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The vote's in: IT rules in Columbus

The City of Columbus, Ohio is applying technology in its 30 agencies to manage systems and increase responsiveness to citizens and businesses.

The city government of Columbus consists of approximately 3,700 users across 30 agencies, using a diverse mix of systems including Oracle, Computer Associates and Microsoft SQL databases running on Windows NT and Unix platforms.

As part of Y2K compliance efforts, Columbus is currently migrating from a Unisys/Banyan-based architecture to a client/server environment based on Microsoft NT and Exchange. Recently, however, Columbus decided to bring all its IT systems under centralized management to help bring discipline to its IT infrastructure. All enterprise systems are now integrated across all departments and centrally managed using Computer Associates' Unicenter TNG. Columbus-based Resource One Computer Systems and CA's Global Professional Services (GPS) division assisted in the implementation.

The new system lets Columbus' IT staff remotely distribute software and pinpoint problems earlier, as well as automate the twice-a-year inventory of IT assets. "We plan to conduct our inventories electronically instead of having to manually log in each component, saving city agencies significant amounts of time and money," according to Columbus CIO Peter Anderson.

With the new IT systems, Columbus expects to more efficiently deliver city services to citizens and local businesses. "A unified infrastucture...promotes the autonomy of each agency, yet gives the city the kind of centralized administration and control that results in higher service levels and economies of scale," said Anderson.

Columbus also hopes their IT capabilities will provide competitive advantage against other cities looking to woo new businesses to their city. Said Anderson: "As Columbus becomes recognized for its ability to manage its technological infrastructure, we expect that businesses would consider that an inducement to relocate here.

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