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Michigan Consolidation and Streamlining: DMB and DIT to Merge

In a recent press release, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm announced that the Department of Management and Budget (DMB) will merge with the Department of Information Technology (DIT), thus eliminating five state agencies and approximately 200 boards and commissions. Kenneth Theis, the current Director of DIT will oversee the consolidated departments while current DMB Director Lisa Webb Sharpe will step down from her position to accept a position at Lansing Community College as Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration.

This consolidation is a result of Gov. Granholm's pledge to reduce the number of state departments from twenty to eight in order to streamline government processes and realize cost savings. This effort comes in conjunction with Gov. Granholm's request to Lt. Gov. John Cherry, Jr. in the 2009 State of the State address to lead an initiative to provide higher quality state government services at a lower cost to taxpayers than are currently available. Given how technology enables both government employees and citizens to do better business, and technology's increasing role in streamlining government, the plan to house the two departments under one roof is very logical.

What this means for vendors: One of the primary goals of the consolidation is streamlining government. Procurement is a prime example of this. Procurement and information technology will now be in the same department so vendors can anticipate a more efficient procurement process. Procurement officials and project managers will likely have a closer working relationship; there will be an increased level of interaction and communication on a variety of initiatives. Vendors should be prepared to work with the newly structured government – a single entity in which all players are on the same page and have access to the same information, rather than separate agencies passing information back and forth and following different procedures and protocols.

As always, given the government's budget cuts and revenue problems, vendors should continue their efforts to offer the most comprehensive solution at the lowest price, but now attention must also be focused on adjusting to the new consolidated structure. Many states already house information technology departments with management and budget-type agencies, and it is possible that other states will follow in Michigan's footsteps and make similar transitions in order to achieve the same efficiencies. It is in vendors' best interests to study Michigan's actions and develop new strategies for addressing this shift.

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