After the COVID-19 pandemic led to an uptick in demand for digital services, the city of Raleigh, N.C. responded with a series of IT service management transformation steps to better meet the needs of its constituents.  Beth Stagner, the city’s Director of Enterprise Applications and Data, talked about the challenges and next steps in that transformation during a virtual webinar hosted by Government Technology on July 22.

Before the pandemic-driven changes, the city used an IT service management product, but it had been developed for the operations division, so many outside of that division could not benefit from it.

“It didn’t make sense to us, and half the time, we didn’t like using it because it was over architected for operations,” Stagner said. “We needed something different, so we began to research, looking for what else we could utilize.”

Once the city began to deploy the new management system, it became a holistic effort within all the departments, with much broader application across the government.

One of the biggest challenges to onboarding the management system, according to Stagner, was pushing people out of their legacy mindset. In particular, city personnel misconstrued legacy practices and processes with legally binding methods. So, before researching systems, the city spent time “determining what we wanted our systems to look like not just for tomorrow but for five years into the future,” said Stagner.

The city also faced challenges with multi-departmental implementation. The different entities that all make up the city department have various processes and duties, and Stagner said it was crucial to have an implementation sponsor to drive deployment efforts of the new management system.

The city has seen increased success with the service management internally, and now it expects to expand the platform, Stagner said.

“The next thing on our road up is to look at how we address customer experiences through different entities within the department,” she said.

While different city departments have found common ground in using the management system internally, its customers continue to experience various service performances. Ultimately, Stagner said, all the agencies have the same set of customers, and it’s not good if citizens end up having markedly different experiences with different divisions within the department.

“A city government may be comprised of various entities that handle disparate areas. But at the end to our customers, it’s still the same city, so they shouldn’t have varying experiences,” Stagner said.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk State and Local Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.