Staying Focused on the “Why?”: Massachusetts Transforms IT Support

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts centralized and consolidated IT services, adding new digital workflows. Nicolas Inangelo, Senior Director of IT Service Management for the Commonwealth, described the journey at ServiceNow’s Knowledge 2019 conference in May. He shared how the project improved support services. And, helped deliver the right resources for the right issues at the right time.

Massachusetts previously created a central agency to handle IT service and support. But in 2017, service delivery was still decentralized. The Commonwealth signed Article 87 into law, mandating integration. This move prompted agencies to take action.

The Commonwealth charged the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security (EOTSS) with creating a centralized IT organization. To kick off, they launched a single task force for hosting, communications, operations, and end-user services.

Inangelo explained EOTSS’ four main goals. They needed to consolidate infrastructure operations, improve the service desk experience, reorganize departments to avoid duplication, and streamline procurement and asset management. The Commonwealth needed to ensure the right people were in the right roles. And, they needed to move to a single, cloud-based network while navigating existing segregation and firewalls.

In February 2017, EOTSS kicked off a six-phase ServiceNow implementation. The team consolidated 10 tools into one platform. They focused on providing consistent customer support throughout the transition.

“We were on the hook to make ServiceNow deliver all the services we had been doing in silos,” Inangelo said.

Year one included three implementation phases. First, EOTSS focused on moving existing portal processes into ServiceNow. Next, they tackled Configuration Management and Discovery. And finally, EOTSS created a service catalog and ticketing system.

In the first year, EOTSS onboarded two paper-based secretariats—Executive Office of Education (EOE) and Department of Early Education and Care (EEC). Working together, they created new automated digital workflows.

EOTSS replaced an existing EOE application and added seven new digital forms, ending reliance on fax machines and postal mail. They replaced EEC’s existing customer service ticketing system with a customer-facing digital portal. Now, EEC constituents can submit all requests in one place.

Moving into year two, EOTSS focused on hardware asset management and procurement, end-user hardware, and software asset management.

The team migrated 26,000 end-user data assets. The migration included shared history that in some cases extended across agencies.

Massachusetts then onboarded Public Safety and Security, Labor and Workforce Development, and the Employee Service Center. EOTSS built applications to digitize workflows and deliver enhanced performance analytics reporting.

EOTSS only needed to make minor integrations between the new platform and tools in use. The integrations included interfaces with various directory services and data management systems. They also integrated with the existing MassDOT ServiceNow platform.

For one secretariat, EOTSS built a Letter Manager to replace a paper-based process that required several spreadsheets. The new system gives managers letter templates and provides the ability to review, edit, and approve letters. Managers can see performance analytics and gauge progress.

“It’s amazing how much more efficient they are now,” Inangelo said. There is now a standard for improvement and a streamlined workflow.

Today, Massachusetts has consolidated five out of nine secretariats and supports 23 new agencies. The team created three custom applications and 12 portals. With this infrastructure, the Commonwealth supports 42,000 users with 8,500 incidents and 2,500 service requests per month.

EOTSS’ small development team managed workflow with Kanban, a lean methodology. The process kept them agile during the transitions.

Inangelo says the key to continued transformation is always asking “Why?”

EOTSS recognizes their role is more than consolidating systems or re-organizing divisions. They are creating a central organization to provide high-quality support experiences for customers.

“It’s about realigning resources to focus on the right things at the right time … creating a single network, which connects all agencies, removes barriers, and allows free flow of information,” Inangelo said.

Considering procurement, Inangelo said the goal was to provide oversight. Each agency was managing procurement on their own. The team needed to deliver standard services with predictable costs, and proactively manage assets once procured. Who needs what and why? Where can EOTSS remove unneeded assets? These capabilities enabled the Commonwealth to manage IT spending and achieve savings.

For others on a similar journey, Inangelo stresses the importance of a cohesive vision, “if we do need to change anything, it needs to fit the model.” The litmus test? The change must be a value-add for others.

Inangelo acknowledges that IT consolidation is tough for customers. Some are unwilling to change existing processes for the sake of improvement. EOTSS will not migrate old, ineffective processes onto the new platform, and “that goes for business and IT,” says Inangelo.

He emphasized that EOTSS collaborates with agency customers to understand their business process. “We’re going to build it into the tool so that it’s going to scale with [them] over time,” says Inangelo.

Communicating changes and benefits to agency customers is crucial. “No matter how much you communicate, you can do it a little more,” Inangelo said.

He also explained that at times it was difficult to determine which agencies needed updates. Going forward, EOTSS will leverage the portal to communicate with agency customers. They will also promote successes throughout the process.

EOTSS plans to stay focused on continuous improvement. Inangelo added, “we are only as good as our last deployment.”

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