Don't Miss Opportunities to Enhance Your IT Operations' Efficiency

Your IT operations may run like a well-oiled machine, but no matter how highly tuned the infrastructure, there are often additional opportunities for optimization.

With such a great focus on doing more with less (less money, less staff, in less time), state and local governments are working to coax ever greater efficiencies out of people, processes and technologies.

Our feature package, “Focus on Efficient Government,” highlights three strategies that public-sector organizations can embrace to reduce costs and boost productivity: collaboration, energy efficiency and server consolidation.

In “Calling Costs”, you’ll find examples of unified communications deployments that enable agencies to reduce telecom spending while improving services.

When the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s PBX was no longer supported, the agency migrated to a Cisco Unified Communications Manager platform. Jim Lewis, manager of enterprise infrastructure, estimates the agency will save $133,000 in telecom costs next year. And then there are the productivity benefits: Workers can route their calls as needed, and answer and redirect calls from their PCs.

The Employees’ Retirement System of Georgia also opted for UC to better equip its contact center. The agency, which fields 350 to 400 calls per day from members, deployed UC with help from CDW•G. Contact center staff can now quickly and easily modify call routing rules to address changing needs, and managers gain full visibility into key performance metrics, reports Eddie Ray, IT operations manager for the system.

Another important metric is power consumption. The city of North Chicago deployed a new UPS and server rack with in-row cooling to boost energy efficiency in its data center. Like North Chicago, other states and municipalities have implemented measures such as intelligent power management, hot aisle/cold aisle containment and power-down features. For more details, turn to “Absolute Power."

Finally, server virtualization enables organizations to consolidate hardware, reduce energy consumption, and improve reliability and continuity of operations. By rolling out VMware vSphere virtualization software and blade servers, Paulding County, Ga., was able to reduce its energy usage by more than 50 percent, according to Will Lyons, technology director for the county. What’s more, virtualization eases administration, notes IT ­Manager Erin McDowell. “It’s a huge time savings as far as managing the servers,” he says. Learn how Northbrook, Ill., and other communities also benefit from virtualization in “Lean, Mean, Computing Machine."

Website Facelift

By now you might have noticed that the StateTech website has received an upgrade of its own. The newly redesigned site makes our content much easier to find. Readers can search for an article one of two ways — either by story type (case studies, tactical advice or resources) or thematically by technology (infrastructure optimization, security and so forth). Choose an article, and you’ll also see related stories.

Readers can also find articles specific to their state to learn more about how their state and local government is optimizing IT. The state pages also include information about the CIO and IT department for each state.

The site offers increased interactivity through integration with the major social media sites: Facebook, Twitter and Google +. Stories can easily be shared on those sites with just a single click.

We’re excited about the redesign because it improves the usefulness of StateTech for our readers. Tell us what you think.

Oct 20 2011