More Government All-Stars

Four government agencies revamp network operations.

Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), Center for Computing Services

DISA's Center for Computing Services, at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala., is a step ahead of the pack on integrating IT with business services - despite a complex environment. The agency is reaping $140 million in savings annually as the result of a $3 million business service management (BSM) project that provides a consolidated view of data from disparate, heterogeneous management platforms. BSM greatly eases management of 1,400 applications serving more than 2 million users. Computing Services also can view logical groupings of interrelated physical elements and therefore make sure that its infrastructure is aligned with operational objectives. Using Managed Objects' Business Service Management software, DISA has been able to consolidate 18 systems management centers to four, and 16 help desks to four, while cutting in half the time to resolve problems. Customer satisfaction ratings also have risen dramatically.

Lee County Sheriff's Office

Deputies hit the streets in this southwest Florida county, headquartered in Fort Myers, knowing they are backed up by reliable, high-speed cellular data services. The sheriff's office invested $1 million to provide access to Sprint's Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA)-based network and, ultimately, next-generation EV-DO services. The wireless data access improves productivity and performance by enabling deputies to stay in the field rather than returning to the sheriff's office to fill out paperwork and submit reports. To manage connectivity for 600 users, the sheriff's office uses NetMotion Wireless' Mobility XE VPN server, as well as GPS tracking software for deputy dispatching. Wireless LANs serve various buildings.

South Carolina Department of Revenue (DOR)

GOVERNMENT QUICK STATS

MEDIAN PROJECT DURATION:

24 months.

MEDIAN PROJECT BUDGET:

$22.5 million.

NOTEWORTHY:

The highest average ROI on the list occurs in the government category.

Entrepreneurs who want to launch a business in South Carolina are getting a helping hand from a state e-commerce site launched in May. South Carolina Business One-Stop walks users through the process of registering a new business and obtaining appropriate licenses or permits. The system asks relevant questions, collects data, facilitates payment via credit card or electronic funds withdrawal, submits applications and communicates with various agencies in a secure online transaction. The project team relied on Microsoft .Net-based Web services and content management tools to support the back-end processing required for the interagency communication. Although the Web site is new, state officials expect it to reduce the time required for launching a new business in South Carolina from weeks to days. This also results in significant cost-savings for business operators. The DOR calculates that the 10,000 businesses launched yearly in South Carolina had been spending more than $7 million to get up and running, based on an average of $15 per hour and 47 hours spent per business. The DOR reports a $4 million project cost, with expected ROI of 100% in three years.

U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Operations Systems Center

To secure the country, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) needs personnel at its 22 agencies to be able to send data to each other immediately and securely, despite differences in e-mail systems (some agencies use Microsoft Exchange variants, while others rely on Lotus Notes, cc:Mail or proprietary programs). The USCG Operations Systems Center, in Kearneysville, W.Va., had the task of figuring out how to achieve the interagency information exchange. During a 12-month period, using products from Cisco, HP, Microsoft, Sun and others, it developed and deployed the DHS Directory Services and Email System (DSES). The DSES assigns a uniform e-mail address to approximately 200,000 DHS users, and routes e-mail traffic to, from and between all agencies and the Internet while protecting against viruses and spam. Interagency e-mail no longer gets routed via the 'Net, but across the more secure DHS network. Employees also get access to an electronic directory that provides an up-to-date single source of e-mail addresses across agencies. The center tallied the DSES project cost at $2 million, while calculating an 8% ROI for year one (the base system became operational in April 2003) and projecting a 24% ROI for year three. The DSES now handles all DHS e-mail, with an uptime rate of 99.99%; stops more than 20,000 offensive messages daily and removes more than 10,000 viruses each day.

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