How Seattle Avoided “Mass Chaos” in IT Consolidation

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Written by Ryan Johnston

The cloud-based IT management software Seattle used to drive city-wide technology consolidation in 2019 has kept city agencies from plunging into “mass chaos,” an official said recently. at StateScoop.

The software, called Neuros, from Salt Lake City-based Ivanti, tracks software and hardware assets and uses robots to detect new devices that join the city’s network and scan them for security risks. Jenny Rock, a service management engineer with the city’s IT department, said the technology has proven to be “invaluable.” Without it, she said, “the rest of town would hate us.”

“We could never have done all of this consolidation without this kind of structured system,” she said.

Rock said officials in Seattle are currently using the software to track hardware assets and service management, and she expects them to use it soon to monitor databases, infrastructure devices and more. communication devices, as well as the licenses and contracts associated with these resources. City staff have also stepped up their requests for API connections, now that they are more comfortable with the software, she said.

“Anyone who does IT for the city has their hands on this system,” said Rock. “We use it so that end users can request a service if something is broken, to request something they need – if they need a new account, if they need a new computer. portable or something like that – then they request it through the service. We use it for all of our change management. We have a knowledge management module that people can use by looking for something on their own, and maybe they don’t even need to call us.

The city began using the software in 2016 to facilitate the process of consolidating the IT functions of 50 city departments into a central agency, Rock said. But the transition to using the software was far from straightforward, and city staff initially struggled to juggle learning the new technology and IT reorganization at the same time, he said. she declared.

Few of the city’s employees initially knew the difference between IT service management and IT asset management software, Rock said, demanding that his team run ‘one million and one’ training sessions to educate people on new technology. Before consolidation, with each department being responsible for its own IT management, anyone could guess what apps or software the city had, Rock said. In addition to inventorying the disparate technology processes and data repositories that each department used, the city was still running on an existing inventory system, significantly limiting how quickly Rock and his team could begin the consolidation process.

“It was difficult because [individual departments] didn’t even know what their processes were, ”Rock said. “All was so much of a legacy, and “that’s how we’ve always done it.” In the middle of the consolidation, everyone got into it and they were, on the one hand, afraid of what the consolidation meant – no one knew what it meant, and no one knew anything – and on top of that , we’re dropping this whole new system on them. So it was hard for us to get over change fatigue when it came to training, getting people excited and understanding what we do and why we do it and that was one of those things. where everyone felt like it was made for them, not for them.

To rally city staff, the city relied on a top-down style of communication, making it clear to the various departments that it was not just about the city’s IT “trying to find its way in. their teams, “but a complete change to” 21st century, “Rock said.

“It had to come from above and be, ‘Okay, that’s the way we do business now. “”

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