save energy and streamline delivery of IT services.

The legislation requires the consolidation of 130 separate e-mail systems, all with their own hardware, software licenses and maintenance requirements into just two systems: CA MAIL offered by OTECH and CES, which is offered by a private Cloud vendor utilizing the Microsoft Exchange platform.

It took one year to build the service for the state and some departments have more pre-migration planning and remedial work to do in order to consume the service. But  the major milestone of migrating 10,000 boxes successfully shows how the state of California is innovating in IT services under OTECH’s leadership and the leadership of information officers around the state.

Two of the major departments and some smaller entities that have already migrated are in the State and Consumer Services Agency, including the Department of General Services (3,300 mail boxes) and Consumer Affairs (2,300 boxes).

“We fully support the vision in the state’s 2012 IT Strategic Plan and the migration of 10,000 mail boxes to CES has demonstrated the promise cloud computing offers,” noted Andrew Armani, the agency information officer at State and Consumer Services.  

When fully implemented, 66 state departments and over 100,000 state mail boxes will utilize CES for email, making it one of the largest Cloud email systems in government today.

Migration to CES  delivers the benefits of reducing  state costs for the maintenance of unused mailboxes, elimination of unneeded software licenses, and reduced capital expenditures for equipment replacement and related upgrades. The reduced IT foot print will significantly lower energy costs and space requirements. When consolidation is completed, Gov. Brown can communicate more directly with state employees via e-mail —  an ability his predecessors have lacked.

During the OTECH Forum, state executives, project management and technical leaders were able to talk openly about their experience migrating to CES and to compare and contrast experiences and share important tips with each other. The various panel presentations were designed to share lessons learned along the way.

Ed’s Note:  Tom Sheehy is the former Chief Deputy Director of Finance and Acting Secretary / Undersecretary of the State and Consumer Services Agency under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. He joined Greenberg Traurig’s Sacramento government affairs practice in October 2010.

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