Around Town Around Town, posted by Editor, Palo Alto Online, on Jun 10, 2012 at 10:59 pm
GETTING WIRED ... Palo Alto officials often bask in the city's worldwide reputation as a global trendsetter for new technology. But things are different inside City Hall, where employees rely on 25-year-old telephones, a voicemail system so old that the manufacturer no longer supports it and a crash-prone computer network that the city's Chief Information Officer Jonathan Reichental described as "expensive to maintain" and "highly risky." Mayor Yiaway Yeh recalled when he first used the mayor's phone at City Hall in January. "It really looked like a prop from 'Barney Miller,'" Yeh said, referring to the late 1970s sitcom centered around the New York Police Department. Chuck Vondra, CEO of the consulting firm Communications Strategies, surveyed the city's facilities and described the city's infrastructure as "moth-eaten" and "rat-eaten." Vondra said the phones currently in use at City Hall have a typical life expectancy of about 10 years. "The good news is that you've been able to triple the life expectancy of the system you've been using," Vondra told the council. The other good news is that this week the City Council approved $1.8 million to replace phones and install a new and improved data network.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, June 8, 2012, 12:00 AM
Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community, on Jun 13, 2012 at 7:12 pm
There is one part of this upgrade that I hope Reichental understands.
The role of the existing IT staff in the continuation of the archaic and outdated systems. It's all they know, and that's why it's never been upgraded. They are not up on newer technology, indeed, most of the IT staff are people who couldn't find IT jobs back in the Dot Com boom of the early 90's.
It's not enough to modernize the technology, the staff needs to be modernized too.
I hope the new IT director Reichental realizes this, and I hope he is able to cut through the bureaucracy to get the staff he needs for the 21st century.