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OC Technology Quarterly
OC Technology Quarterly OCTechnologyQuarterly
September 2013 Issue 4 - Volume 01
From the CIO
Reducing Costs through Shared Services
As state and local governments continue to grapple with issues like long-term reduced funding, growing expectations for access to information, the need to do more with less and the duplication of IT operations within multiple agencies, Shared Services is becoming increasingly attractive — if not essential. Shared Services drives economies of scale, reduces redundant and obsolete solutions, and enables entities to cut costs while improving service quality.
spacer Mahesh Patel

Shared Services refers to “the provision of a service by one part of an organization or group where that service had previously been found in more than one part of the organization or group.” The funding and resourcing of the service is shared and the providing department effectively becomes an internal service provider, delivering consistent services to internal customers at a cost, specified quality and in a time-period that is competitive with alternatives.”1

A recent Center for Digital Government (CDG) research survey on IT Shared Services in the public sector makes it clear that shared services is a high priority in government over the next 12 months. The survey indicated that 93 percent of both state and local government respondents were interested in, planned to or had already implemented some type of shared services initiative.2

Within the current Orange County IT model, every Agency is responsible for its own technology decisions and supporting operating budgets. This has resulted in duplication of systems and services throughout the County. As a brief example, the County funds and administratively maintains 13 data centers, 18 email systems, 8+ Storage Area Networks and multiple solutions that serve the same purpose. Many opportunities to reduce costs through shared services exist.

Moving to a Shared Services IT model requires leadership and teamwork to gain efficiencies for all. A great example of a successful shared IT service in the County is eGovernment. Over the past three years, rates have decreased by over 30% as more agencies have added web sites and operational efficiencies have been implemented.

As we go forward, I will be seeking approval from the IT Executive Council to pursue other opportunities to implement shared service where there is a proven ROI. The effective implementation of additional shared services within IT is a priority that will help us achieve our mission “to provide quality, innovative, fiscally responsible and secure Information Technology solutions that support the business needs of the County of Orange as a whole now and into the future.”
1Shared Services,” Wikipedia,
22013 Center for Digital Government Shared Services Research Survey
green arrow Featured in this month's newsletter
01 Initiatives 02 Program Brief 03 In Recognition 04 Did You Know?
IT Sourcing Update
sourcing spacer County IT has recently reached a major milestone in replacing our 11-year IT staff-augmentation contract with Xerox (formerly ACS). On May 14, 2013, the Board of Supervisors awarded a contract to SAIC to provide Data Center, service desk, desktop support and application services over the next five years, renewable for two additional one-year periods (Scope 1). On September 10, 2013, the Board approved a contract with Xerox Corp. to provide end-to-end support of the County’s voice and data network systems and to transform our existing architecture to a converged voice and data network.

Both the Scope 1 and Scope 2 contracts are “Managed Service” contracts. This means that the County purchased specific services based on stated service level requirements that the vendors must meet, rather than the previous contract, which was an IT staff augmentation contract. The key difference from the current model is that the focus will be on ensuring results (achieving service level requirements) rather than managing resources.

The transition to the new Managed Service contracts will begin on September 23, 2013. Scope 1 transition to SAIC will be 120 days; while Scope 2 transition to the new Xerox team will be 175 days. CEO-IT will be running a formal Transition Management Office with the vendors to manage the transition activities. The key deliverables for the first 30 days include:
  • Finalization and approval of SAIC and Xerox detailed transition plans
  • Development of the Communication, Training and Risk Management Plans
  • Scope 1 Agencies who have opted in for select services will be contacted
  • Scope 2 Agency network transition plans will be coordinated with Agencies
The IT Sourcing RFP process has been a very lengthy and thorough process, with participation from many agencies/departments. This hard work has resulted in managed IT service contracts that reduce County risk and provide consistent and transparent IT services with measurable Service Level Requirements (SLRs). As we transition services and begin the implementation of a well-planned, countywide, converged voice and data network, the infrastructure necessary to support evolving business requirements and future technologies will be in place.

Thank you to all who participated in this endeavor. If you have any questions initially, please contact Christina Koslosky, Assistant CIO, who is functioning as the program executive for this initiative.
OCDC Gets a Facility Face Lift
spacer In one way or another, every County Agency and Department relies on the Orange County Data Center OCDC to deliver the information and services needed to do their work. Built in 1992, the OCDC provides services to federal, state, county and local governments as well as commercial customers.

The OCDC was designed to withstand a substantial earthquake, and has built‐in redundancy for critical components such as power with generator and battery backup. It is managed by
central IT, CEO Office of Information Technology and operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year. At 66,000 square feet, the OCDC is the County’s largest information technology facility, and is home to many of the County’s most critical applications including CAPS+ HR and Financial systems, Assessor systems and ERMI.

In order to ensure continuous delivery of data and IT services, IT staff ensures that the OCDC infrastructure is updated regularly. A few months ago, the Data Center Facilities and Operations Teams began working closely with OC Public Works and selected contractors to replace several key infrastructure components. These included:
  • Fire Suppression System – The new fire suppression system features larger capacity piping and updated sprinkler heads as well as a nitrogen-generating system that ensures regulated pipe pressure. During the upgrade, over a mile of old, galvanized pipe was removed from the OCDC’s ceiling and under the raised floor.

  • Leak Detection System – Under the 33,000-square-foot raised floor in the OCDC computer room is a two-foot deep space that houses the wires, cables and pipes that provide electricity, connectivity, and cooling to hundreds of computer hardware components. Water pipes under the floor deliver chilled water to the Computer Room Air Conditioning (CRAC) units throughout the facility. A new leak detection system has been installed that alerts staff should a leak occur, enabling staff to take action before damage occurs.

  • Driveway Gate – If you’ve ever been to the OCDC after hours, you’ve seen the driveway gates that help protect the property from intruders. After years of operation, the gates needed an upgrade to ensure ongoing protection and to meet more stringent safety regulations. Now nearly complete, the upgrade requires the gates to be fitted with new wheels, safety screen, improved rail system, and more robust motors. Additionally, the driveway under the gates was replaced with new concrete.

  • Physical Security System – Every employee or contractor authorized to work at the OCDC has a badge that enables electronic access to various areas within the facility. OC Public Works (OCPW) recently finished replacing the original badge security system with a new Lenel system. The Lenel system is now the County’s standard physical security platform and is being implemented Countywide. It can be controlled locally at the installed facility as well as remotely by OCPW at its central plant location.

Many thanks to the dedicated staff members who participated in the successful upgrades of these components, helping to ensure that the OCDC infrastructure will continue to effectively and securely house the County’s and its customers’ critical computer systems.
Program Brief
Business Continuity Planning at the County
For several days in April 2013, the Boston Marathon bombings largely shut down the city of Boston. As authorities searched for the bombing suspects:
  • City employees were told to stay home; businesses were asked to remain closed

  • Trial courthouses and offices were closed and jurors were told to stay home
  • No vehicular traffic was allowed in or out of Watertown, a Boston neighborhood where suspects had engaged in a shootout with police

  • Logan Airport was operating under heightened security and Amtrak suspended service

  • Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University, and Boston and Emerson Colleges cancelled classes

Without even counting the direct costs of police, security, and emergency response; aid to victims and their families; and the capture, incarceration, and prosecution of the suspect, the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombers had a major economic impact on the area.

How do businesses, government entities, educational institutions, and others prepare for a situation like the shutdown in Boston? How do they get information to employees, continue to get critical work done, inform the public of service disruptions, and minimize downtime, costs, and loss of revenue? The answer is a Business Continuity Plan (BCP).

At the County, Business Continuity (BC) and Disaster Recovery (DR) are separate but related programs that assist Agencies/Departments in planning for continued operations no matter the cause of a disruption. BC identifies and analyzes critical business processes and determines process dependencies (technology, people, and facilities). BC planning involves determining how to operate with a diminished workforce or at an alternate facility. DR identifies how to recover the technology on which critical business processes depend.

All County Agencies/Departments are required to develop and maintain written BCPs that address their specific business critical processes. Over the past couple of years, however, compliance with this requirement had fallen off, as Agencies/Departments struggled with fewer operational resources. The Board of Supervisors recognized this downturn in compliance at its May 21, 2013, Board meeting. As a result, County CEO Mike Giancola requested that Agencies/Departments renew efforts to complete the initial components of their BCPs by August 30, 2013.

Agencies/Departments worked with the County BC Program Manager to update their plans and 100% met the deadline. “I’m really impressed by the consistent, concentrated efforts agencies and departments have made to get their plans in shape,” said the County’s BC Program Manager, Lynne Halverson. “We have reached an important milestone in the County. The BC Program will now be able to move forward with other important program components, including specific process recovery documentation and plan testing.”

Everyone hopes that something like what happened in Boston will never occur in Orange County. But if it – or any other type of business disruption – does occur, the County’s BC planning efforts will help ensure we are ready to respond.

In Recognition
Steven Huang spacer Each quarter, the CIO recognizes an Information Technology employee or team that has made a significant contribution to their County Agency/Department by demonstrating one or more of the following attributes:
  • Excellent customer service
  • Exceptional level of commitment and dedication
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Effective and efficient stewardship of IT assets
  • Business process improvement and/or efficiency
  • Creative and innovative thinking

This quarter the CIO would like to recognize Steven Huang. Steve Huang is an IT Solution Architect who works to support multiple county systems. His technical ability to turn business requirements into innovative solutions is highly valued within County IT.

Steven has worked to support many critical County systems and most recently assisted the CEO Office of Information Technology in the technical design and implementation of the new CISCO Unified Computing System infrastructure. This system is a critical component of the County’s shared service offering to provide Agencies/Departments with a state-of-the-art virtual server solution.

Steven’s hard work ethic, reliability and can-do attitude make him a critical part of the County IT team. Thank you and congratulations Steven!
Did You Know?
County of Orange Recognized Nationally with “Best of the Web” Award
In January of this year, the County completed the re-design of our website. This collaborative effort by approximately 125 Agency/Department staff across the County, and our vendor, Civica, resulted in the receipt of a national “2013 Best of the Web Award” from the Center for Digital Government. The County received this award for the innovation, functionality, productivity, and performance displayed by its recently re-designed website,

“We are very proud to be ranked third nationally in the County Portal category,” said Mahesh Patel, Chief Information Officer. “Our new homepage features a fresh look, enhanced features, and streamlined navigation designed to improve visitor experience.”

For the past 15 years, the Best of the Web Awards program has honored outstanding official government websites, including those at the city, county, and state levels. “This year’s winners have demonstrated the ability to adapt to the changing technology landscape, while creating first-class public and business services,” said Todd Sander, Executive Director of the Center for Digital Government.

To learn more about this award, you can visit
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