Wednesday, January 12, 2011

IT Industry a Bright Spot

North Dakota’s IT industry remains a growing and vibrant part of the state’s economy and is well positioned to expand its current IT businesses and attract new companies. As the industry continues to evolve, cooperation among the state’s industry, government, and educators, positions the state to take advantage of state and national trends and remain a strong competitor in the global economy.

Despite having one of the lowest population densities, the state continues to offer broadband services to the most rural communities in the state resulting in 95 percent of the state’s population having access to broadband services.

The state government recognizing the importance for a robust IT infrastructure to compete in today’s global economy, created the state’s Information Technology Department (ITD) along with several programs and incentives available to state IT businesses to grow or expand their businesses.

The ITD is working with the State’s Office of Management and Budget State Procurement Office and the State Enterprise Architecture program to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) to re-bid State Contract 095-IT Professional Services Contract Pool. Under this state contract, state term contracts are awarded to multiple vendors in specific IT contract pool categories

By pre-qualifying vendors based on the state’s requirements and establishing master term contract, both state agencies and vendors benefit from lower procurement costs associated with work orders under this contract.

The state plans to release the RFP on February 14, 2011 where it may be downloaded from the State Procurement Office web site at For more details, email Patrick Foster or call (701) 328-1992.

The state is also pursuing other means and incentives to help state IT businesses expand and grow. For example, the North Dakota Department of Commerce through their Centers of Excellence program is encouraging researchers and students at colleges and universities to find ways to commercialize their new ideas into products, skills, and services to attract new businesses to the state. Seventeen new or expanded businesses currently operate in the state as a result of the Centers of Excellence program and three of these businesses are IT-related.

Another program “Innovate ND” looks for entrepreneurs who want to turn ideas into new ventures. The program brings together entrepreneurs, investors, and educators and works with participants from both new and existing companies to attract business to the state.

A third program “Technology-Based Entrepreneurship Grant Program” provides up to $1 million in grants to entrepreneur centers to help mentors, enable shared services, provide relationships with educational institutions, assist with marketing and financial management, and the program holds training sessions on how to comply with regulations.

Each year, the state publishes an industry guide. The “2011 State of the IT Industry Guide” is available online and was distributed to the Legislative Assembly in December. The document is available at