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The Download - December 2014

Project Management

Program Management Office: A Look Ahead

By Jason Sankey, Program Manager

As 2014 comes to a close, we take a closer look at several year-end accomplishments while remaining focused on the year ahead.

  • Implementation of OnBase Enterprise
  • Completion of CSEA workflow solution – Phase I
  • Formalization of Demand Management
  • Endowment of process improvement grant through LeanOhio
  • Completion of 87 Agency projects
  • Completion of 278 procurements
  • Closure of over 13,000 incident tickets
  • Completion of Windows XP migration by mandated deadline
  • Assistance provided to FCCS (Exchange, Win 7)
  • Expansion of agency support (5 agencies)
  • Introduction of a new service delivery model
  • Enhancement of collaboration (IT Leadership Forum)
  • Improvement in communication (Everbridge, e-Newsletter, etc.)
  • Expansion of Video production
  • Onboarding of MUNIS
  • Certification of 23 employees
  • Completion of Network Reliability and Redundancy
  • Migration of Strawberry Farms to WeConnect
  • Enhancement of Digital Security

Technology Presentation

The Data Center remains committed to delivering value. Unfortunately, our message year after year typically has been that we do not have sufficient resources to satisfy the demand of our agencies. This is a difficult message to deliver, as demand is great; not being able to accomplish those requests puts county agencies at a disadvantage. In order to address these concerns, the Program Management Office took a proactive approach during the 2015 budget planning exercise with our agencies. We have identified the resources needed to operate the Data Center and fulfill the requirements of our partner agencies, and we have included in our own budget a request for staff to support this continually increasing pressure for our services and support. The growth of technology over the past five years is unlike any other time in history. From mobile devices to cloud-based computing to managing and securing data, all government organizations need to take a proactive approach to investing in technology in order to reduce exposure, cost, and risk.

The Data Center is cautiously optimistic about our opportunities as we prepare for the challenges we will encounter in 2015. From Disaster Recovery to growing enterprise solutions, our focus will remain on improving efficiencies, creating a sound technology infrastructure, and providing excellent customer service.

We will kick off the year strong with a LeanOhio event focused on improving our overall service model as an organization. With the assistance of a Lean Six Sigma coach, we will have an opportunity to map our processes, pinpoint inefficiencies, identify areas of improvement, and then implement industry-recognized tools and techniques to improve effectiveness. We are inviting agencies to participate in this initiative, as we feel it will be a good countywide experience and a beneficial collaborative effort.

With the continued support of our agencies, we are confident we will continue to align to the rapidly growing technological field to provide value-added service to the many agencies, offices, and boards that serve the citizens of Franklin County.

Striving To Be The Perfect Host

By Tasha Hyler, Project Coordinator

As internet usage has increased, along with the boom of mobile devices, the growing need for readiness of information, eServices, and heightened security on the Franklin County websites has become critical. The Data Center hosts over 50 websites and countless applications to help our agencies communicate with the citizens of Franklin County, as well as with each other. In our continued dedication to providing quality performance, and to address the constant changes in technology, we are moving forward with a project that will result in a new environment to host our websites and applications. This environment will offer not only more stability through our new virtual server UCS platform, but also an upgrade to our SQL Server and ColdFusion services. It will provide load balance technology to ensure high availability in our production environment as well.

Now that we have a plan, we need to execute!

Agency website owners are going to be contacted soon regarding a scheduled time to migrate their websites and applications. During the migration period, we are going to rely greatly on our agency partners to test their websites in the new environment. This is a critical step in the process to ensure that, when we push the "go" button, our citizens will not have a disruption in service.

The web rearchitecture project is a grand endeavor; once complete, it will provide the highly available hosting service which you, our partners and customers, expect. Giving peace of mind that your websites and applications are going to be available at those most critical times is a top priority to the Data Center. We look forward to sharing this success with you!

Tech Corner

Data Center Initiatives

In the above video, CIO Ishreth Sameem reviews the progress the Data Center has made toward its primary objectives, including modernization, increased service levels, sustainability, and successful project delivery. He also highlights the initiatives that will serve as the main focus for the Data Center in 2015: Redundancy and High Availability; Digital Security; Disaster Recovery; and Migration of Legacy Systems.

Team Dynamics

Windows 7 Upgrade

By Shirley Stephens, Business Services Manager

On September 25 of this year, Franklin County Children Services (FCCS) contacted the Data Center (FCDC) to seek assistance with their Windows 7 upgrade. The Attorney General had given the agency a firm deadline of November 14, 2014 to migrate from Windows XP. As a result of this directive, both FCCS and FCDC staff met immediately and formulated a plan to ensure success.

The following Monday, the teams partnered to evaluate the situation and kicked off a project. With only six weeks to accomplish the goal, collaboration was essential. It began immediately with the administrative teams working to approve the project charter, determine necessary purchases, verify software licenses, and establish resource allocations. Having just gone through the XP upgrade with other county agencies, the Data Center leveraged lessons learned to bring their “A Game” to this task. The technical teams worked together to identify the necessary software packages, and, with the deployment approaching, staff members worked in shifts around the clock. As progress continued, several road blocks and challenges were encountered; however, once again collaboration proved to be our best tool.

We are very excited to report that 948 FCCS workstations and 145 laptops were upgraded to Windows 7, with all additional software included that was required for staff to continue operations. Furthermore, the November 14, 2014 deadline was met with minimal impact to FCCS business processes. For continued success, the Data Center is organizing a knowledge transfer session with the IT staff at Children Services, as well as providing them with an installation package that can be used to set up any hardware in the future. We would like to offer a BIG thanks to all the team members involved, as well as FCCS staff who supported the team and demonstrated patience throughout the project.

Did You Know...

Top States in Technology

By David E. Smalley II, Development Manager

Technology Presentation

Every two years, the Center for Digital Government conducts a national survey to grade state governments based on their technological achievements. Each state is assessed on the technologies that have been implemented to serve state government, IT improvements that have been made over the past two years, and the enhancement of internal processes to serve the state’s residents, as well as other government agencies. The survey analyzes best practices and policies, evaluates streamlined operations, and determines the overall progress the state has made in the field of technology.

The survey is conducted from April to June every other year. The results are announced at the National Association of State CIOs conference several months later.

In 2014, only 8 states received an “A” range ranking – Ohio being one of them. Furthermore, Ohio ranked higher than California, Texas, New York, and Washington, which are considered to be worldwide technology leaders.

Per Janet Grenslitt in the Government Technology article “Digital States Survey 2014 Results,” an “A” grade indicates the following:

  • The technology is “trending sharply up”
  • These states “show results across all survey categories”
  • “Modernization is used to realize operational efficiencies and strategic priorities”
  • “There is evidence of meaningful collaboration, and performance measures and metrics are widely adopted”

As commented upon by Colin Wood in the Government Technology article “Which States Have the Best Technology?,” Ohio’s ranking is influenced by the following characteristics and initiatives:

  • “Innovative thinking”
  • “Improving how government does business”
  • “Optimization strategy”
  • “Shared services”
  • “Private cloud expansion”
  • “Enterprise shared solutions”
  • “Online government services”

Ohio’s ranking symbolizes a great achievement in government technology. For the past two years, moreover, the Data Center has been deeply engaged in the same projects and processes that earned Ohio its high grade. We continually strive to provide our partner agencies and the citizens they serve with high quality, reliable service, and we are embracing the technologies and initiatives that make government IT effective and beneficial.

Information for this article was gathered from the following sources:

Grenslitt, Janet. “Digital States Survey 2014 Results.” Government Technology. September 2, 2014. http://www.govtech.com/cdg/digital-states/Digital-States-Survey-2014-Results.html.

Wood, Colin. “Which States Have the Best Technology?” Government Technology. September 2, 2014. http://www.govtech.com/state/Digital-States-2014.html.