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County's Information Chief Says Consolidation of Technology Services on Track


Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
Issue 03, Volume 17.
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RIVERSIDE - Riverside County Chief Information Officer Kevin Crawford told the Board of Supervisors today he was making progress consolidating the county's 30 separate information technology units and assured board members that securing their confidential communications remains a top priority.

Crawford, who was appointed head of the Department of Information Technology a year ago, provided the board with a 25-page report on strategies the agency is implementing to meet various goals -- one of the most important being the centralization of IT operations.

The county's IT infrastructure, encompassing all electronic data services, lacks uniformity because departments have their own technical support teams, according to Crawford.

He said the result has been overlap and waste. The goal is to streamline operations and increase efficiency, with an eye to "utilizing our precious dollars the best way we can," Crawford told the board.

He said around 700 employees work in county IT units. Consolidation was expected to wrap up by the end of the 2013-14 fiscal year, netting the county an estimated $12 million in annual savings thereafter, according to the IT chief.

"We got very heavy in that area," board Chairman John Benoit observed. "We don't need to continue to employ 700 IT workers in the county. Glad you're consolidating that."

Supervisor Marion Ashley posed a series of questions regarding the reorganization, including whether all agencies had "signed on" to the consolidation plan, how many jobs would be lost through attrition and whether any services would be outsourced as a result of the changes.

The supervisor didn't put Crawford on the spot, allowing him however much time he needed to respond.

All the supervisors expressed concerns about the security of communications post-consolidation.

"We deal with some very confidential constituent-related emails and files," Supervisor Jeff Stone said. "I'd like to see ... that we have a team of people who ensure that the appropriate electronic security walls are up and we're not subject to hacking."

The supervisor added that he wanted guarantees emails and documents tied to labor negotiations wouldn't be compromised.

Crawford replied that, while head of IT for the city of Los Angeles, he oversaw programs to safely segregate and store data for 18 elected officials.

"We can ensure who does and does not have access," he said. "We can minimize any chance of anything being seen."


 

3 comments

Comment Profile ImageSDCountyEmployee
Comment #1 | Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013 at 8:10 pm
What ever you do, don't outsource! We outsourced everything in SD to HP and it's awful. No customer service, no control, and they charge us to every little thing. We can't even load software from a digital camera without paying them money. Worse thing the county ever did.
Comment Profile ImageRivCoITEmployee
Comment #2 | Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 at 10:45 am
It's unfortunate that the BOS is not really informed on why there are 30+ departments. The central IT department charges so much to the agencies that it is cheaper for them to have their own IT staff then to use the central IT. I have not encountered any Non-RCIT IT people in the county that are positive about this change, and the non-IT staff realizes that they will have reduced support after this change. Some departments have planned that after the change to RCIT individual staff members will no longer be able to call the help desk, they will have to report their issue to a supervisor and the supervisor will decide if the problem warrants contacting RCIT and incurring the billing necessary for the phone call and any support required. I do think this will save the county money, by reducing the number of calls for support because departments can't afford it. Unfortunately, that also means that things won't be fixed when there are problems. Doesn't really seem the way to go.

The ITO has stated that he wants to make RCIT the "go to" source for support. It would have been wise for him to understand why RCIT is NOT the go to source for support, rather than getting rid of everyone so you have no choice. But the Supervisors don't need to worry, they have their own IT team that will remain intact!
Comment Profile ImageRivcoITEmployee
Comment #3 | Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 5:02 pm
The IT structure and strategic plan follows an illogical methodology and fails to include even basic and truthful foundational information. The most important event in developing a strategic plan is to complete a thorough Business Requirements Analysis. In Riverside County’s case they are doing the Requirement Analysis after or during departmental assessment, a process never used by IT consultants or IT professionals. The requirement analysis is always the first step when planning technology changes. After many years of watching technology evolve, we have noticed many times great executives/managers believe they are making the right decision when negative results are staring them in the face. This plans is ill advised and it isn't a matter of possibility, it is most certainly probability that additional and unforeseen costs will be incurred. There will be no cost savings to the county, rather there will be significant cost increase and diminished levels of services to the departments and the constituents they serve. WHAT A SHAME the BOS can't see the forest for the trees. Perhaps they should relate it to a home project they may have attempted at some point. If you have ever tried to "do it yourself" at home and thought you would save a lot of money and could do your project for, let's say, $500 but it ultimately cost you much more the $500...well, that's called scope creep, and that is what this project is full of. What was thought to cost a few million will far exceed $100,000,000 by the time it's done....no cost savings there!

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Valley News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.

 

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