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Mobility: The Major Driver to Impact Strategic Agenda

By Robert E Day, CIO, Coast Guard

Robert E Day, CIO, Coast Guard

Elevating IT’s Relationship with Business

A perfect example of where an IT centric strategy has resulted in an overall business transformation is the Coast Guard Centralized Service Desk (CSD). I consolidated nine regional IT system help desks that operated during core business hours to one 24x7x365 facility, located in Saint Louis. I equipped the CSD with a state of the art trouble ticketing and VOIP phone system to handle IT trouble calls worldwide.  The ITIL based business process and fully transparent metrics generated have attracted numerous other business lines (logistics, HR) to close their help desks and use the CSD.

“Mobility demands an investment in both needed infrastructure and the training for a workforce that must morph from their server hugging days to cloud based, virtualization provisioning experts”

When we developed the strategy for the CSD, I insisted on a “catchy” 1-8xx phone number that Coast Guard personnel could easily remember. Numerous alternatives were proposed which I rejected. The frustrated team finally asked me what I thought would be good and I proposed 1-8xx-CGFIXIT if it was available, which it was.  The team declared victory in that this concept of 1-8xx-FIXI (nformation) T(echnology) was fantastic and the boss was satisfied. I rapidly advised them that the number was not fix information technology but FIX IT and IT could be anything and that the new CSD would eventually become the first tier service desk for almost every CG business line which is rapidly becoming a reality. I also had the team reserve 1-8xx-CGBUYIT to create an enterprise wide procurement desk which I believe will also become a key enterprise solution.

Impact of Mobility Trends

Mobility (which includes cloud, tablets, smartphones, and social media) is probably the major driver that will impact almost every CIO’s strategic agenda; if it is not your agenda, you are about to be quickly replaced. A quick scan of our society will tell you that this cannot be ignored and is rapidly changing almost every business paradigm. But way too many chase a bolt on mobility solution without realizing that mobility demands require that you first address core enterprise architecture issues; ignore these demands at great peril even if you are able to scratch the initial mobility itches of your organization.  Mobility thrives on the virtualization of core enterprise applications that a majority of the end users desires and e-mail, calendar, and contacts will satisfy them for about six months.

This rolls right into cloud which bashes right up against many of your staffs desires to hold on to the last vestiges of the legacy IT practitioners world, their servers that they have cared for years. The savvy CIO will convince both their bosses and their workforce that mobility demands require an appropriate investment in both needed infrastructure and the training for a workforce that must morph from their server hugging days to cloud based, virtualization provisioning experts.

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