The journey we undertook 5 years ago to move to a Consolidated IT operating model at the State of Nebraska was by all accounts an ambitious goal. Applying the principles of the private sector to the public sector meant overcoming many competing interests. I often asked myself if the tools I had learned in business could be applied to the new environment I was in. The private sector’s entrepreneurial motivation to obtain higher profits through increased cost-efficiency made sense, and achieving these benefits meant standardization. This trade-off meant that agencies, boards, and commissions must accept this value proposition which could only be demonstrated through improved service levels and a clearly documented value proposition of cost-efficiencies. Our success or failure had to be reported, and to that end we have continued to publish our metrics every year. The positive effects of Consolidation which was accomplished in 2017 began our journey of greater customer service. Enhanced efficiencies have been demonstrated utilizing various reporting mechanisms which include in-depth cost-benefit analysis, routine performance metrics, and customer surveys.
Metrics remove subjectivity and provide the information necessary to objectively target areas of improvement and areas of success. We use metrics retrieved from our Reporting Services site to gain valuable information about our progress and to identify the areas where we can improve.
Here are links to just a few of the reports that are available:
2021 Incident and Service Requests
Our record historically has led to process improvements that increase customer service; however, data isolated from the proper analysis does not tell the entire story. Sometimes a process improvement may have a negative effect on metrics while having a positive effect on Customer Service. One such example I wrote about in my 2020 Year In Review was our successful attempt to reduce the number of calls to the Service Desk for password help through the use of our self-service password tool. The automation of support for password-related incidents in 2019 eliminated more than 80% of our password reset tickets representing thousands of tickets created monthly that were resolved immediately and lowered our average time to resolve. It artificially decreased our average resolution time in 2018 to 4.4 days and eliminated approximately 6,000 calls to the Service Desk each month. In 2019 we saw an inevitable increase in time to resolve with these short resolution customer calls and tickets eliminated.
However, since 2019 we see a steady declining trend in time to resolve.
2021 Change Requests
The objective of change management is to ensure that our services use standard procedures for handling all IT changes. IT changes can encompass hardware or software, or both, and we manage changes such as these to minimize a negative impact or related incidents that could manifest in other service offerings. The OCIO’s change success rate in 2021 was 96.8%. An area for process improvement in 2022 as our goal is 98%. Additional focus is needed on documentation and review. The changes that failed did not have a serious impact on services, but we must continue to work to improve our planning, execution, and documentation.
2021 Survey Results
For the last few years, the OCIO utilized a customer feedback survey to collect data which we analyze to improve our customer service. Collecting this data gives us an objective to measure our service delivery and provides the information necessary to make improvements.
We focus our organization on areas of improvement, and this year we exceeded the 2020 scores in every area surveyed. Significant improvements were seen in Staff Professionalism and the Service Portal Experience.
The chart below represents the results of our 2021 survey. We contacted a random sampling of 3,415 customers who had reported incidents and requested services and received 1,178 responses. Only one survey per unique user was sent; if multiple requests were made by a single user then the latest request was selected for survey feedback. The overall satisfaction score of those responses was 4.61 (out of 5).
Below are the specific categories and scores:
Availability and Reliability
The OCIO infrastructure team continues analyzing and improving server and network availability, something I wrote about Plan to Fail(over). This year the failover plan was tested with success when the Core Network availability was affected by an edge router hardware failure. The team limited the duration of the outage by routing traffic to alternate Data Center allowing for successful replacement the following weekend.
Below are the availability metrics for our key Enterprise Applications:
What’s Next - 2022 Strategic Goals
The Continuation of Service Optimization and Innovation:
- Same Sign-On for all Enterprise Applications (synchronized user IDs and passwords)
- Single solution server automation across virtual and physical systems
- Implement single authentication/identity/account management.
- Smart cloud - adopting platforms and solutions that lower total cost of ownership
- Streamlined experience for Nebraska with standard B2C (Business-to-consumer) offering
- Continue recruitment and cross training creating depth of talent and enhanced ability to respond to workforce needs
- Maintain the 5-year reduction in time to resolve requests via automation/self-service
Congratulations to the OCIO staff on achieving the highest availability numbers recorded, the highest customer service ratings since our first survey and multiple process improvement efforts and successful projects across the State. You have once again met our customers’ expectations, and this once again confirms your dedication to customer service.
As always, I appreciate your efforts to provide quality services to the State and the Citizens of Nebraska!