A state technology authority lowers risk and realizes greater efficiency

The state anticipates significant savings through IT privatization with help from IBM

Published on 07-Oct-2013

"We’re in a much better position today than ever before. We’re laying a solid foundation for the future as we continue to drive continuous improvement in our projects and initiatives programs." - Chief operating officer, a state technology authority

Customer:
A state technology

Industry:
Government, Travel & Transportation

Overview

From metropolitan to mountainous terrain, landmarks to legends, national treasures to nouveau cuisine, each of the United States is a diverse blend of history, variety and cultures. Although each state in the union offers public services to its citizens, the types of services and the structure of the agencies that deliver those services are as varied as the size and features of each state. Citizens of this densely populated state rely on the executive branch agencies and a network of more than 1,400 state and local entities to provide an array of public services.

Business need:
A state-run technology authority sought an IT infrastructure solution to provide greater transparency across state agencies, reduce risk, improve operations and enhance citizen service capabilities.

Solution:
IBM® Global Technology Services® consolidates the state agencies’ systems, storage and support services, creating a more efficient, security-rich, standards-based IT infrastructure environment.

Benefits:
The state lowers risk, attains cost savings and enhances citizen services delivery through a standards-based transformation of its IT operations, systems security and disaster recovery capabilities.

Case Study

From metropolitan to mountainous terrain, landmarks to legends, national treasures to nouveau cuisine, each of the United States is a diverse blend of history, variety and cultures. Although each state in the union offers public services to its citizens, the types of services and the structure of the agencies that deliver those services are as varied as the size and features of each state. Citizens of this densely populated state rely on the executive branch agencies and a network of more than 1,400 state and local entities to provide an array of public services.

System silos hinder security and collaboration

Historically each state agency tailored its processes and technology procurement to meet its own individual requirements. The decentralized approach resulted in a plethora of disparate, redundant IT hardware and systems solutions that lacked the capability to share data or excess computing power or to communicate effectively between other state agencies. Additionally, there were no standards in place to assure that independently procured hardware was consistently maintained and protected against malware and intrusions, posing potential data and system security risks for the state.

In 2007, the state established a technology authority to govern and direct the delivery of IT infrastructure services and managed network services to its agencies and local government entities. To fully understand the condition of its IT and networking infrastructure, the state commissioned an independent, third-party assessment. The study revealed numerous security-related deficiencies, including the need for a systemwide disaster recovery plan. The technology authority’s chief operating officer explained: “[The independent, third-party study showed that] we lacked processes based on industry best practices. A public-private partnership solution was recommended.” In 2009 the organization transitioned its IT infrastructure services to IBM Global Technology Services and its managed network services to AT&T. The inaugural IBM contract encompassed the management of the state’s IT infrastructure: mainframes and midrange servers; storage; service desk; desktop computing; security; and disaster recovery services for executive branch agencies.

Standards-based, centralized governance transforms IT environment

After comprehensive IT systems and process analyses, including buy-in from agency commissioners, the Global Technology Services teams formulated a multiphase transformation and management strategy. IBM addressed the technology authority’s business needs and requirements for operations efficiency, risk reduction, security and disaster recovery with a plan aligned with Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) service management standards. Global Technology Services teams standardized and consolidated several areas of redundancy and risk exposure. IBM contracts with Dell Services to support the various agency’s users’ services needs. The team implemented a multivendor PC environment to replace aged and end-of-life hardware. To help maintain a security-rich PC environment, the end user services team fully manages hardware refresh schedules, software distribution, patch management, remote control, and antivirus and license management including field service to remote sites throughout the state when needed. Former agency-specific help desks were merged into a single service desk location within the state and staffed by agents using modern CRM tools for consistent support of more than 40,000 users. The migration of multiple stand-alone email programs and more than 41,000 email accounts to a single Microsoft Enterprise Exchange environment resulted in the standardization of email communications capabilities within the state agencies. The consolidated hardware and intra-agency communications environment help improve productivity and the delivery of public services to citizens.

Another significant risk reduction component of the IBM-managed transformation was the consolidation of multiple agency-specific data centers into the state’s security-rich Tier 4 data center. IBM server and storage management teams standardized the state’s systems environment to maximize computing capacity, accelerate virtualization, and facilitate facility and system security. To help further protect its systems and operations, the IBM Business Continuity and Resiliency Services site located in Boulder, Colorado, provides the technology authority with disaster recovery capabilities and an added ability to provide agency services in the event of a catastrophic outage.

Transformation translates into savings, security and efficiencies

The technology authority’s transformation process, on target to generate more than USD180 million in savings, produced a series of positive results for its customers. Employee productivity improves through the use of up-to-date, standardized hardware with security-rich anti-virus, malware protection and encryption capabilities. “Refreshing end-user computers across the state has been very successful,” noted the chief operating officer. “It has allowed folks that had computers that were very outdated to have technology that’s actually able to meet their business needs.”

A single email system, consolidated from 23 individual systems, is designed to help users seamlessly communicate from agency to agency and device to device. Furthermore, the consolidation of 21 help desks to a single service desk available 24 hours a day, every day, provides an expanded level of IT and network support. The migration from multiple data center sites to a single security-rich Tier 4 data center streamlines systems management and facilitates the consolidation and sharing of servers and storage capacity. The implementation of virtualization and the decommissioning of end-of-life hardware and software, including 480 print servers, decrease the amount of hardware the technology authority requires, in turn shrinking the floor space and energy and cooling expense incurred by the state. The state’s agencies also gain a new level of IT expense visibility and predictability. The new shared services environment’s chargeback model allows agencies to use the services needed and pay only for the services consumed, similar to utility-based services.

Above all, the transformation process facilitates a security-rich environment for the agencies’ systems and sensitive data, addressing the protection and precautions demanded by state and federal regulations. The technology authority is especially pleased with its business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities. “Obviously, we wanted to contain costs through the contract, but our main objective was to reduce risk to the state,” the chief operating officer remarked. “We’re in a much better position today than ever before. We’re laying a solid foundation for the future as we continue to drive continuous improvement in our projects and initiatives programs.”

Though significantly improved through the privatization agreement, the technology authority’s environment continues to evolve, adding new customers and capabilities. The chief operating officer reflects on his nearly 30 years of IT experience: “I’ve concluded that there is no such thing as ‘steady state.’ You’re always changing. You’re either moving forward or backward. Through the relationship forged with IBM, I believe that we’re going to continue to move the ball forward.”

For more information

To learn more about IBM infrastructure design and strategy services, please contact your IBM marketing representative or visit the following website: ibm.com/services

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Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Service:
GTS Integrated Technology Services, IBM Storage Services

Legal Information

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