ITLA XVIII

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Research

Introduction

The Information Technology Leadership Academy (ITLA) XVIII conducted over 25 formal interviews and 14 surveys, covering a range of state agencies and departments. The consolidation efforts of 10 states as well as federal and private entities were researched. The brains of ICP champions and key California Technology Agency (Technology Agency) executives were tapped into as well as state staff and managers directly involved in the consolidation efforts of their respective organizations.

Across the board it was discovered, as challenging as the technical aspects of consolidation can be, most departments are good at the technical transformation. It’s the human aspect of successfully implementing change that is the challenge.

ITLA XVIII’s vision is to provide information to help state agencies and departments with their planning efforts, regardless of their size or complexity, which ICP they are working on, or where they are in their consolidation effort.

The State of California has over 100 agencies, departments, boards, and commissions each at their own stage of consolidation. There are commonalities however; one size will not fit all when developing consolidation plans.

Therefore, presented in this section is a summary of the surveys, interviews, and research. The data represents more than just information on how consolidation impacts staff therefore care was taken to package it into a comprehensive format for ease of use.
This section provides suggestions, alternatives, opportunities, and lessons learned on how to connect people, data, and systems using a consolidated infrastructure.

The responses have been grouped into six categories


Survey, Interview, Research Results and Findings - Organization

The following are the results of interviews, surveys, private and public research and summarize the thoughts, comments, experiences, and ideas of those surveyed:

Organization

  • To be successful, organizational leadership, communication and planning are needed.
  • Directors and secretaries must commit and choose consolidation for the right reason, if it makes sense, make it part of their daily operations.
  • Change the mind-set of not wanting to lose positions from their organizations.
  • There is an understanding of the long term benefits of consolidation, but there is worry about the lack of control, timeliness and consistency of service and how prioritization will occur amongst all departments.
  • The State needs to establish high standards and require that all agencies adhere to them (i.e. windows certified system/network engineers, internal vs. external facing apps, as well as any unique apps).
  • Do not force or mandate timeframes to consolidate. Allow legacy technology to be moved over when they reach end of life or are replaced through projects.
  • Keep consolidation efforts at their best by allowing the choice of a private and public data center to provide competition to drive excellence in product, delivery, service and pricing.
  • OTech must take deliberate and logical steps to change their reputation and follow-through.
  • Used a phased approach for migration.

For specific information on each statement please see:

  • State Research
  • Survey Results
  • Interviews

Survey, Interview, Research Results and Findings - Process

The following are the results of interviews, surveys, private and public research and summarize the thoughts, comments, experiences, and ideas of those surveyed:

Process

  • Define architecture and processes requiring new projects to follow the standards which will prevent projects and vendors from dictating conditions or solutions to the State.
  • Must have exceptional communication lines between OTech and departments when critical business functions are impacted – program funds IT and they have immediate expectations that must be met when support moves to OTech.
  • Each department has their own way of managing, which may be different from OTech. These differences must be appropriately managed.
  • Departments can benefit from increased staff in server, storage, and engineering areas because of customer expectation for consistent, around-the-clock service.
  • Used “Triangle model” for shared services.
  • OTech has not recognized the need for blended rates. They should not charge one rate for one thing and a different rate for something else.
  • Provide and sign Service Level Agreements (SLA) and Operational Level Agreements (OLA).
  • Share problems and best practices identified by departments going through consolidation now.

For specific information on each statement please see:

  • State Research
  • Survey Results
  • Interviews

Survey, Interview, Research Results and Findings - People

The following are the results of interviews, surveys, private and public research and summarize the thoughts, comments, experiences, and ideas of those surveyed:

People

  • Employees must have a voice in the process.
  • Most SQL, mainframe and business analysts stayed in programs. Not sure what ICP will do to other apps.
  • OTech needs to bring in the best staff from agencies/departments.
  • In small departments, programmers wear multiple hats and are well rounded, but their highest level does not match top Systems Software Specialist (SSS) level. There is concern over what happens to staff from downsizing.
  • Retain staff to support application languages such as Adabas, Natural, Filemaker, Foxpro until they reach end of life.
  • Anticipate and plan for needs of GenY – our future workforce wants a faster paced work environment and might have different motivators for success.
  • Mutual aid – informally loan/borrow staff or formalize with interagency agreements.
  • Statewide IT talent pool for better resourcing.
  • Re-think HR – speed up reclassification process, MQs for impacted staff that are being repurposed or retooled.
  • Too many managers and not enough staff to do consolidation work.
  • Staff accepts ICPs because of Executive Order and it’s mandated. Staff are concerned about keeping their service level to their customers once it moves to OTech.
  • Staff want to know how ICP’s will work. Is it realistic? What happens to my job? They are curious but hesitant.
  • Executives are moving on ICPs. Middle management playing the wait and see game. Staff isn’t getting the details.
  • Communicate multiple times in multiple ways in multiple locations.
  • Created a “Re-direction Team” to establish HR awareness and retraining.
  • Even with consolidation, business areas will still need to retain local IT staff to address immediate technical needs.
  • Re-invent and assign an in-house DGS and DOF rep to each agency to work side-by-side.
  • Consolidation impacts on staff were felt from “emotionally and physically moving to new locations, positions, and possibilities”.
  • Each agency submitted DIR (Department of Information Resources) Data Collection Headcount spreadsheet listing all IT positions and work-time allocations.

For specific information on each statement please see:

  • State Research
  • Survey Results
  • Interviews

Survey, Interview, Research Results and Findings - Training

The following are the results of interviews, surveys, private and public research and summarize the thoughts, comments, experiences, and ideas of those surveyed:

Training

  • Consolidate training at State level to take advantage of economies of scale.
  • Identify statewide standards (i.e. Microsoft products) to drive training.
  • Need self-sustaining training that does not rely on operating expenses and expenditures (OE&E).
  • Hire retired annuitants to develop and deliver training.
  • Mutual aid, mentoring, online tutorials, white papers – make them easily accessible to IT staff.
  • Easier, faster path for IT admin and business analysts – can grow talent.
  • Major challenge – older or seasoned staff are more methodical and newbies work on the fly. New software promotes lots of iterations vs. thought-out planning.
  • Once staff agrees to be repurposed, give staff a designated timeframe (one year) to retrain and learn their new position and responsibilities.
  • Use HALO IT/Business to access unlimited online classes which allow monitoring of staff time spent.
  • Mimic Raley’s success with repurposing legacy programmers.
  • Leverage the Mainframe University as a learning tool.
  • Partner with ICP staff, act as mentors, and provide resources and project management.

For specific information on each statement please see:

  • State Research
  • Survey Results
  • Interviews

Survey, Interview, Research Results and Findings - Challenges

The following are the results of interviews, surveys, private and public research and summarize the thoughts, comments, experiences, and ideas of those surveyed:

Challenges

  • A strong champion is needed for each ICP area within an organization.
  • Trying to tackle all six ICP areas at one time may be too much for a department; perhaps focus on only two or three at a time.
  • Many Departments are too preoccupied with budget concerns to think about ICP involvement.
  • Some organizations don’t see a benefit and cost savings to Green IT initiatives, especially if they do not own their facility.
  • Many ICP transitions have upfront costs, with benefits/cost savings only in the long term.
  • The worth of inter-Departmental SLAs is in question, as many don’t have any penalties for SLA violation.
  • Smaller departments are waiting to see how larger departments deal with consolidation.
  • Be aware of WAN circuit termination fees when migrating from CSGNet to CGEN – there is a charge for terminating a circuit and an additional charge for establishing a new circuit.
  • Ensure ICP technology and decisions are compliant with IRS rules.
  • There is some level of mis-classification of IT staff in business classifications.
  • Prioritization of service to the various consolidated departments and agencies needs to be addressed.
  • There is a chance that project approval, procurement, and other business services may take longer to process after consolidation.

For specific information on each statement please see:

  • State Research
  • Survey Results
  • Interviews

Survey, Interview, Research Results and Findings - Lessons Learned

The following are the results of interviews, surveys, private and public research and summarize the thoughts, comments, experiences, and ideas of those surveyed:

Lessons Learned

Organization

  • Organizations must have the political will to fund consolidation efforts effectively.
  • All entities must work cooperatively and avoid a dictatorial approach.

Process

Prepare your technical environments as much as possible prior to consolidation.
“Ready, aim, fire” does not work. Agencies MUST focus on planning.
Migrate low security, low impact applications first.

People

  • In some other States’ efforts, leadership placed high priority on periodically visiting IT employees impacted and held town hall discussions.
  • Continuously updating FAQs is highly recommended.
  • Address personnel issues as soon as they are known – do not put them off.
  • Self-assessment of staff skills was used in some other States.
  • Gathering an inventory of all positions, their reporting structures, roles, responsibilities, pay, classifications, and benefits, was helpful in identifying specific and required training for key staff; and helped to identify impacts from new reporting relationships, work locations, and duty changes.
  • One State created an IT Labor and Management Committee to oversee the process.
  • Mentoring, apprenticeships, and career coaching were used successfully in one State.
  • Additional staff training helped to reduce reliance on contractors.
  • For staff in one State, some voluntarily converted their employment status from “merit” to “at-will” to more easily facilitate re-assignment to their consolidated data center.
  • Establish enterprise-based skills development and training programs for greater latitude in skills development.

For specific information on each statement please see:

  • State Research
  • Survey Results
  • Interviews