Leaving a Legacy

By Eileen Feretic Print this article Print

Carole Post, CIO of New York City, has one of the toughest IT jobs in the world. Undaunted by the challenge, she has developed a technology road map to move the city forward.

Leaving a Legacy

Another major DoITT initiative revolves around legacy systems. When former CIO Cosgrave was interviewed last December, he reported that the city “had a lot of growth of non-mainframe hardware over the last 10 years, but the heart of computer processing in the city is the mainframe. The issue is that we’ve got every database management system known to man running on the mainframes, and we need to consolidate them. That’s the only way we’re going to make substantial cost reductions.”

The city agencies will have to make these decisions, since they own the applications. They have to decide whether they want to switch from one mainframe to another mainframe environment, or take the opportunity to rewrite the application to run on a lower-cost platform. That decision has to be made for each application.

“Our primary data center grew by having one of everything,” Bimonte added. “Give us your tired, your weak and your broken down, and we’ll take care of it. That worked initially, but in order to realize the full benefits and cost savings of consolidation, we need to build a clean, green, standard architecture.”

But that doesn’t mean there will be just one platform. The data centers will encompass mainframe and Wintel technology, as well as some combination of Linux. Within each platform, it will get down to the level of which hardware, database management system, storage and software will be used.

Cutting Costs, Not Service

DoITT will also provide the city agencies with an enhanced online self-service request catalog enabling them to go online and choose a technology service. That service launches a form, which is prepopulated based on the questions the agency representative asks, and then generates a request-for-service ticket in the city’s BMC Remedy IT Service Management system. The user will get an e-mail with a ticket number, so he or she can track the progress of the request through its life cycle, and will get another e-mail when the request has been fulfilled by the service desk.

“We’ve implemented service desk, change management, problem, incident and asset management,” Bimonte explained. “Now we’re moving to full asset life cycle management, and configuration and patch management.”

The results are impressive. “Since we started, we’ve reduced our cost per service call from $42 or $43 down to between $10 and $11,” he said.

“We built in a lot of automation and integrated many of our point products and our monitoring with the Remedy tool,” Bimonte added. “Monitoring is based on rules we’ve written, and that automatically generates tickets. Based on the criticality of a particular ticket, the system automatically routes it to a first-, second- or third-level engineer for troubleshooting. So we’ve been able to reduce reassignments of customer queries by 80 percent to 90 percent.

“The system enabled us to build a 24/7 citywide service desk, which is used by almost all the agencies. We’re now in the process of rolling it out to the rest of the agencies in a consolidated fashion.”

Despite budget cuts of between 25 percent and 30 percent over the last three years, the service desk has been able to increase the number of user contacts it handles from around 4,000 up to 16,000 a month. “Yet, we’ve reduced our mean time to repair by 300 percent, due to the automation and advanced routing of the tools we’re using,” Bimonte said. “That’s a huge cost saving.”

When any problems do crop up, DoITT handles them quickly and efficiently. For example, the department constantly monitors the network, and if a component starts to act up, it can be dealt with long before it fails. This enables DoITT to provide much better overall service to the agencies.

This article was originally published on 2010-04-08
Eileen Feretic is the Editor of Baseline Magazine.
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