In early January 2017, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf sent a memo to his Cabinet announcing a dramatic change: over the next six months, the commonwealth would consolidate Human Resources (HR) and Information Technology (IT) under a shared services model.1 This would help offset a budget deficit of more than $600 million in the 2016-2017 fiscal year and an even larger anticipa ted deficit the following year.2 It also represented an opportunity to improve service over the long-term. Nonetheless, the pace of the move represented a significant challenge for Secretary of Administration Sharon Min nich, who had been tasked with leading the initiative. Dating back to the 1990s, Pennsylvania had taken in termittent steps toward HR and IT consolidation. Now, in just six months, Minnich and her colleagues would have to build on more than 20 years of work and develop a new model.
Thus, as Minnich and her team swung into action, they faced difficult questions. How would they manage the consolidation while maintaining normal operations? How would they balance the divergent needs of the IT and HR communities and different agencies? How should the consolidation be structured, governed, and measured Would they obtain the requisite savings without furloughs or layoffs? With Wolf up for reelection in fall 2018, would the change endure? Most fundamentally, could they make IT and HR more efficient and effective and in the process, improve the lives of Pennsylvanians for years to come?
Sarah Razor, Executive Director