|Information Technology Policies|
|Subject:||Sourcing & Procurement Policy|
|Date Issued:||September 10, 2002|
|Issued by:||Director of Information Technology, as recommended by the Department Head Information Technology Steering Committee|
|Applies to:||All Departments and Agencies|
The purpose of this policy is to promote good management practice with regard to information technology resources and investments in technology.
This policy is crucial as the County Departments are reliant upon expert communications and information system technical advice and management practice for the efficient, effective, and innovative delivery of government services. The fact that qualified I/T personnel are very much in demand and that job turnover is above the norm indicates that retention of these expert resources requires special management attention and focus to avoid interruption of government services that would likely occur from an unchecked highly mobile and transient workforce.
Further, the procurement of information technology assets and infrastructure must be coordinated and managed to obtain the benefits of economies of scale, interoperability, and interchangeability to promote maximum benefits and return on investments in information technology.
The Information Technology Department (ITD) has the lead role and is responsible for developing, attracting, recruiting, and retaining highly trained, skilled, and expert information technology professionals within, and to, the County workforce. ITD is additionally responsible for guiding the procurement of information technology assets to the maximum advantage of the County as a whole. These are shared responsibilities with the County Departments in that the County Departments, and the constituents, are the ultimate beneficiaries of good information technology assets, infrastructure, and expertise. However, a lead agency is necessary to apply consistent diligence and best management practice to the acquisition and deployment of these vital resources and that lead responsibility is vested in ITD with the collaboration of the other County Departments.
To maintain accountability for the good management of the Information Technology Department the County will provide the funding for information technology resources and assets to the consuming Departments. The Departments will then have the option to engage the services, both professional and procurement, of the Information Technology Department or to acquire the necessary services and technology through other means under the provisions of this policy.
To fulfill managerial responsibilities, information technology acquisitions will be business driven and supported by strong business cases to ensure return-on-investment and the realization of tangible business benefit. ITD will develop and communicate a recommended framework for the documentation of the business case for medium and large information technology acquisition projects. The County Departments and the I/T Business Managers will utilize the developed business case framework to assess the strength of the business value associated with these information technology projects.
10.1 - Sourcing of Information Technology Services
To better manage market volatility and potential wide swings in demand for information technology resources, the planning for use of information technology resources will be conducted on an annual basis during the budget development cycle and on a longer term basis via a multi-year information technology strategic plan. Cost recovery and management for information technology services delivered internally will be conducted via the County’s adopted Chargeback Policy. The Information Technology Department’s I/T Business Managers will perform an integral role with the other County Departments in planning for the delivery of information technology related services. Any significant changes to a Department’s information technology sourcing strategies after a particular budget has been established has the potential to adversely impact budgeted resources and must be undertaken only after careful deliberations of the ramifications and impacts to the total County work force.
As it is in the interest of the County to develop and maintain a stable information technology work force, work planned and budgeted to be performed by County resources should be sourced to those resources. However, should business conditions (i.e. budgeted revenue shortfalls, unanticipated mandates for the implementation of new technologies, etc.) necessitate an alteration of planned and budgeted activities, a bias towards sourcing to internal resources will be maintained and consultation by the affected Department with the assigned or responsible I/T Business Manager will be conducted as under utilized internal resources cause total County costs to rise and are an ineffective use of developed technical and professional service capacity.
County Department demands for temporary or specialized information technology resources that exceed the existing internal capacity to supply may be sourced externally, but will be coordinated with the Information Technology Department through liaisons with the appropriate I/T Business Manager to help ensure a higher degree of confidence in achieving the desired result (in terms of quality, cost, and schedule) from the external supplier and to obtain synergies across County departments when similar demands may be leveraged to the County’s advantage. To facilitate the process of externally sourcing resources when appropriate, the ITD will maintain relationships with information technology vendors and suppliers to be knowledgeable and informed of external firms’ resources and capabilities.
As indicated above, accountability for good management of ITD for the delivery of services which may be obtained from external sources is to be exercised under the County’s adopted Chargeback Policy. Should an external source be capable of providing a particular service at a commensurate, or improved, level of service and responsiveness, an investigation of the business case to acquire the services from an external source will be conducted by the assigned and responsible I/T Business Manager(s). However, by necessity, the business case to deliver point services to a particular department must include the financial impacts to the other departments. This necessity is created by the business condition that fixed costs allocated over a smaller consuming base will result in higher costs to the other departments consuming any particular service. The decision therefore to source existing information technology services externally must include an analysis and consideration of the total costs to the County, not just the cost to a particular department.
In any case, the timeliness of service delivery and the quality of services being delivered by internal information technology professionals are vital business considerations and will be stipulated as a part of a Service Level Agreement (SLA) created under the County’s adopted Chargeback Policy. The I/T Business Managers are responsible for ensuring alignment with client Department needs for these services and adjusting priorities and staffing to afford customer satisfaction and value. Should the timeliness and/or quality of services of internal services deteriorate to the point of adverse impact upon the delivery of County government services it is reasonable and prudent for the consuming Departments to consider alternative providers and the assigned or responsible I/T Business Manager will be consulted for a remediation plan. The intent of this policy is to avoid unilateral departmental decision making which adversely impacts the other departments. However, to give due consideration to unique departmental information technology service requirements, should the internal service offerings not meet a particular Department’s needs for service and the I/T Business Manager not be able to resolve the issue to the Department’s satisfaction, the Information Technology Director and the Information Technology Steering Committee will undertake deliberations to restructure ITD’s service offerings or take other appropriate actions, such as externalizing the service delivery for the particular department.
10.2 – Procurement of Information Technology Products
The acquisition of information technology hardware and software products will be guided by the Unified Technical Architecture policy and plans. ITD will maintain vendor relationships and master procurement agreements for the products selected as a part of the Enterprise Wide Technical Architecture (EWTA) to expedite the acquisition of these products, obtain volume purchase discounts, and establish stable vendor relationships for product maintenance and support. Where best management practice for these products suggests leasing as a viable alternative to purchasing these items the Information Technology Department will establish a master leasing agreement under which individual Departments may lease, rather than purchase, the recommended products.
The acquisition of individual items of hardware and software recommended in the EWTA will be performed by the Information Technology Department at the funding Department’s request subject only to product availability from the manufacturer and/or distributor. No review by the assigned or responsible I/T Business Manager is necessary other than to support the planning of larger implementations that may necessitate the coordination of resources or the phasing of delivery and/or deployment.
Acquisition of alternative manufacturer or model hardware or software products not selected or recommended by the EWTA is discouraged, but will be procured upon appropriate business justification of need. The assigned or responsible I/T Business Manager(s) will review the requesting Department’s business case for the non-EWTA-recommended acquisition and make a determination on the strength of the business case and either approve the acquisition or notify the requesting Department of the reasons for not approving the acquisition and suggest the appropriate EWTA recommended product that should be acquired. Should the requesting Department not concur with the I/T Business Managers decision an appeal for the approval of the acquisition may be made to the Director of Information Technology. The Director of Information Technology will take the appeal to the appropriate EWTA component team for their deliberation and decision with regard to the strength of the business case for a non-EWTA-recommended acquisition. The decision of the EWTA team will be final and either approve the requested procurement or deny it.
The business case for the acquisition of hardware and software products not addressed in the EWTA plan will be reviewed by the assigned or responsible I/T Business Manager for potential enterprise impacts and the I/T Business Manager will prepare a recommendation either supporting or discouraging the acquisition. Should the I/T Business Manager find that the potential enterprise impacts are sufficient to warrant review by the EWTA team for mitigation of the enterprise technical issues the I/T Business Manager will forward the request for acquisition to the Information Technology Director and the EWTA team for their deliberations. The EWTA team will then either find that the EWTA plan should be extended to cover this functional area and define the technical issues and recommendations to guide the acquisition team, or find that the technical issues are sufficiently unique and non-impacting to the County’s technical architecture such that the acquisition may be conducted within the existing EWTA framework and guidelines. If the requesting Department does not concur with the EWTA findings an appeal may be made to the Information Technology Steering Committee for a final decision.
Business Case – a planning document that describes an information technology acquisition project and presents the business drivers, costs, tangible & intangible benefits, and technical issues associated with the project.
Enterprise-wide Technical Architecture (EWTA) – a series of documents that describe the “as-is” and “to-be” state of the County’s information technology infrastructure and applications. Its purpose is to guide the selection of new technologies during as a part of approved and funded information technology projects.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Information Technology Steering Committee – deliberate on and direct the restructuring of ITD service offerings when appropriate to ensure optimal economy and value to the County and to resolve Departmental issues with these services that are unresolved by the I/T Business Managers and/or the Director of Information Technology.
County Administrative Officer – facilitate inter-Departmental cooperation and conformance with this sourcing and procurement policy as a part of developing presentations for proposed information technology acquisitions, grants, leases, etc. to the Board of Supervisors.
Director of Information Technology – develop and communicate a framework for documenting and presenting business cases for medium and large information technology acquisition projects. Resolve departmental issues and concerns with I/T Business Manager decisions and recommendations with the assistance of the Enterprise Wide Technical Architecture team(s) and I/T Steering Committee as needed.
Information Technology Department – recruit and retain highly trained, skilled, and expert information technology resources to the County work force. Guide the procurement of information technology assets. Build and maintain vendor relationships to afford a strong understanding of external service provider capabilities. Create and maintain master purchase and/or lease agreements for products selected and recommended by the Enterprise Wide Technical Architecture plan.
County Departments – collaborate with ITD and the I/T Business Managers to build a strong and talented internal information technology work force. Maintain as strong a bias towards sourcing information technology work internal as business conditions warrant. Collaboratively plan for the acquisition of information technology products with the I/T Business Manager. Prepare business cases for the acquisition of information technology products and services.I/T Business Managers – collaborate with the County Departments to plan for the effective development and utilization of the County’s information technology work force and assets. Manage and direct the delivery and deployment of information technology resources and assets to ensure timely, high quality, and cost effectiveness of the services to build customer satisfaction and deliver business value. Review and recommend upon departmental requests for products at conflict with or outside of the Enterprise Wide Technical Architecture plan. Assist County Departments with the development of business cases for information technology acquisition projects.