Philly IT Chief Talks Vision / Savings

Government Technology has an interesting piece with City of Philadelphia CIO Allen Frank.

Frank lays out his vision for the City of Philadelphia, and also speaks in detail about how it will be funded – his ambitious plan depends almost entirely on savings that will teased out of existing IT operations:

The biggest piece of low-hanging fruit, in terms of cost savings is consolidation, of course. ‘We are consolidating IT in a very careful way, but it will drive down costs immediately,’ Frank explained. With almost 750 servers in nearly 20 data centers, Frank figures he can wring major efficiencies out of the status quo. Some of the so-called data centers reside in departments with as few as five servers, but have their own IT staff, including a server administrator. ‘In a best-practice scenario, I should be able to manage 100 servers with just one guy,’ he said.

I was also impressed to hear Frank talk about the potential of virtualization technologies for public sector entities like Philadelphia (this is something I’ve talked about before on this blog):

In addition, Frank wants to ramp up the use of virtualization, which will let the city get more use out of the servers it keeps and run multiple applications from different departments. The days are over when each city department needs to have its own servers housed in its own building.

I couldn’t agree more. Here’s hoping that more governments take the same approach to identifying savings in their existing IT infrastructures, and reinvest the savings in products and practices that will improve service delivery.