These 10 Enterprise All-Stars get honorable mentions.
The system, which went live in February at a cost of $640,000, gives criminal-justice employees improved real-time access to criminal databases, as well as other data, such as officer contact information and current caseloads. This access streamlines casework and reduces the risks to officers. In addition, it provides real-time disaster-recovery capabilities, a feature ACJIC is offering to other agencies across the state. "The folks who went through [Hurricane] Katrina really appreciate the importance of a real-time disaster-recovery site," says Bob Buel, chief network engineer at ACJIC. "A truly hot site is the holy grail of IT operations, and that's what we have now."
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida
Automation: a data center prescription
BCBS of Florida, a Jacksonville-based health insurer with more than 8,500 employees statewide, was having trouble managing and maintaining the 1,200 physical servers and 450 virtual machines in various flavors of Windows, Linux and AIX in its $40 million data center. Intending to automate its highly manual and time-intensive process of provisioning storage and server resources, the firm decided to augment its BladeLogic Operations Manager software for server management with BladeLogic's Orchestration Manager, which provides adapters to integrate the firm's 10 management products across the data center.
The result was that the BCBS team could provision new servers in two hours vs. the two weeks it had taken previously. "Now we can automate from the point of procuring something from the vendor to installation, without manual effort, except for physically plugging it into our network," says Paul Stallings, senior manager for provisioning systems at the insurer.
California Department of Health Services
Healthy security via enterprise data encryption
The CDHS is an 8,000-employee public agency that deals with sensitive health information, including records for women and children with AIDS. In July 2006, well before encryption standards relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act became law, CDHS CIO Christy Quinlan required that the department encrypt all data in place and in transit. Within 30 days and at a cost of less than $1 million, CDHS implemented GuardianEdge Technologies' Encryption Anywhere full-disk encryption for the department's 2,100 laptops and 8,000 desktops, as well as ProofPoint's 256-bit e-mail encryption. The mandate included partner agencies, such as the California Bureau of State Audits. "If they don't have encryption, they don't connect," Quinlan says.
Since then, the CDHS has lost laptops but has had no breaches. If a laptop is lost or stolen, it costs CDHS $300, rather than the $1,200 per-incident cost for unencrypted devices, plus the $72,000 per incident required to notify the individuals affected by the breach. That means the encryption project is saving CDHS an estimated $500,000 per year.
Winning video and storage stats
While innovative for scouting and training purposes, the Cleveland Indians baseball team's system for videotaping and storing every player's at-bats was putting crushing pressure on the organization's storage and data-protection infrastructure. Video storage was growing by more than 1TB a year, and quickly exceeded 9TB.
In April 2007, the team implemented a disk-to-disk-to-tape solution based on CommVault's Galaxy software, plus the Overland Storage REO 9000 disk-based backup-and-recovery appliance and NEO 4000 tape library. That initial $70,000 investment resulted in a system that reduced the team's overall backup window by more than 50%, from nine to four hours, and cut administration time from 45 minutes daily to nearly nothing.
In addition, because the REO stores 21 days of data and 90% of file restorations involve recent backups, file-recovery times have dropped from 75 minutes to five minutes. The new system is flexible enough to let the team store every game from all 32 major league teams, totaling about 2,600 games for the 2007 baseball season.
"The bottom line is that the team has substantially reinforced its data-protection foundation, so the Cleveland Indians are better prepared to accommodate continually rising storage requirements without exposing their data to undue risks," says Whitney Kuszmaul, network manager for the team.
Evangelical Christian Credit Union
Banking on VoIP
Brea, Calif.-based ECCU, a financial institution with 300 employees and $70 million in 2006 gross revenue, was hamstrung by an aging, inefficient phone system. Serving its growing customer base, as well as communicating with its Colorado Springs, Colo., branch, was becoming increasingly difficult. In 2003, ECCU decided to implement Siemens' HiPath 4000 IP-phone system and its ProCenter Advanced call software in its 40-agent call center and saw immediate improvements.
HiPath let ECCU integrate the branch site's phone system with headquarters, and the ProCenter call-software's skills-based routing capabilities let ECCU cut call transfers by 50% while reducing the average time it takes to answer a caller's query. Because the HiPath system also supports unified messaging, it lets ECCU agents handle e-mail, fax, phone and Web inquiries equally efficiently. Overall, those improvements resulted in annual savings of more than $100,000, on an investment of $600,000.
The system also let ECCU support wireless to its 17-acre headquarters campus. Support staff use wireless VoIP phones to stay in touch as they move about the campus, while vendors and guests on campus receive wireless Internet access. "Employees and guests are not tied in place by wires," says Keith Hollar, telecom analyst at ECCU. "Boundaries have been opened for meetings and other collaboration, which gives ECCU far more flexibility."
Spinning WAN gold
Golder Associates is a Toronto-based engineering and environmental-services firm with 5,000 employees and 150 offices around the world. Although its workforce is increasingly global, Golder realized it needed to centralize its data to provide cost, security and collaboration benefits. It wanted to implement a global intranet based on Microsoft's SharePoint, but needed to make sure its employees could gain access to critical data quickly and efficiently.
In October 2006, the firm implemented the intranet together with 50 Riverbed Technology Steelhead wide-area data-service appliances. These devices optimize WAN traffic via a combination of application acceleration, wide-area file services, QoS and traffic shaping, as well as Web caching. Benefits were immediate.
"The performance gains were really impressive," says Joe Potegal, senior network engineer at Golder. "Large files requested off of our SharePoint intranet went from taking 10 minutes to serve up, to just a few seconds. We also saw really big gains with Symantec's Veritas NetBackup. We were typically backing up many gigs per day, and that was reduced to just megabytes. That data reduction in and of itself helped shrink our backup window significantly."
Overall, Golder expects its productivity savings, consolidation benefits and deferred bandwidth upgrades to provide a 250% ROI over three years.
ING Investment Management Group
Investing in its (e-mail) future
ING Investment Management Group, a financial firm with six U.S. offices, was facing 100% annual growth in e-mail volume and 50% annual growth in unstructured data. All this made it difficult to meet compliance requests, perform discovery searches and manage e-mail files.
In January 2006, the firm spent $620,000 to implement Symantec's Enterprise Vault for e-mail, file-system archiving and e-discovery, as well as a tiered-storage model based on Network Appliance hardware and software. Because it now can store e-mail and unstructured data on less-expensive storage while compressing files through single-instance messaging, the firm reduced storage costs from $60 to $45 per gigabyte, a savings of $1 million over the next three years.
Storage consolidation also let ING cut the number of requisite data center servers by nearly 200%, for $750,000 in savings. The new setup also let ING speed its response-to-discovery requests to just two or three days vs. the two to three weeks in the past, saving about $70,000 per year. In addition, the company no longer has to dedicate about 100 hours a week to help users with PST file-management issues, saving about $100,000 per year. "The system now performs better, employees are more efficient, and ING is in compliance," says Mark Kolodzej, vice president of IT and head of infrastructure services at the firm's U.S. headquarters in Atlanta.
Swedish Medical Center Home Care Division
Better communications, better patient care
Swedish Medical Center's Home Care Division clinicians care for patients in private and nursing homes, dormitories, assisted-living facilities and extended-care facilities throughout the Seattle area. The firm was finding it difficult to provide appointment changes, addresses of newly scheduled visits and driving directions to its 100 field workers throughout the workday, an inefficient situation that led to workers spending too much time on administrative duties and less on patient care.
In December 2005, the firm rolled out TeleNav's TeleNav Track, an application that resides on clinicians' cell phones and provides real-time GPS tracking and reporting through a Web-based interface. Now, when scheduling changes occur, dispatchers can send a new address to the caregiver's wireless device, and TeleNav Track immediately displays the directions on the screen. TeleNav Track also provides voice-activated, turn-by-turn navigation to the desired location.
Although the setup costs $30 per month, per caregiver, it has let Swedish increase its total number of home visits by 25%, from 400 to 500 per day. "Most beneficial is decreasing time spent being lost or obtaining directions; that efficiency allows our clinicians to provide more patient care and less time driving," says Debbie Ramundo, senior project manager at the company.
Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB)
A NAC for A+ security
The UCDSB is responsible for administering a 32,000-student school district in Ontario, Canada. To better support districtwide learning and assessment goals, the group needed to make sure its more than 120 sites had 100% wireless coverage. Wireless lets teachers and students roam through schools using handheld and notebook computers to access learning and teaching tools -- without being tied to the typical "PC at the back of the classroom," says Jeremy Hobbs, the board's CIO.
To reduce maintenance and security issues, UCDSB spent $150,000 for Nevis Networks' LANenforcer LAN Security Appliance and LANsecure solution, which includes a 48-port LANenforcer Secure Access Switch and LANsight Security Manager for centralized policy management. Via UCDSB policies, the appliances leverage Active Directory information to enforce detailed, identity-based access for different user groups. Besides securing access, the system saves time administering moves, adds and changes for its 300 wireless access points from 600 staff-hours a month to virtually none, providing an ROI of nearly $100,000 a year.
University of California, San Francisco
Researchers in UCSF's Immune Tolerance Network and Epilepsy Phenome Genome Project depend on IT to deliver the real-time collaboration and computationally intensive applications necessary for building, studying and reporting on life-saving clinical trials. To meet those needs, IT recently built the Advanced Research Computing and Analysis Managed Infrastructure Services (ARCAMIS) network, says Michael Williams, executive director of IT for ITN, as well as CIO for EPGP. ARCAMIS uses a Network Appliance FAS3020 SAN, HP Proliant servers, 7000c Series blades and VMware Virtual Infrastructure Enterprise 3.01 to consolidate eight distributed IT sites into three redundant data centers, two in San Francisco and one in Washington, D.C.
The SAN increased storage use to 65% from 25% under the old network-attached storage infrastructure, and provides real-time server backups and hourly disaster-recovery snapshots. By using virtualization of disk, CPU, RAM, network and servers, ARCAMIS lets IT provision and support more than 150 production, staging, testing and development servers at a 25-to-1 ratio of guests to physical hosts, reducing power consumption in the data centers by a factor of 20 while speeding server deployment time from six weeks to two hours. Because the new HP servers use remote, IP-based server administration, the same senior staff supports twice the number of physical servers and 20 times the number of virtual servers as it did before. Overall savings are $200,000 a month, with an expected $10 million return on the original $3 million investment in just three years.
Cummings is a freelance writer in North Andover, Mass. She can be reached at email@example.com.