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Kansas spent $17M on technology project before outsourcing

December 9, 2016

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The administration of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback spent $17 million on resolving technology needs in-house before outsourcing the effort to a company in another state.

Chief information technology officer Phil Wittmer said that the in-house project was too expensive and would have cost $50 million to complete, the Topeka Capital-Journal (http://bit.ly/2gsVmdm ) reported.

The state is retiring its IBM mainframe used by four major agencies. Kansas reached a five-year, $14 million deal in September with Illinois-based Ensono to replace the mainframe.

Kansas Department of Administration spokesman John Milburn declined to answer questions on why the project was initially approved in 2013 and whether any of the $17 million can be recouped.

Reports issued by the Office of Information Technology Services showed the project included “services for the implementation, deployment and migration of existing logical systems onto the Kansas GovCloud infrastructure and all additional services.”

Wittmer said the state received eight bids from in-state companies, but they fell short of the physical and security requirements.

The primary location for Kansas’ data will now be in the Chicago suburbs, with a backup in Arkansas.

According to Wittmer, the new platform will “give us much more reliability.”

“One thing when you’re running a data center — you’ve got to have redundancy on power,” he said. “And on air, and on all your systems that keep it up.”

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Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com

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