Georgia Governor Finds Himself in Awkward Outsourcing Spot


Back in December, I wrote about Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue's decision to consolidate 11 agencies that account for the bulk of the state's technology spending to create a Georgia Technology Authority to evaluate bids from private contractors to provide IT services.


Now, as ajc.com reports, Perdue finds himself in a bit of an awkward spot.


One of Perdue's first moves when he was elected in 2003 was killing a plan by predecessor Roy Barnes to outsource the state's computer networks and telecommunications, largely because Barnes' plan would have awarded the contract to a single company. Under Perdue, the state enlisted consulting company TPI in hopes of attracting multiple bids on two separate tech contracts estimated to be worth up to $1.4 billion. Though three providers, IBM, Northrop Grumman and EDS, initially expressed interest, all but IBM have now withdrawn their bids. TPI has already received $3.6 million for its services.


The state had hoped to award the contracts in October. Assuming it would get several bids for the work, the authority has already shrunk its staff in anticipation of the outsourcing. Perdue must decide whether to move forward with IBM, "dramatically reducing (the state's) bargaining power" or pass on negotiations and continue to use the existing technology, which the governor has described as "inefficient and ineffective."


All parties involved, including the three service providers, the Georgia Technology Authority and the governor's office, declined comment, according to the article. The governor had envisioned an outsourcing plan that would involve laying off some 200 state workers and transferring another 500 to outside contractors.


Although Perdue apparently hadn't ruled out accepting bids from offshore providers and India's Tata Consultancy Services has received several IT services contracts from local governments in the U.S., no offshore companies are mentioned in the ajc.com story. India's Wipro Technologies last summer opened a software development center near Atlanta.