New York City IT Review Spurs Data Center Consolidation Plan

New York City IT Commissioner Carole Wallace Post develops strategy that will lead to data center consolidation, stronger shared services and other improvements.

by / March 1, 2010

New York City IT Commissioner Carole Wallace Post is wasting little time putting her stamp on the Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications (DoITT) and the city's technology operations.

Along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor for Operations Edward Skyler, Post announced Monday, March 1, a comprehensive overhaul of the city's IT services and infrastructure that includes a commitment to data center consolidation, more robust shared services and other improvements.

The 30-day review, prompted by Bloomberg in December 2009 when Post was named commissioner, aims to save New York City up to $100 million over five years.

"I think what struck me about [the report] was the breadth and depth of the functions of the agency, and how diverse and complex the agency is and has been," Post told Government Technology on Monday. The report identifies ways to streamline the DoITT's responsibilities so that it allows the agency to focus on core competencies, she said.

One such competency -- data center consolidation -- is part of the newly announced Citywide IT Infrastructure Services program (CITIServ), which will develop a shared services infrastructure with the intent of improving upon DoITT's existing offerings for e-mail, help desk, storage, virtualization and network services. In the past, DoITT has offered those services on an as-needed basis. "We're going to formalize that and take almost everything -- I think there will be some outliers where it doesn't make sense or the timing hasn't aligned -- but the idea is we would achieve centralized delivery of those core services," Post said.

Consolidation will improve IT security, customer service and responsiveness, she said, and promote cost savings and cost avoidance, as well as contribute to the mayor's initiative to green the city.

Currently DoITT operates four main data centers, and is in the planning stages for a fifth that would be located in downtown Brooklyn. Together, these data centers host 400 applications for 90 city agencies, according to the 30-day report. On top of that, there are more than 50 data centers spread across another four dozen city entities.

DoITT will move incrementally in order to achieve small and large steps, Post said, beginning this year with some migrations of individual agencies.

Mike Bimonte, deputy commissioner for IT operations and service delivery, said DoITT is now working on detailed service-level agreements with partnering agencies, with input from an interagency Operations Governance Council.

Post said it's too soon to tell if and how the consolidation plan will affect staff levels and roles. She said existing staff are being deployed for CITIServ, with additional expertise coming from partnering agencies and private-sector IT services.

As part of the plan, DoITT will form a new Office of Telecommunications and Broadband Policy that will implement those policies in New York City, and management and oversight of the city's 311 customer service center and 311 Online will be moved to the Mayor's Office of Operations, while DoITT will continue to work on the technology-focused services of 311. DoITT wil also initiate a vendor management program to help ensure they are held accountable for contracts, among other several other new initiatives.

Post said a second version of this report, which will identify further steps for IT efficiency, is due in June.



Matt Williams Associate Editor
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