IE11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

In Budget Proposals, State Department Seeks Funding for Tech Initiatives

The California Department of General Services is hoping to proceed with a “Procurement Division E-Marketplace Implementation” and an “Enterprise Technology Solutions Information Technology Workload Adjustment,” as two budget change proposals show.

Blue lines of code on a black background.
The state’s business manager is asking for several million dollars to further two technology projects, as California’s yearly budget process continues.

In two budget change proposals (BCPs) released this month, the California Department of General Services (DGS), which according to its website “serves as the business manager for the state, with more than 3,900 employees” and a budget of more than $2 billion, is seeking funding to proceed on a “Procurement Division E-Marketplace Implementation” and an “Enterprise Technology Solutions Information Technology Workload Adjustment.” Among the takeaways:

  • DGS’ Procurement Division (PD) seeks “ongoing expenditure authority of $2.4 million,” with $2.2 million of that from the Service Revolving Fund and $224,000 from Reimbursements plus two permanent positions in FY 2023-24 to “implement, maintain, and operate the statewide e-Marketplace solution.” PD has identified improving and modernizing the state’s “relationship with suppliers by developing a statewide online public-facing marketplace” as the next necessary step in the state’s business process modernization. It is intended to boost data accuracy, enhance timely decision-making and drive government spending transparency. When DGS transitioned to the Financial Information System for California (FI$Cal) in 2016, a “primary” business transformation opportunity identified was “an out of the box solution that would allow access to online supplier catalogs.” The solution proposed here will be “cost-friendly and modernized” and require vendors to “submit electronic catalogs for viewing online, which will give California industries greater visibility into the state’s business needs,” per the BCP. Agencies will be able to “acquire the best goods and services available to serve customers” via a simplified item selection for purchase orders and requisitions. System features would include reporting functionality, information tracking on environmental and social impacts, and a searchable items catalog. It should also improve contract compliance verification by streamlining quarterly reporting and making data more current.
  • The project is now at the Stage Gate 2 in the California Department of Technology’s Project Approval Lifecycle (PAL). Once a successful procurement is done and a solution obtained, DGS will work with FI$Cal on an integration strategy and a full completion timeline. Per the BCP, a high-level estimate is that an e-Marketplace solution could be in place by 36 months from a procurement completion. The proposal, DGS said in its justification, fosters the PD’s initiative of transforming business with external vendors by enabling the state to provide “equal access for all suppliers to the same functionality at no cost.” During FI$Cal’s statewide implementation the PD identified a lack of interest from vendors in using “electronic catalogs for FI$Cal users” — but a lack of resources and “appropriate technology discouraged participation.” The e-Marketplace would be free and offer a central technology hub, and “vendors would be mandated to participate and would need to provide, maintain, and support a properly formatted catalog.” This, the BCP said, would let the PD “mitigate issues of small, non-diverse vendor pools” and let the state leverage its buying power — as well as improving industry visibility.
  • DGS’ Enterprise Technology Solutions (ETS) is seeking $2.5 million in “one-time authority” from the state’s Service Revolving Fund in FY 2023-2024, and $2.2 million in ongoing authority from the fund starting in FY 2024-2025; and it requests the authority to fill 12 permanent positions starting in FY 2023-2024, to enable the department to “comply with existing Cal-Secure requirements of cybersecurity, privacy and data governance, and the evolving needs of its customers.” That’s a reference to California’s Cal-Secure, its “first multiyear cybersecurity road map.” The department has met Newsom’s “immediate requirements” and Cal-Secure requirements for FY 2021-2022 but will be stretching its resources to meet requirements for FY 2022-2023 — and won’t be able to meet the requirements for the next three coming fiscal years without additional resources. The BCP will enable ETS to meet Cal-Secure requirements and safeguard DGS program and client information — improving equity and security for all customers.
  • The BCP addresses issues of cybersecurity and risk remediation; the positions sought will address a backlog of security-related tasks from “IT units outside of the Information Security Office” and additional workload as well as implementation and support of Cal-Secure objectives. It also targets data loss prevention and data governance; the BCP notes a Data Loss Prevention program is necessary to “prevent unauthorized access and sharing of confidential, sensitive and personal information and significantly reduce the risk of a large data breach.” The department needs the additional positions and budget authority to meet the Cal-Secure mandates to support “cybersecurity, privacy and data governance” and changing customer needs. DGS has taken “interim measures” like workload redistribution, “temporary hiring in blanket positions and procuring contracts for IT services” but these aren’t sustainable, per the BCP. Additionally, ETS has determined that hiring temporary or contract staff may be beneficial on a one-time or seasonal basis — but it isn’t effective “in supporting ongoing maintenance and operations efforts,” or high-security efforts or those requiring special training. The investments sought are vital to create a “baseline of IT capabilities outlined in Cal- Secure, which would provide for IT infrastructure resilience as well as security and privacy of information” for the department, its clients and residents.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Industry Insider — California.