Florida must have an integrated Information Technology (IT) Governance model to improve IT services and reduce costs, according to a Report from Florida TaxWatch, the independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit public policy research institute and government watchdog. The Report, Reforming Florida’s IT Governance Structure, analyzes Florida’s needs and options and finds that a federated governance structure will reduce duplicative IT investments and allow the state to allocate resources more efficiently. “TaxWatch is encouraged that Governor Scott has joined House and Senate leaders to prioritize funding for a new Agency for State Technology that has the authority to set and enforce centralized IT policy for Florida’s governing agencies,” said Dominic M. Calabro, President and CEO of Florida TaxWatch. “The true challenge now lies in a developing the best model for successful integration of Florida’s diverse IT needs.” Florida’s current decentralized IT structure earned the state a “D” in a 2012 study by the Center for Digital Government, the lowest grade awarded to any U.S. state. During the past 17 years, the state has had six different IT governance structures. According to the Report, the federated model will allow a high-level governing body to create IT policy enforced by a governing agency, and ensure each state agency retains their ability to deliver IT services that meet their needs. Additionally, an integrated governance structure will better share services across state government and properly use data. “With an integrated IT governance structure, Florida will have the organization and infrastructure necessary to analyze the state’s data and make informed decisions to increase efficiency and reduce costs across government,” added Calabro. To ensure the new governance structure is successful and sustainable, it must include clearly defined responsibilities and foster intergovernmental operability, provide for enterprise-wide data management, and be given time and flexibility for implementation. The report also examines the importance of managing IT contracting and procurement, noting that contract management and oversight must be carefully considered to reduce costs and eliminate waste as part of an integrated system. You can read the full report at http://www.floridataxwatch.org/resources/pdf/ITGovernanceFINAL.pdf. Florida TaxWatch is a statewide, non-profit, non-partisan research institute that over its 33-year history has become widely recognized as the watchdog of citizens’ hard-earned tax dollars. Its mission is to provide the citizens of Florida and public officials with high quality, independent research and education on government revenues, expenditures, taxation, public policies and programs and to increase the productivity and accountability of Florida state and local government. Its support comes from homeowners and retirees, small and large businesses, philanthropic foundations, and professional associations. On the web at www.FloridaTaxWatch.org.