1. Where can I find out more about VITA and the services currently being provided by Northrop Grumman?

Information regarding VITA's mission and vision can be found here.

An overview of primary Northrop Grumman services is available here and the full contract is posted here.

2. What is a "sourcing strategy?"

Modern organizations such as state agencies consume technology from different sources. Some functions are provided in-house. Other functions can be provided more efficiently by a third party, and are outsourced. A sourcing strategy defines how services will be consumed. For large organizations, such as the commonwealth, that need to balance statewide ("enterprise") requirements with the needs of individual agencies, a clear strategy is required. This strategy must consider enterprise requirements, agency business needs, and market capabilities.

3. Why does VITA need a sourcing strategy?

In 2006, a long-term contract with Northrop Grumman was signed, known as the IT Infrastructure Partnership. The commonwealth's needs have changed since then, and marketplace capabilities have evolved. To determine how the commonwealth should best purchase and manage its technology needs after this contract expires, a sourcing strategy is required.

4. What is VITA trying to accomplish with its sourcing strategy program?

This program will develop recommendations for the Governor and General Assembly about a next generation sourcing strategy. VITA will be requesting input from agencies and the marketplace to help the commonwealth understand what options exist today, and how those options might be implemented. This process will emphasize transparency and inclusion, and VITA will engage all stakeholders in manner that will foster an understanding of how services can improve while controlling costs and securing the enterprise.

5. What are the objectives of the IT sourcing strategy project?

VITA has defined the following principles to guide our work on this project:

  • Maintain existing resiliency, reliability, and use of industry best practices
  • Maintain vigilance while continuously improving security
  • Leverage market and technology trends to promote agility in delivery and diversity in choices
  • Ensure price competitiveness and financial flexibility

6. Why is VITA starting now? The term of the Northrop Grumman contract does not expire until July 1, 2019.

The commonwealth must start this process now. The need to engage with agencies and the General Assembly, a desire to find intermediate improvements, the variability of state funding, and statutory procurement timelines are all part of a complex process that necessitates the need to define options well in advance of contract expiration.

7. Why doesn't VITA just extend the contract with Northrop Grumman?

VITA has exercised all contract extensions available to the commonwealth. Going to market will encourage competitive bidding and provide other benefits such as leveraging new capabilities.

8. Why doesn't VITA just let the contract with Northrop Grumman expire and bring services in-house?

Although bringing services in-house will be considered during development of the sourcing strategy, it is essential that the commonwealth consider and assess all options and ensure decisions about IT services are based upon executable facts.

9. Why doesn't VITA just cancel the Northrop Grumman contract before 2019?

Simply cancelling the contract would not be in the commonwealth's best interest. The contract would require the commonwealth to incur substantial costs to purchase IT equipment and hire IT staff, and a cancellation would create a substantial risk of disruption to IT services.

10. What options does the commonwealth have for providing IT services?

Many options are available to the commonwealth, ranging from outsourcing the scope of services currently provided by Northrop Grumman, insourcing, multi-sourcing (multiple providers offering services), or a mix of these approaches.

Neither VITA nor its consulting partners have any preconceived view of what a final recommendation will look like. All options will have costs, risks and trade-offs. By implementing the right process, engaging customer agencies and the commonwealth's leadership, and analyzing the facts, VITA is confident that the right recommendation for the commonwealth will be made.

11. Where is VITA in the process?

VITA has engaged a consultant and is developing a sourcing strategy, which will help VITA assess options and recommend an approach to the Governor.  Current, near-term activities include interviews of customer agencies and executive leaders regarding their business requirements and IT service needs.  An analysis of the current arrangement with Northrop Grumman, an understanding of market conditions and capabilities, a view of commonwealth needs, and a review of constraints, complications and trade-offs will also inform our options and prepare us for next steps well in advance of contract expiration.

Integris Applied is currently completing the Assessment Phase and is turning its attention toward building the recommendations.  More information on the project journey is available here.

12. How do we know any recommendations will be implemented?

Some means of ensuring continuity of services must be in place by the expiration of the current contract.

Starting now gives the commonwealth time to see its options and the facts behind those options. While there is no predetermined outcome, it is clear that doing nothing is not an option. The future provision and performance of IT services should responsibly and securely support the commonwealth's ability to serve its citizens - IT infrastructure services are the foundational, back-end technologies upon which agencies and citizens interact with each other.

VITA is working to build a coalition for change throughout this process by including a wide range of stakeholders to better navigate the trade-offs of needs and constraints at both the enterprise and agency level.

13. How is VITA including customers and other stakeholders in the strategy development?

VITA recognizes that a future strategy can only be successful if it fits the need of its customers – both the agencies with their distinct missions and the commonwealth as an enterprise.  Toward that end, VITA established an IT Sourcing Steering Committee for the project, as further detailed here.

Additionally as part of the assessment, Integris Applied interviewed more than 60 agency customers to better understand their own strategic vision.  These interviews included business leadership (e.g., commissioners) in addition to IT leadership.

Wherever possible, agency representatives are included in other project activities. For example, the Marketplace Options Assessment was performed using a Request for Information (RFI) process. The team leading that effort was comprised of both agency representatives and VITA subject matter experts. Agency IT personnel were invited as observers in the RFI clarification sessions.

Finally, VITA is continually providing communication to stakeholders via existing forums such as CIO Council, AITR meetings, ITAC, newsletters and this website. 

VITA anticipates having enhanced customer and stakeholder engagement as the recommendations move into planning and execution.

14. What is Integris Applied?

Integris Applied (www.integrisapplied.com) is a technology strategy and sourcing advisory firm with decades of experience assisting clients with their sourcing needs.  Having recently implemented innovative and complex sourcing and delivery solutions for the states of Texas and Georgia, Integris Applied has the most relevant experience in the industry for the types of challenges the commonwealth will face in resetting its technology strategy.

15. Why does VITA need to hire consultants to develop this strategy?

VITA recognizes the need to look at the commonwealth's sourcing strategy with fresh perspectives. VITA wants the commonwealth to benefit from the most relevant experience in the market working with state governments on large and complex sourcing engagements. Working with the right consultants will help the commonwealth develop a sustainable strategy that will meet our needs. Bringing in skill sets and experience that do not exist in the commonwealth will help agencies and stakeholders assess options that might not have been considered otherwise.

16. Who do I contact for additional questions?

Please email infrastructuresourcing@vita.virginia.gov

17. What will happen to the data centers in Chester and Lebanon?

VITA and the commonwealth currently use the facilities as part of the IT infrastructure services under the Comprehensive Infrastructure Services agreement with Northrop Grumman Services Corporation. Northrop Grumman provides the facilities pursuant to its obligations under that contract.