Sheehy: DGS CES Migration Demonstrates Cloud Innovation In State Government

Last month the Department of General Services (DGS) successfully migrated 3,500 mail boxes to the California Email Service (CES), a Cloud software solution. This was the first large State Department to migrate under AB 2408 (Smyth/2010). The legislation consolidates 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. It 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 the State Office of Technology Services and CES offered by a private Cloud vendor (CSC) 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 recent successful migration of 3,500 e-mail boxes at DGS to the Cloud is a major milestone in the implementation of AB 2408. “We fully support the vision in the state’s 2012 IT Strategic Plan and the recent DGS migration to CES has demonstrated the promise cloud computing offers” – Andrew Armani, Agency Information Officer of the California State and Consumer Services Agency. Several smaller departments have also migrated to CES including the Contractor State Licensing and Medical Boards which were the first organizations to use the Cloud service. Since AB 2408 was enacted, ninety percent of all state departments have elected to use CES for their departmental e-mail service and 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.

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About Thomas Sheehy

Tom has more than 22 year’s experience in California politics and policy and he is the former Acting Secretary and Undersecretary of the State and Consumer Services Agency. In that capacity, he was a member of the Governor’s cabinet and oversaw the Department of General Services and $9 billion in state contracts and procurements. He has also served as the Chief Deputy Director of Finance, where he personally represented the Governor and the Director of Finance on more than forty boards and commissions. He served 10 years in the California state Senate and Assembly where he was a senior advisor to legislative leadership on fiscal and policy issues impacting business regulation, taxes, and infrastructure. Currently he is building a government affairs and lobbying practice at Greenberg Traurig’s Sacramento Office ( where CSC is a firm client.
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8 Responses

  1. avatar

    yeah, but has anyone asked the smaller dept’s if they can afford it? the governor should have footed the bill! also, why pay yet another vendor for things that can be done within the exec branch. i.e. Otech

  2. avatar

    Dear Upset,

    All CES cloud e-mail contracts ARE being handled through OTECH. OTECH owns the contract. And with respect to costs, when the state finishes consolidating 130 separate e-mail systems on multiple platforms, all with separate license agreements and technology refresh requirements, into just 2 e-mail systems, BOTH contracted for through OTECH, it will save millions and millions of state dollars over time. These freed up funds can then be re-allocated to other high priority IT projects. California benefits by leaving its legacy system behind and moving forward into the latest cloud technology business improvements. The train is coming down the tracks, hop on!

    Tom Sheehy

  3. avatar

    nice, but your words don’t mean anything when we are now paying 3 times as much for an email system. for a big organization, such as yours, the migration may well be worth it. but for a small dept, with no budget, the migration is simply depleting us of funds that could have been directed for other needed activities, i.e. training

    p.s. I don’t like trains!

  4. avatar

    I’m with Upset on this one. My department is bleeding to death on mandatory consolidation and contracting-out for systems that we already owned. Our maintenance costs were negligible. Now instead of spending that money to serve the public, we are forced into buying services we didn’t need. Nobody listens to the small departments, we’re getting run over by that train.

  5. avatar

    The long-term benefits of CES and Cloud e-mail include the reduction of significant state costs for, among other things, the maintenance of unused mailboxes for contingency needs, the maintenance of hardware and software licenses, and the capital expenditures required for equipment replacement and software upgrades. A greatly reduced IT foot print will significantly lower energy costs and space requirements. Furthermore, State employees will have access to state of the art eDiscovery, archiving, and collaboration tools facilitating better cross departmental communication all under the same ‘per user per month‘ payment plan. State departments will have dedicated support 24/7 365 days a year, which is a direct result of consolidating 130 unique email systems into two systems running the same email platform. Under Cloud e-mail consolidation, Governor Brown can easily communicate with all state employees via e-mail. This type of comprehensive communication is difficult and somewhat ’hit and miss’ with the current diverse 130 e-mail systems and was a source of great frustration with previous Governors.

  6. avatar

    Upset and Philip have hit the nail on the head on this issue. It’s funny how ninety percent of all state departments were mandated to use CES for their departmental e-mail service and the remainder ten percent had the choice to migrate to CES and gladly declined.

    This is a terrible way to spend tax payer’s money.

  7. avatar

    Well this is just factually incorrect. All departs were able to make an ELECTION and the fact is 90% CHOSE CES due to guaranteed service level agreements and superior service options. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts…

  8. avatar

    Future progress and the velocity of migration of state departments to Cloud e-mail and related cloud services depends on effective executive leadership and effective change management. The move to Cloud computing is about people as much as technology. Worker feelings, beliefs, and attitudes about the change must be managed – as is clearly demonstrated here in these posts. Organizations do not like change; they like staying with what they know even if it is outdated legacy systems. However, its clear that to achieve the full benefits anticipated under AB 2408, Cloud computing must be a critical component of the overall IT structure of the State. The Federal Government has recognized that fact by instituting a ‘Cloud first‘ initiative that instructs all federal agencies to first look at a Cloud computing solution when considering any new IT application.