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City IT Officials Breakdown Technology Initiatives & Projects for 2012

City technology leaders from the department of Information Technology & Innovation (ITI) took center stage at a Net2NO meeting to discuss their 2012 goals, partnerships, and job opportunities.  Last year around this very same time, I gave a presentation at Net2NO entitled “Technology & New Orleans City Government: What’s Really Going On?” (Part 1 & Part 2) which talked about the challenges that the newly formed ITI department faced, what they would need to do about outdated systems, and how they would be innovative.

“Our tactical plan hasn’t changed since last year and we are still committed to four goals” said Allen Square, Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the City of New Orleans.  The tactical plan that Mr. Square is referring to includes stabilizing the city’s IT environment, building a strong foundation of IT staff, increasing value-added services, and creating a culture innovation.  Much of 2011 was spent stabilizing the city’s IT environment.  City IT workers had their hands full with everything from virtual servers that died to losing twenty percent of the city’s e-mail system.  This meant that mission critical systems such as e-mail, payroll, and another applications had to be working efficiently before other projects could take place.

While the city has made considerable progress in their stabilization efforts, they still have a way to go.  Since 2010, the number of items on the city’s IT stabilization checklist has increased.

New Orleans City IT Stabilization Checklist - Credit: City of NOLA

New Orleans City IT Stabilization Checklist - Credit: City of NOLA

 

Critical IT Projects for 2012

The city’s ITI department has seven critical projects that it plans to undertake in 2012 which include:

  • 311 Service:  The relaunch of the city’s 311 service with a new website and improved call center.
  • Unified Communications Upgrade: Upgrading all telecommunications infrastructure.
  • PC Refresh:  The goal is to upgrade 500 to 700 computers in 2012.  336 computers have already been refreshed in 2011.
  • Payroll:  Improving payroll services by outsourcing to a 3rd party vendor.
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System:  A new financial and asset management system.
  • E-mail:  Will outsource e-mail to Microsoft cloud.
  • Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity: Putting infrastructure in place to continue city operations during outages/disasters.
City of New Orleans 2012 Critical ITI Projects - Credit: City of NOLA

City of New Orleans 2012 Critical ITI Projects - Credit: City of NOLA

 

 

A More Toward Open Gov

Denice Warren Ross, Director of Applications for the City of New Orleans also talked about departments effort to make data more available to citizens.  She describes it as a slow and steady process toward “open gov” that will allow information that once resided only in city hall to be made publicly available.   One way that this is happening is though critical partnerships with organizations such as IBM and Code for America.  The IBM Smarter Cities project, which will be a three to eight year project, is helping the city build a data warehousing strategy to improve decision making for city staff and citizens.  A recent Code for America grant sent fellows to work with city IT for the next year on an application to address common problems such as blight.  There are also a couple of software as a service (SAAS) apps already provided by the city, which include Data.NOLA.Gov and an enterprise city calendar.

City Job Opportunities

Lastly, Lamar Gardere, Quality Control/Quality Assurance Manager for the ITI department talked about the importance of building a strong foundation of IT workers within city hall and not having to heavily depend on contractors.  In May 2010, a sizable portion of IT work for the city was done by outside vendors.  This trend has been slowly eroding away with more full-time employees taking over in these areas.  But the city is still looking for qualified IT workers in several fields to continue to build their team.

WEB (Contact: Eric Ogburn – epogburn@nola.gov)

  • Content Editor for Nola.gov
  • Web Application Developer to make easy-to-use tools to improve interactions between public & City Hall

DATA ANALYTICS (Denice Ross – dwross@nola.gov)

  • Business Analytics/Business Intelligence to implement IBM Smarter Cities recommendations

OPERATIONS (Eric Bergquist – ebergquist@nola.gov)

  • Database & System Administrators, Network/Telecom, Help Desk

QUALITY ASSURANCE & CONTROL  (Lamar Gardere – lmgardere@nola.gov)

  • Quality Assurance/Quality Control Specialist

ENGINEERING (Ed Kerkow – edkerkow@nola.gov)

  • 311 Operators, Supervisor, Trainer & Business Analysts supporting the Mar 26 launch
  • Project Managers to lead traditional IT-centric projects

For more info on all city ITI jobs can by found on here.




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