Imagine being CIO of a city of 200,000 people. Now imagine that city's demographics change every day, there is never downtime and the technology that keeps the city running hasn't been upgraded in 20 years. That's the situation Dominic Nessi faced when, in 2006, he was named CIO of Los Angeles World Airports, the organization that oversees LAX and three other Southern California airports. Nessi's job now is to take on almost every conceivable IT project at once.

Video: CIO Dominic Nessi and his staff take us behind the scenes of the IT that runs LAX and discuss their plans to overhaul it.

"We don't have any choice but to upgrade this airport, and very quickly," Nessi said. "A lot of CIOs face this situation. What do you do when you have to bring your standards and your environment up almost immediately?" For almost 25 years, IT investment has lagged as the rest of the airport modernized. Nessi wants to avoid this going forward. "We have a $10 billion to $12 billion capital construction program at LAX over the next five to seven years. If IT doesn't come along with it, the airport won't get that accomplished."

Nessi and his staff are laying new fiber throughout the airport, building a new wing of the international terminal and moving into a new data center.

"It's everything -- the underlying infrastructure of the airport, conduit, cables, telecom rooms, data centers," Nessi said. "The basic level of the infrastructure is antiquated. Our challenge today, as the airport moves forward on a very aggressive capital improvement project, is to not only make up for the last 15, 20 years in IT but to move it forward quickly in lockstep with the rest of the airport."

Nessi credits LAX's executive leadership for giving him the go-ahead and support, and his staff, which he said is eager to tackle this enormous challenge.

 

Chad Vander Veen  |  Editor, FutureStructure

Chad Vander Veen is the editor of FutureStructure.com