February 25, 2011 By Sarah Rich
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced Tuesday, Feb. 22, that his administration plans to implement 23 new technology initiatives to be carried out within the next six to 18 months.
Due to the nation’s weak economic climate, the county designed the initiatives as a fast-tracked solution to reduce costs and improve efficiency. The initiatives span the county government and include tasks such as automating work processes for faster turnaround times, improving information sharing and increasing public access to information, according to Baltimore County.
“We delved into agency workflows and came up with ways to take advantage of technology to streamline our processes, reduce duplication of effort and provide instant access to information among related departments,” Kamenetz said in a statement.
Before Kamenetz took office in 2010, he tasked the county’s IT director Rob Stradling to partner with the Office of Budget and Finance to review county government operations that could be improved through effective use of technology. Stradling said a major goal before implementing most of the initiatives was to find cost savings within the various county agencies, so he and the office reviewed how the county could reduce costs.
The county spent $5 million to implement the 23 initiatives, but to acquire that money, the county had to re-evaluate its existing IT projects, Stradling said. The county originally had $3 million allocated to projects unrelated to the new initiatives, but brought them to a halt to provide money for those initiatives. IT projects that are not a part of the 23 initiatives will likeliest be curtailed for at least a year.
But the county anticipates a return on investment for some of its new initiatives, such as the enterprise learning management system and virtual desktop infrastructure within their first year of implementation.
The county purchased an enterprise learning management system, which will eliminate some of the remote training police officers must do annually. Although the application cost $500,000, the county will realize savings of $500,000 per year with the application and will see a return on investment this year.
However, incorporating 23 new projects into the county’s IT strategy won’t be an easy feat, Stradling said. The county plans to take an aggressive approach to completing the projects, but is prepared for speed bumps along the way.
“We basically are setting up some ‘red flag’ mechanisms as these [initiatives] are moving forward, making sure we understand when they start having issues so that we can get on them and correct them right away,” Stradling said. “So these are very actively being managed.”
While some of the initiatives have already been implemented, most are scheduled to be carried out within the next six to 18 months. Read Baltimore County’s 23 technology initiatives.
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