While the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma football teams have a longstanding rivalry, the IT professionals at each state have forged a mutually beneficial alliance.
Negotiations to name Texas as Oklahoma’s “preferred source” for technology purchasing began back in 2013. Then Texas CIO Karen Robinson and Oklahoma CIO Alex Pettit both thought that an alliance between the two states could benefit all parties, but the logistics were challenging.
In an article published on govtech.com, Pettit said, “We started off with a very broad scope of things we wanted to do and ended up having to narrow that and get through what we could get through…there was a lot of stuff we had to work out.”
However, both parties continued the negotiations, and eventually agreed to a one-year pilot program that began June 13, 2014. The program is available for an extension should both parties agree. Oklahoma placed its first order to approved vendors through the DIR Cooperative Contracts program in June 2014.
Mary Cheryl Dorwart, director of DIR’s Technology Sourcing Office, feels that the pilot benefits both states. “Having Oklahoma included on our list of customers increases Texas’ sales volume and therefore, the negotiating power the state has with vendors. This benefits all our customers, including Oklahoma.”
Dorwart also believes that Texas would consider being a “preferred source” of technology for another state if the situation presented itself and was beneficial to both parties.
To date, the state of Oklahoma has purchased over $7.5 million in goods from DIR contracted vendors, and has realized savings totaling over a quarter of a million dollars.
For more information on DIR’s Cooperative Contracts please click here.