A few years ago, Ohio CIO Stu Davis launched Ohio’s IT Optimization journey. As part of that journey Ohio Department of Administrative Services Office of Information Technology (DAS OIT) realized that transparency and superior customer service had to be paramount to best support the missions and goals of Ohio’s state agencies, boards, and commissions.

“Our journey started when Stu Davis, our great CIO, decided he wanted to optimize the state’s IT infrastructure,” said Renee Evans, ITSM product administrator for the State of Ohio. “We quickly realized we were going to consolidate and bring all of the agencies into one data center.”

Prior to the IT Optimization push, the IT infrastructure in Ohio was highly decentralized. The state’s approach to IT service management was no exception with agencies implementing their own solutions, using tools that did not allow for effective cross-agency communication.

Bob Osborn is CTO of Federal at ServiceNow. (Photo: LinkedIn)

With a desire to improve cross-agency communication and streamline IT service delivery, DAS OIT turned to ServiceNow for an enterprise IT service management (ITSM) tool. In their NASCIO annual conference session this month, Evans and Bob Osborn, CTO of Federal at ServiceNow, discussed how ServiceNow’s solution provided the critical foundation needed to support statewide IT consolidation efforts and successfully manage enterprise operations going forward.

ServiceNow is a cloud-based ITSM tool that provides internal and external support through an automated service desk workflow-based application. The ITSM tool provides workflows aligning with Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL–a widely accepted approach to IT service management) processes such as incident management, request fulfillment, problem management, change management and service catalog. These processes allow customers to manage related fields, approvals, escalations, notifications, and reporting needs. Customers can either use the entire suite of service features or select only the features they need.

Since working with ServiceNow, the State of Ohio has made significant progress in its IT Optimization journey. The state now has a consolidated ITSM tool with agency collaboration. Before deploying the new tool, Evans sought to engage agency leadership.

“We collaborated with the agencies first before we rolled out the new tool,” Evans said. “We brought them to the table and that meant easy buy-in.”

Additionally, Ohio now has 14 agencies under one IT umbrella. With 26 Cabinet agencies statewide, Evans said they’ll have 18 agencies under one umbrella by March 2018. The state has also increased adherence to Enterprise SLAs to above 90 percent.

Ohio has also designed and deployed more than 130 customized dashboards and reports, which Osborn noted can be completely customized to the customer and offer significant insight into a state’s IT operations. The metrics available with the new tool enable improvements in customer service and service offerings. Additionally, and most importantly for a state government, the metrics help identify opportunities for cost savings. The new tool also allows the state to accommodate more than 65,000 employees and vendors on its network.

In terms of timeline for deployment, Ohio was up and running in under a year. The work started in February 2014 and the go-live happened in June of the same year. Seven core ITSM processes were created for the first go-live: Incident, Problem, Change, Hardware Asset Management, Configuration, Knowledge, and Service Requests. Within these seven initial processes there were more than 500 individual requirements, including service level agreements, notifications, escalations, status, automatic surveys, workflows, approvals, reporting, and multiple integrations.

Ohio decided to start the journey with its configuration management database (CMDB), which is the database that houses all relevant information about the hardware and software components used in an organization’s IT services and the relationships between those components. However, Osborn notes that other states and cities don’t have to follow the same path.

“You don’t have to have any one starting point,” Osborn said. “You can start your transformation from anywhere. We like to say we meet our customers wherever they are in their transformation journey.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs