News: MISA/ASIM Canada News

Big-City IT Leaders Looking for Collective Solutions

May 4, 2013   (0 Comments)
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IT leaders from some of Canada’s largest municipalities have begun an initiative to share information about their capital projects, with the aim of helping each other through difficult new financial challenges.

Participants in the Large Municipalities Special Interest Group of MISA/ASIM Canada have decided to examine their budgeted information-technology capital projects to identify those with related or common characteristics, so that municipalities might lend expertise or resources to each other.

Roy Wiseman, executive director of MISA/ASIM Canada, is preparing a framework to analyze projects planned by the cities of Brampton, Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton, Mississauga, Montreal and Toronto for common elements.

Participants in the Large Municipalities SIG also plan to create a group of staff experts who will study the project plans and make recommendations for how the cities’ IT departments might collaborate in carrying them out.

The SIG’s most recent teleconference took place April 19 under the leadership of chair Rob Meikle, CIO of the City of Toronto. The IT executives identified several trends that are exacerbating financial pressures faced by their departments and forcing them to seek new collaborative ways to operate:

  • Vendors are focusing on next-generation products that will be offered as cloud-based services rather than products installed on-premise. In addition to other concerns with cloud-based offerings, this means that costs are shifting to operational budgets from capital budgets – so IT directors are faced with having to persuade councils that operational budgets should be increased.
  • IT departments are trying to deal with continuously rising costs of legacy systems, while vendors are resistant to offering public-sector pricing.
  • There are signs that some vendors that have traditionally provided important legacy systems might be changing their business models to move away from the municipal market.

Wiseman said municipalities need to address such issues collectively because they cannot influence decisions in the private sector individually. MISA/ASIM Canada, too, might seek to join forces with other municipal groups to seek solutions to the emerging infrastructure challenges.