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PA Commonwealth and Unisys Announce Three-Year Contract Extension for Pioneering `Data PowerHouse' Project.

 Extension to Deliver Additional Savings Benefits
 and Service Enhancements
 Pennsylvania Remains Only State to Successfully Consolidate
 and Outsource Agencies' Data Centers


-- HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Gov. Mark Schweiker today announced the Commonwealth has completed a three-year contract extension with Unisys Corporation to continue the award-winning partnership managing the outsourced operation and maintenance of the state's Data PowerHouse facility.

The contract extension is estimated to produce additional cost savings of $31 million. These savings are in addition to the estimated $110 million in cost avoidance being achieved during the first five years of the Data PowerHouse contract.

"Years ago before this project was begun, we had more than 20 agency data centers using duplicate equipment and duplicate staff to deliver very similar services," said Gov. Schweiker. "Our employees were doing good work, but with this large number of centers we simply couldn't achieve economies of scale to ensure the best investment of our resources. By bringing these separate data centers together into one state-of-the-art government data center, we're realizing a number of benefits for our agencies and, ultimately, our citizens.

"Unisys has been a tremendous partner on this initiative, helping us achieve one of the most productive data centers in the nation -- in both the public and private sector. Our contract extension not only makes financial sense, but it will ensure our Data PowerHouse continues to set the blue-ribbon standard for data center operations around the world."

The original seven-year contract with Unisys, which is currently valued at $621 million, was finalized in August 1999 and included provisions for a three-year extension. This extension, running through 2009, is valued at $252 million. It also provides for reduced pricing for the Commonwealth of $31 million for the years already under contract.

The Data PowerHouse project is managed by a consortium of 10 companies led by Pennsylvania-based Unisys.

"The Ridge-Schweiker Administration has been visionary in its understanding of how the strategic application of technology can improve state government and benefit citizens," said Unisys chairman and CEO Larry Weinbach. "The Data PowerHouse project is one example of that vision in action.

"Working together, the Commonwealth and Unisys have been able to win national and international awards for the performance of this facility. But what should interest citizens most is our success at streamlining government and safeguarding the many public services that rely on computers in the Data PowerHouse for their smooth operation 24-hours-a-day."

The Data PowerHouse houses mainframe and mid-range computers, and other technology, used by state agencies to process data for driver's license renewals, property tax and rent rebates for senior citizens, processing of criminal files, unemployment compensation claims, and other vital state government services.

In addition to continuing the outsourcing relationship, the extension includes the delivery of new technology and services to provide enhanced disaster-recovery capabilities for critical public services supported by the facility.

Pennsylvania remains the only state government in the nation to have successfully consolidated and outsourced its data centers.

State agencies participating in the Data PowerHouse project include the departments of Public Welfare, Revenue, Aging, Corrections, Labor and Industry, Health, Transportation, State, Insurance, Education, and State Police, as well as the Civil Service Commission, the Public School Employees' Retirement System, the Public Utility Commission, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the Commonwealth Technology Center and the Liquor Control Board.

An important new service provided by the Data PowerHouse is the availability of rapid disaster-recovery capabilities, which were not widely used by state agencies before 2000. In the case of an event that might cripple the Data PowerHouse facility, this service provides state agencies, within hours, data-processing capabilities from a back-up site located a safe distance away from the main facility.

This extra safeguard ensures that critical state data-processing services will be provided if disaster should strike, which is especially important following the events of Sept. 11.

The Data PowerHouse is staffed around-the-clock, providing optimal use of the Commonwealth's computer investments. The new facility uses robotics and includes the latest security and back-up systems to safeguard data files housed there.

Additionally, the Data PowerHouse provides agencies with the fastest possible access to the latest computing technology. This ensures agencies are using the best equipment for delivering reliable and rapid response times for their customers.

The Data PowerHouse has been recognized with two prominent awards. In 2002, the project was named "Most Strategic" as part of the Outsourcing Journal's Editor's Choice Awards. Two years earlier, the Data PowerHouse was a finalist for the World Outsourcing Award, finishing second only to the federal government of Australia.

The Administration has made technology a key component of Pennsylvania's economic-development efforts by such measures as:
 -- Launching the nation's first-ever Tax-Free PC shopping week to
 encourage home-computer use;
 -- Signing legislation to make Pennsylvania the first state to enact a
 uniform Electronic Transactions Act;
 -- Eliminating the 6 percent tax on computer services; creating the
 research-and-development tax credit;
 -- Putting the state's web address on Pennsylvania's new license plates;
 -- Leading technology trade missions abroad to increase high-tech exports
 and high-tech jobs for Pennsylvania;
 -- Launching the Technology 21 initiative to catapult Pennsylvania into
 the Top 10 states for high-tech business;
 -- Creating the "Made-in-PA" database of Pennsylvania-made products; and
 -- Expanding the Net Operating Loss carry-forward provision to give
 technology startups a tax deduction.


More information on the Schweiker Administration's Data PowerHouse initiative is available through the PA PowerPort at http://www.state.pa.us/, PA Keyword: "Data PowerHouse." Information on other technology initiatives led by Gov. Schweiker is available on the PA PowerPort by simply clicking on the informational category "Technology in PA."

CONTACT: Scott Elliott of Pennsylvania Office of Administration, +1-717-772-4237 or +1-717-576-6101 (cell); or Susan Beck of Unisys, +1-215-986-6036.

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CONTACT: Scott Elliott of Pennsylvania Office of Administration, +1-717-772-4237 or +1-717-576-6101 (cell); or Susan Beck of Unisys, +1-215-986-6036

Web site: http://www.state.pa.us/
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Publication:PR Newswire
Geographic Code:1U2PA
Date:Oct 14, 2002
Words:977
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