The majority of federal, state and local authorities still rely on paper-based processes and legacy systems that are unable to exchange data with each other. As a result, government organizations often struggle with inefficiencies, disorganization and security vulnerabilities.
It’s no surprise that IT within the public sector must be continuously expanded and optimized to support modern requirements; however, the process is more complex than it seems. With poor visibility into their IT infrastructure, many government entities face challenges when trying to upgrade their old systems or transition to cloud-based solutions. A lack of transparency also makes it difficult to understand which systems are being utilized optimally to avoid unnecessary procurement. If government executives don’t know what IT assets they have and where they are, projects can only be started after a time-consuming inventory.
To meet modern day requirements and support their goal of digitization, authorities need a modern IT infrastructure management tool.
The advantages of IT infrastructure management
From a technical point of view, public administration infrastructures are as complicated as large companies, with tens of thousands of rooms, several thousand server racks, and several million software installations. Authorities also have high security requirements due to the sensitive information and personal data they manage. For these reasons, organizations must rely on the right solution when it comes to infrastructure optimization.
By utilizing a central tool for the documentation and management of the entire infrastructure, government executives can gain a complete overview of existing systems, energy requirements, capacities, software versions and bandwidths. Such a solution can also increase efficiency, reliability and security.
In addition to documenting common IT assets such as workplace computers and servers, switches and routers (even down to computer components such as SSDs and CPUs as well as operating systems and installed applications), printers and smartphones, law enforcement officials have proven that utilizing an IT infrastructure management tool to also document and monitor emergency vehicles, SIM cards and body cams brings great value to their operational efficiency. The demands on access management are particularly high there to ensure only authorized persons can access sensitive information.
Additionally, public authorities can utilize an IT infrastructure management solution to streamline upgrades to their communication systems. Let’s take a look at how a municipal administration recently transitioned to Voice-over-IP (VoIP) technology during ongoing operations.
Meeting modern requirements: The digitization of telephony technology
When the administration of a large city needed to convert its traditional PBX technology to Voice-over-IP during ongoing operations, the entire LAN network infrastructure had to be recorded, expanded and rebuilt. This was no small project – more than 50,000 rooms with 200,000 data sockets, 700,000 cables and 1,000 servers were affected. Additionally, a central requirement for the conversion was to implement a central ticket and billing system in order to efficiently manage the ITC infrastructure.
With an IT infrastructure management solution as the central configuration management database (CMDB), the specified requirements were met with zero interruptions. An intelligent auto-routing was also introduced to calculate as few hops and short patch connections as possible (to minimize delays when telephoning via VoIP). This also takes into account requirements that do not allow optimal connections ad hoc due to a lack of port capacities and automatically carries out auto-routing if the network topology changes.
After the digitization of the telephony technology and successful changeover was complete, the city planned its LAN infrastructure entirely with the new IT infrastructure management solution. This solution in particular is ideal for the IT service manager as IT and TC can be managed using a central tool.
Features and functionality to consider
Overall, federal, state and municipal authorities have an array of IT and telecommunications systems in use that are often fragmented and outdated. Modern ICT infrastructure management not only provides the necessary overview to be able to modernize and digitize more efficiently, but also the flexibility and planning options to be able to optimize processes in a targeted manner.
When comparing IT infrastructure management solutions, government organizations should require the following features and functionality:
An overview of dependencies and connections of the various IT and telecommunications systems and cloud services, as well as redundancies and backup paths.
A planning tool for making changes/extensions to the IT infrastructure that automatically updates documentation to reflect the new as-is state when changes are executed.
Project and process management for all classic move, add and change tasks, including service provider control.
Effective support for troubleshooting in the event of failures.
The seamless merging of data from different systems and consolidation in one tool as a “single point of truth.”
The ability to connect auto discovery, both on the technical side and ERP systems for economic aspects, with IT infrastructure management such as equipment purchasing processes, as well as other critical systems.
Effort-based or usage-based billing, and billing for various authorities and departments.
Technical request handling, order initiation, goods receipt, and warehouse management for IT equipment.
Matthias Gromann is director of business line IT and data center solutions at FNT Software.