Measure Would Direct Chief Technology Officer to Look at Other Forms of Large-Scale Computing Systems
TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Bob Gordon which would direct the State to conduct a study of the current use of High-Volume Basic Computing (HVBC) systems in government agencies, and examine whether or not viable, cost-effective alternatives exist was signed into law yesterday by the Governor.
“With the current rate of advancement in information technology, the computer systems which were cutting edge yesterday are obsolete by tomorrow,” said Senator Gordon, D-Bergen. “It’s important that we continue to study these advances, and whenever possible, adopt cost-effective solutions which continue to meet the needs of New Jersey’s residents at a fraction of the cost. This law will make sure that policymakers have the information they need to transition New Jersey’s information infrastructure to the latest, most cost-effective platform as possible.”
The new law, S-1918, directs the Chief Technology Officer within the Office of Information Technology to conduct a study of the current use of HVBC systems by State departments and agencies, and to analyze the potential costs and benefits of switching to an alternative type of large-scale computing systems. The study will take into account the reliance on HVBC systems across the entirety of State government, the cost and limitations of continuing to operate and maintain HVBC systems, and the overall value of the alternative large-scale system being studied, among other factors. The Chief Technology Officer will be required to complete a report of findings, recommendations and priorities within six months of today’s date, and transmit a copy of the report to the Governor and the Legislature.
HVBC systems have been used by New Jersey agencies for many years to handle operations which involve tens of millions of transactions per hour, and the storage of trillions of bytes of data. HVBC systems have been used to manage motor vehicle records, tax returns, Medicare transactions employee benefits and other types of transactions. Senator Gordon noted, however, that even though advances in the performance and cost of computers over the last 20 years have driven the cost of high-performance machines down, government has been slow to adapt to new systems.
“Whether we’re talking cloud computing, or some other form of high capacity, high volume information technology architecture, these systems have the potential to improve government operations and reduce costs,” said Senator Gordon. “I know the usual model is to wait until these systems have proliferated in the marketplace to the point where government is the last to jump on the bandwagon. But if we want to improve the level of services that we offer to New Jersey residents, and cut down on the costs of maintaining outdated computer systems, we ought to take a serious look at what’s available in the current marketplace, and get ahead of the curve of technological advancement.”
The bill was approved by both the Senate and Assembly in March.