NYC takes charge of IT assets, help desk costs

New York City’s DoITT uses BMC’s Remedy software to track incidents, lower help desk costs

New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) is achieving significant savings and more efficient service by consolidating many of its IT services.

Each of the city’s agencies used to be responsible for its own IT, said Paul Cosgrave, DoITT commissioner. Now the whole city is moving to a more centralized IT infrastructure, including e-mail, data center, network and help desk.

The key to this process has been the city’s adoption of tools that helped DoITT “move from more of a reactive environment to a proactive one,” said Michael Bimonte, DoITT’s deputy commissioner for IT services.

A few years ago, the department began researching tools that would help it track IT incidents better and more transparently. DoITT officials spoke to analysts with consulting firms such as Gartner Inc., as well as representatives from Wall Street financial firms. The department decided to adopt the Remedy software suite from BMC and some other supporting tools.

The city’s IT assets used to be tracked on “spreadsheets, legal pads, all kinds of places,” Bimonte said. Now the department has taken all of that information — more than 300,000 assets — and compiled it into a database that integrates with Remedy. If one agency has an outage, DoITT can see the relationship between that agency and the rest of the city.

Remedy generates an event and routes the information to the owner of that asset. “In the past, we relied on phone calls from end users,” Bimonte said. “The service desk would have to manually open a ticket, which would bounce from three or four groups,” he said. Now the software automatically routes that incident to the asset owner for action. This has reduced the department’s incident reassignment rate by more than 95 percent since the beginning of 2008.

The new system allows the department to isolate problems and report back to the applications that might be affected, Cosgrave said. “Now we’re ahead of the game, instead of being reactive to some user calling us up and screaming at us,” he said. “And that’s been tremendous.”

The new system has substantially decreased the cost of running the DoITT help desk. A user can contact the help desk by a Web site, an e-mail or a phone call, Bimonte said. The industry standard cost for help desk contact with a user is $10 per contact, Bimonte said. At one point, DoITT help desk cost was close to $50 per contact. After implementing the new tools, it’s around $11, he said. “I think as we roll this out, we’ll be able to get it under $10 without a significant increase in staff.”

More information: www.nyc.gov/html/doitt/html/news/pr062409.shtml

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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