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Providing 24X7 Services. June 23, 2008 Isabel FitzGerald, Chief Information Officer. Martin O’Malley Governor. Brenda Donald Secretary. Anthony G. Brown Lt. Governor. Agenda. Evolving landscape Challenges of providing 24X7 support in a government environment

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june 23 2008 isabel fitzgerald chief information officer

Providing 24X7 Services

June 23, 2008

Isabel FitzGerald, Chief Information Officer

Martin O’Malley


Brenda Donald


Anthony G. Brown

Lt. Governor

  • Evolving landscape
  • Challenges of providing 24X7 support in a government environment
  • Creative solutions and investment; People, Outsourcing, Technology
  • State of Oregon May 2007, A Framework for Government Excellence
  • Information Sharing in E-Government Projects: Managing Novelty and Cross-Agency Cooperation, David Lazer and Maria Christina Binz-Scharf
  • Network Magazine, CIO Strategies: Tackling The Hurdles, Keeping pace with change
changing landscape public perception
Changing Landscape – Public Perception
  • The public is accustomed to purchasing anything from the world marketplace any day of the week, at any hour of the day. They expect similar services from government.
  • State government is seen as one "company" and the public expect to interact with government that way.
  • Citizens shouldn't have to understand the structure of government to get the service they want.
  • Citizens expect government to use their taxes wisely. They want value and results from each dollar.
changing landscape business need
Changing Landscape –Business Need
  • Delivering citizen centric solutions that bridge the services of multiple agencies.
  • Establishing interagency, outcome-based programs that prioritize investments to deliver greatest results.
  • Enabling interoperability between agencies, business partners, and customers within specific service or program areas.
  • Investing in shared delivery channels that provide public services in new and more convenient ways, including 24x7 self-service through the internet, telephones, or kiosks
changing landscape expectations of it
Changing Landscape –Expectations of IT
  • Reducing costs of services and programs to citizens.
  • Increasing the capacity of government in terms of number of citizens served or transactions processed.
  • Reducing wait times or cycle turnaround times of services.
  • Reducing government operating costs by streamlining processes.
  • Avoiding costs by sharing or reusing solutions across multiple areas.
  • Increasing roll of IT in the definition of the service.
challenges in a government environment
Challenges in a Government Environment
  • Pace of change
  • Innovation
  • Cross-agency collaboration
  • Culture

“The technology is not the challenge. That's really pretty easy. It's the people, and it's the policy… People are going to have to undergo a fundamental change, a total change in the way that they think about their jobs and deliver service, to make this work.” (A project manager)

the pace of change versus investment conundrum
The Pace of Change Versus Investment Conundrum
  • Information technology change is a constant and obsolescence is inevitable
  • Most government agencies don't easily accept the fact that a part of its IT infrastructure is obsolete
  • The IT paradigm – IT is seen merely as a cost center, but it should always work, and always meet the needs of the business. DHR spends less than 3% of its total budget on IT
  • Migration of cost from business to IT is not well understood as client self-service evolves and charge-back mechanisms are in their infancy
the pace of change versus investment conundrum9
The Pace of Change Versus Investment Conundrum
  • Aging infrastructure – no major investment in 11 years, and no plan was in place for ongoing technology refresh. Lack of understanding of the need to have constant upgrade to stave off obsolesce or complete, and costly overhaul
  • Technology changes at a fast pace and vendors offer new solutions or upgrades every few months. The question is are government agencies willing or able to invest in the latest technology even if it makes business sense
challenges of innovation
Challenges of Innovation
  • Innovation is an enormous managerial challenge:
    • Vast array of options and choices
    • New technology potentially disrupts the equilibrium. Often the incumbent coalition will resist new technology
    • New technologies may offer better ways of doing business in the long run, but may present substantial transition costs in the short run
    • New toy syndrome
    • Need for continual evolution
    • Failure is costly, visible, and can create a crisis of confidence in the IT organization
challenges of cross agency collaboration
Challenges of Cross-Agency Collaboration
  • Cross-agency communication and consistency is difficult because the agency-based structure of government is reflected in the organization as well as the laws and the oversight institutions
  • Organizational structures do not foster cross-agency collaboration and integration.
  • Budgets are agency specific, line-item specific, and statutes and regulations are agency-specific
  • Agency autonomy is threatened
  • Data ownership, integrity, and privacy present challenges
  • Charge-back culture is not fully evolved for shared services
challenges of culture
Challenges of Culture
  • Existing ways of doing business shape the perceptions of how things can be done and are assumed to be the correct way
  • Routines serve symbolic as well as functional needs. New technology might be resisted because of value of the symbols to the organization
  • Older generation workers are suspicious of technology
  • Government technology is off-pace with younger workers, making them difficult to hire and retain
challenges of culture13
Challenges of Culture
  • Government is seen as bricks and mortar
  • Arcane and restrictive personnel rules and union considerations hamper organizational change
  • Skill sets, pay, and training of government employees often lag behind the private sector
addressing challenges
Addressing Challenges
  • Invest strategically
  • Collaborate
  • Retool resource planning
  • Outsource as a viable and cost-effective alternative
  • Use technology to bridge the gap
invest strategically
Invest Strategically
  • Developed a 5-year plan with the business units
  • Executing with precision. Do not be swayed unless there is a clear and compelling business case.
  • Executive sponsorship and upward “selling” of the value of IT are critical for long term success and positioning of IT to support the evolving business need including 24X7 access
  • Don’t skimp on the basics. Working to build human, institutional, and infrastructure capacity
  • Assessing every decision to help prevent unintended downstream consequences and bottlenecks
  • Working to form inter-agency workgroups to share ideas, technology, innovations, and address barriers such as data privacy and data sharing
  • Collaborating with other states, industry organizations and events, federal partners, and the contractor community to share information
  • Taking advantage of shared services, contracts, and standardization under DBM and ultimately the Department of IT
retool resource planning
Retool Resource Planning
  • Learned the personnel rules front to back. Human Resources should be an integral part in your planning
  • Clearly identified those systems and processes that require costly 24X7 support
  • Define the continuum of expected service levels
  • Created on-call procedures
  • Created new shifts so coverage is staggered beyond just 8 to 5
  • Use contractual staff
  • Created 24X7 help desk. Staffed with a combination of state staff during normal hours and contractor staff after hours, on holidays, and weekends
retool resource planning18
Retool Resource Planning
  • Staffing strategically
    • Looking for untapped pools of resources such as retired workers
    • Partnering with schools and sponsoring interns
    • Discussing ways to “share” resources and/or cross-train with other agencies
    • Utilizing contract staff
outsource critical functions
Outsource Critical Functions
  • Outsourcing provides a cost-effective alternative to providing internal support that often provides better more reliable services. DHR:
    • Outsourced 24X7 data center support
    • Outsourced 24X7 production support
    • Outsourced after hours help desk
    • Outsourced monitoring of applications and network devices
    • Created clear SLAs to measure and ensure quantifiable performance
  • Created a partnership with our contractor which allows us to assess and retool processes and technologies as needs emerge
leverage technology
Leverage Technology
  • Set standards and established an architectural review board
  • Systematically upgrading systems to better support interoperability with web applications, IVR, and reduce batch downtime
  • Leveraging vendor relationships to learn about emerging technologies, case studies, and options
  • Established the Network Command Center (NCC) to monitor the network 24x7. The NCC uses three tools to monitor the network:
    • WhatsUp Gold
    • Solarwinds
    • SilkCentral
leverage technology21
Leverage Technology
  • NCC monitors the performance of routers, switches, servers, and applications. The software also allows the implementation of performance thresholds so when a device’s performance is not within that range, audio and visual alerts are automatically sent out.
  • Robot PCs that mimic application transactions are in each of the 24 jurisdictions.
  • The NCC is staffed from 7 AM to 7 PM six days a week with a combination of contractor staff and interns. Email notifications are generated to on-call technicians in off hours when a a performance threshold has been breached.
whatsup gold map view
WhatsUp Gold Map View

The WhatsUp Gold Map View shows the location and status of all of the devices. The color of the icon indicates the current state for that device. Each county has a Robot PC, however we have them grouped together on the map for ease of identification.


focus on the future
Focus on the Future
  • Public funding is a competitive sport
  • Work to proactively build and protect DHR’s IT reputation to be competitive. Show clear business value and ROI
  • Invest in technology and infrastructure wisely. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish
  • Bring value. Collaborate. Get outside of the box
  • Focus on data security as more data becomes publicly accessible
  • Always be a student of the industry. Leverage vendor relationships to stay abreast of emerging technology and pitfalls

“It is imperative that the public have confidence in the IT employed by government agencies especially when the public is the customer of the IT services.”