Arkansas CIO All In on Shared Services

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Manager

Arkansas has begun its digital transformation and is moving ever closer to a shared services model. Last month, Arkansas CIO Yessica Jones briefed the NASCIO Corporate Member Exchange on some of the recent changes in her state.

Probably the most impactful change was the re-organization following the passing of the Transformation and General Efficiencies Act during the past general legislative session. The act consolidated 42 departments into 15. Previously the Department of Information Systems, Arkansas’ central IT department reported directly to the governor, along with 41 other departments. Under the new structure, the Department of Information Systems has become a division under the Secretary for Transformation & Shared Services.

Jones believes that new department structure will improve IT project delivery, especially since all new secretaries have been tasked with identifying potential shared services opportunities. Several projects are already underway to deliver additional shared services to executive-branch agencies, including deploying enterprise-wide Microsoft Office 365, optimizing their data center, implementing mainframe as a service and several enterprise-wide agreements.

Arkansas still operates in a decentralized manner and each agency has its own email systems and infrastructure. Utilizing enterprise agreements with both Microsoft and VMware, the Division of Information Systems will be able to consolidate email domain exchanges for all agencies as well establish a true hybrid-cloud model. Moving to Office 365 will provide advanced data protection, multi-factor authentication and data loss prevention – tools not previously available to all agencies.

Moving forward, vendors will begin to see the Division establish itself as the center for shared IT services, including moving towards a CIO-as-a-broker model by identifying a systems integrator to continue efforts to optimize their data centers and manage their mainframe. While the current IT environment in the state is very decentralized, departmental reorganization and creation of a Department of Transformation & Shared Services means moving forward. Shared services will be the strategy. Vendors should be aligning themselves with the Division of Information Systems to ensure that their solutions support their strategy and action plans.

The best way to be sure your solution is aligned with the Division’s strategy is to schedule a meeting during the monthly vendor days Ms. Jones hosts. On the second Tuesday of every month, vendors can schedule 30-minute meetings to discuss their offerings. Solutions that speak to a shared services model that utilize best practices from other states are of particular interest.


For more information on how you can best position your solutions to the State of Arkansas, reach out to immixGroup’s Market Intelligence team today.

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