As I review the volume of IT requests created for my team during March 2020, I envision how this pandemic will change our view of technology in the future. A brand new operating stage of tech support has transpired, and I believe it is here to stay. I am referring to this stage as the Pandemic operational stage. Once we get back to “normal” operation, I believe we will always need to be ready on short notice to transform again into a Pandemic stage, and this will be the new normal.
So, how do we prepare for a new era of IT? Historically we prepared for continuity of operations, recovery from geographically contained disasters. A data center struck by a tornado; or an agency abandoned its offices due to a fire. Enter the Pandemic stage, and the critical need to maintain business functions and operational technology, all while expanding geographically from our “brick and mortar” office buildings into our homes. Our focus during the Pandemic Phase is primarily on giving customers the tools necessary to provide services virtually, from home.
Access to technology is an absolute necessity to our mission. Granted, we had the capacity to support our customers long before a pandemic took place; we had sufficient VPN connectivity, and MFA was readily available. Our customers have communicated outage free throughout all of this, although some of them still rely on paper-based and phone-based transactions. Burdensome processes like these cannot sustain though this new era of pandemic operational, and we are making considerable progress to address this in Nebraska. Agencies across the State will continue to digitize paper-based transactions. We will continue as we have over the past five years to automate and streamline business processes, having already invested 121,213 development hours and $15,356,353 into building and supporting a single Enterprise Content Management solution for 24 agencies.
The OCIO saw a 73% increase in SRs and 35% increase in IRs, yet the average days to close time is actually shorter compared to the month of February. The charts below show how much work, and the level of service provided by our teams. Note also, the impact of our Self-service offerings.
As we move into the Pandemic Operational era, this will be our process for IT requests:
1. Ensure that everyone across the information technology organization understands the Agencies’ needs, to support citizens, and knows how to prioritize critical tasks.
2. Support Teammates moving to a telework status, training users after installation.
3. Focus on technology resilience and continuity by placing a freeze on all non-critical changes to the enterprise technology environment.
4. Move the OCIO teammates to telework status or provide for social distancing in the office.
5. Take care of our health.
As with any change, this event adds additional stress for ourselves, and for our families.
Nothing is better than customer recognition, and in the past few weeks, I have received ample positive feedback regarding the OCIO teammates.
This comment came from our Deputy Director of Financial Institutions at the Department of Banking and Finance, Kelly Lammers.
Hope all is well with your world. From my perspective, the infrastructure is amazing. It has handled all we have recently expected and more. Thanks! - Kelly
And this, from our Parking Coordinator at Administrative Services Building Division,
I would like to commend your staff for their outstanding work performance in assisting me with my computer issues and assisting my ability to work from home. I know they’ve gone above and beyond to assist me with all my needs and have taken the time to double check on any issues that have come up. They’re fabulous and they should receive many, many thanks [from] all of us. – Roxy
Thank you for your hard work to support our customers and the State of Nebraska.