Governor signs contract with tech company in an effort to streamline data storage system [The Virgin Islands Daily News, St. Thomas]
(Virgin Islands Daily News (St. Thomas) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Oct. 05--ST. THOMAS -- The Bureau of Information Technology has taken a step toward consolidating the government's various technology systems and reducing costs to departments and agencies.
Gov. John deJongh Jr. has signed a five-year, $982,000 contract with Evertec to provide servers and resources to the Bureau of Information Technology.
The systems will be available to any government agency for free, eliminating the need for each agency to seek individual contracts for things such as off-site data storage, web hosting and data sharing.
"For example, if a government agency needs to implement a new project and needs IT resources, like a server, rather than having to go out a buy it, individually, BIT will already have those resources," BIT Director Reuben Molloy said. "It will make it easier for government agencies to deploy projects much faster."
Molloy said the servers will be owned by Evertec and housed at the bureau's offices. He said the servers have tremendous storage capacity and can easily service the entire government.
"Evertec places a data center in a box at BIT and they manage it, they make sure it's up-to-date, they provide us with support and make sure we use it efficiently," Molloy said. "BIT has resources on its own, and it also has access to all of Evertec's resources."
The data on the servers will be duplicated in real time to servers outside the territory, creating a back-up for the government's IT systems.
The government's financial management system, the Enterprise Resource Planning System, will not only be backed up by the new servers, if the ERP system were to crash, it could still be operated using the off-site back up.
"It enables the government to enable business continuity and disaster recovery procedures," Molloy said. "They can back it up, they can replicate it to this network."
Molloy said the new system will be good for databases, automating functions within a government agency, sharing information and collaborating on projects and providing secure back-ups.
He said a recent request came from an agency that wanted to contract a vendor to implement a document imaging system. The Evertec system can now provide that function for free, he said.
"It allows us to be very flexible and agile to respond to government agencies' IT needs," Molloy said.
The funding for the Evertec contract comes out of the BIT operating budget. As long as it continues to be funded, BIT will not charge government agencies to use the system.
"One of the ways of cutting cost, yet increasing efficiency, is through consolidation," Molloy said.
The bureau is rolling out new initiatives slowly to give government employees time to adjust. In October 2012, the bureau enabled the employees to use video conferencing as a new communication tool between offices, departments and islands.
In January, the Bureau of Information Technology put into place a new telephone system, in which employees could make calls to other offices, departments and islands just using extensions within the system.
In April, the government moved its email system to the cloud with Microsoft's Office 365. When the V.I. Next Generation Network's broadband system comes online at the end of this year, even more possibilities will open up, according to Molloy.
"With the infrastructure and these IT resources, we'll be able to improve our telephone system across the territory," he said.
It is a slow process, but departments and agencies that have had their own IT systems in place for years are making the move toward a consolidated government system.
"More and more agencies are coming on board every day," Molloy said.
- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email email@example.com.
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