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Lack of ITIL and Automation Remain Public-Sector Challenges

TeamDynamix March 2024.jpg

A study found public-sector IT struggles with automation and ITIL. Learn how to tackle these challenges and gain insights into what other public-sector IT leaders are doing to solve these problems.

Despite the push toward digital transformation, a 2024 survey on IT trends in the public sector shows many government IT operations still rely on manual processes to manage and support their applications and technology infrastructure.

The top takeaways from the survey show:

  • Government IT teams manage and support more applications than ever before.
  • Manual processes magnify IT staffing and workload challenges.
  • Agencies plan to increase adoption or automation, self-service portals and ITIL.

Unsurprisingly, the top service management challenges include staffing constraints (43 percent), budget constraints (37 percent), aging infrastructure or systems (31 percent), lack of automation (28 percent) and maintaining cybersecurity standards (25 percent).


While the number of full-time IT staff members varied among survey respondents, the results show that local governments often rely on lean IT teams. More than half (56 percent) of city respondents and 41 percent of county respondents said their organization has 10 or fewer full-time IT employees.

Those lean IT teams are struggling as the growing adoption of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications increases IT workloads and complexity. According to the survey, 49 percent of respondents said their organization manages 51 or more applications and services, while 1 in 10 (11 percent) manages more than 300 applications.

“A decade ago, a government was more likely to manage about 10 applications,” CDG* Senior Fellow William Rials, a former government CIO, CTO and CISO who is now a professor and associate director of the IT and cybersecurity program at Tulane University’s School of Professional Advancement, said in the report.

“With the advent of specialized, cloud-based tools, it’s easier to acquire applications as a service, and there are lower hurdles to deploying them,” Rials said. The extent of management needed for cloud-based solutions varies, but internal IT teams remain the first line of support.


As highlighted in the survey, a lack of automation in the public sector is exacerbating the staffing and workload challenges. When asked to rank the tasks that require the most manual effort and staff time, the top 5 were:

  • Ticket triage, routing and follow-up
  • Change management/project tasks
  • System administration
  • Onboarding/offboarding employees
  • Creating integrations to other systems

To address this challenge, many organizations (58 percent) are either adopting automated workflow processes now or plan to in the next 12 to 18 months.

One of the easiest ways to introduce automation is by investing in an IT Service Management (ITSM) tool with automation and integration capabilities.

At Pima County, one of the goals of bringing on TeamDynamix for ITSM and iPaaS (integration platform as a service) is to reduce toil.

Pima County made the switch to TeamDynamix after using a different system for the last 10 years. Traditionally, the county has taken in tickets through email, phone and a service catalog with base-level triage, but with TeamDynamix in place, they will be able to leverage self-service and automation to better serve its citizens and reduce the drain on employees and resources.

“Prior to TeamDynamix, we didn’t have the ability to automate things and build workflows to do things that eliminate toil and redundancy for our employees,” Mark Hayes, then-information technology leader at Pima County, said.

The county is planning to use TeamDynamix to automate offboarding — a process that will save countless hours, according to Hayes.

“As a government organization we get audited by the state every year and they want to know what these stale accounts are doing sitting here,” Hayes said. “Offboarding is currently a very manual process — having to review the list from HR of people who are no longer employed with us and manually revoking their privileges from all the different systems and software and disabling their accounts. There’s absolutely no reason for that to not be automated. iPaaS is going to help us a lot with this and save us time.”


One of the biggest surprises of the survey was that only 38 percent of respondents said they have adopted or are in the process of adopting the ITIL framework while 26 percent are in the process of adopting ITIL now and an alarming 28 percent said they have no plans to adopt ITIL.

ITIL stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library and describes the processes, procedures, tasks and checklists that can be applied by an organization as part of an overall IT strategy.

Despite low ITIL adoption rates, many respondents said their agency has fully implemented critical IT service functions including event/incident response, project management, change management, integration with enterprise systems, self-service portals and software asset management. That can cause challenges, said Rials, because these functions work best when following ITIL best practices.

“You can’t do these things well if you don’t have a mature ITIL process in place,” Rials said. “Without ITIL, organizations may be doing tactical things without a strategy. It becomes a hodgepodge of solutions.”

The city of Goodyear recently switched to TeamDynamix for ITSM to address their lack of ITIL maturity and growing workloads.

“It’s one thing to say we’re overworked — and it’s another to be able to illustrate this with concrete data,” said Lisa Faison, deputy CIO for the city of Goodyear, Ariz., municipal government.

A few years ago, the city of Goodyear didn’t have any way to track the status of IT projects. The city government had a ticketing system for managing the delivery of IT services, but this system was very limited in what it could do and what information it could provide.

“We wanted to increase the maturity of our IT operations by moving to ITIL processes,” Faison said.

This meant bringing the oversight of IT services and projects together under a single platform for IT Service Management and Project Portfolio Management (PPM) to give leaders a holistic view of the work employees were doing. What’s more, the platform had to allow for simple configuration and automation of IT processes, without a lot of coding or administration needed on the back end.

On the IT service side, using TeamDynamix has allowed the city to set up a service catalog and a self-service portal that routs tickets to the correct staff members for fulfillment automatically, reducing the number of times that service tickets bounce around from one person to another. This has helped speed up incident response times significantly.

“We did a training roadshow,” Faison said, whereby IT staff met with various departments and showed them how to use the self-service portal. They also handed out pens with the link to the portal etched on the side. This internal marketing campaign has contributed to widespread adoption, with about three-fourths of service requests now being submitted through the portal — and this is leading to faster resolution for employees.

On the project side, TeamDynamix gives the city’s IT department a simple way to evaluate, approve and manage projects of all sizes. “It helps us evaluate whether we can take on new projects based on the people we have available,” said Remi Nunez, senior IT project manager. This has been critical for reducing resource drain.

To read the full report, check out: 2024 Outlook for Trends in IT Service Management

*Note: The Center for Digital Government is part of e.Republic, Government Technology's parent company.