SDN Journal Authors: Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Destiny Bertucci, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, @DXWorldExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Standardizing and Centralizing Data Assets

Providing IT managers & commissioners visibility into software development activities across the enterprise of state government

I was asked by Mr. Peter Hastings (NH DoIT Commissioner) to document the benefits and activities behind the Standardization and Centralization Initiative (SACI). This initiative concerns the standardization of the software configuration management tool, defect tracking tool and standardizing production compiles across the enterprise of state government. In addition this includes the storage of assets for disaster recovery purposes, securing and controlling state source data assets, intellectual property and mission-critical data assets across the enterprise of state government.

This article will cover how the State of NH is working to save money in efficiencies related to standardizing and centralizing state data assets. Every state wants to save money for its citizens and stakeholders but saving money in state government can be a very challenging task. The fact that every agency in state government is basically its own separate entity makes this even more difficult. Initiatives of this size and scope can be complicated to implement if agencies don't understand the value and don't feel the need to cooperate or collaborate to achieve success and understand that the savings is in their best interest. In today's economy no one wants to spend any money to achieve any savings to begin with because they don't have the money to make any capital investments.

Attempting to standardize any process, tool or initiative across the enterprise of state government is no easy task. The Standardization and Centralization Initiative (SACI) is no exception. This project standardizes the Software Configuration Management (SCM) tool across the entire enterprise of state government, secures, controls and centralizes all state source data assets, intellectual property and mission-critical assets for state government and for disaster recovery purposes, meeting the Federal COOP requirements as set forth by Homeland Security.

To introduce a directive of this magnitude speaks to the courage of Commissioner Peter Hastings for taking on such a challenging initiative across the enterprise of state government. You need a leader who can communicate effectively to the agency heads that there is value in this initiative that will ultimately lead to savings across the enterprise. The State of NH will receive many benefits from this initiative and there have been many hurdles to achieving such a huge undertaking. This initiative reflects the understanding of Commissioner Peter Hastings to address enterprise-wide level inconsistencies that cost the State of NH money and realize a cost savings instead.

This initiative establishes a centralized virtualized repository environment for all state software assets. It standardizes the Software Configuration Management (SCM) tool, Defect Tracking tool and formalizes production compiles across the enterprise. This initiative set in motion by Commissioner Peter Hastings at the State of NH is transforming state government software development activities across the enterprise of state government thereby streamlining processes and saving resources, time and money for the citizens of NH and the stakeholders of state government software development activities. I don't see any initiative like this taking place or being tackled anywhere else in the country on a state level and over the long term this will potentially save the State of NH perhaps millions of dollars.

Business Problem and Solution
Prior to the implementation of the SACI (Standardization and Centralization Initiative), state source data assets were spread across the enterprise of state government anywhere and everywhere. No one really knew where all the assets were truly located. State developers would leave for other opportunities and managers would hire a new developer and not be able to point the developer to the latest greatest application source assets for a specific project. Some developers were storing assets on their local drives, others on shared drives and no one knew where they were placed. Others stored these valuable assets on CDs and DVDs, which could be lost, and local drives, which can crash, and assets would be misplaced and lost. This resulted in a lot of state money being expended to re-create these assets again.

Let's just say a lot of state resources, time and money can be wasted this way: lost code, overwritten code, deleted files, no source code control, restores of assets and many flavors of other types of source code control tools contained within a silo across the enterprise. This can apply really to any organization.

Commissioner Peter Hastings realized quickly once becoming Commissioner that if he standardized and centralized all of the state's assets - whether they be source data assets of application source code, intellectual property related to applications that are supported inside and outside of state government, and secured and controlled state mission-critical assets in a centralized repository - that this would save the state a lot of money.

Commissioner Peter Hastings provided a directive to implement the Standardization and Centralization Initiative (SACI) and save money on activities related to software development and transform state government with more status accounting of software development activities across the enterprise of state government. There is visibility into software development activities that did not exist before this initiative.

The direction was to place all existing physical servers housing software assets and software developers across the enterprise in a virtual environment on one server and on one standard tool across the enterprise to centralize the state source data assets, intellectual property and mission-critical assets.

There is a cost savings to the state with this initiative alone with fewer software configuration management (SCM) servers in technical support and electricity and a myriad of other savings I'll speak to later. This initiative would centralize and standardize the users, licenses, assets and support across the enterprise for software development activities.

Improvement to Government
Intellectual property is a valuable commodity and it needs to be secured and controlled. The Federal government realizes this as well with some of the problems experienced with NSA securing metadata for the gathering program for phone calls, emails, etc. Standardizing tools and centralizing assets to reduce cost and streamline software development activities makes sense on so many levels (reduction in support, fewer physical SCM servers to maintain and support, less electricity, less software to install, fewer operating systems to maintain, fewer servers to back-up, easier to maintain SCM licenses, less of a learning curve for developers from one state agency to another on an SCM tool, more formalized development, more disciplined development, status accounting now available on software development activities, common code library can be shared to reuse code, future upgrades to the clients are easier, standard defect tracking being used which is centralized, etc.). All these savings add up and benefit state government in managing the cost of software development activities.

In addition when all users are in a centralized virtual environment the cloud concept can now be applied from within the standardized Software Configuration Management (SCM) tool to reuse common functionality code across the enterprise. A common code library for common functionalities between agencies across the enterprise can be set up and code that could be shared, reused, understood can all be under the secure umbrella of SCM.

Standardizing the Software Configuration Management tool allows groups to be created that have certain levels of access all the way down to a process or a file. It's easier to allow some teams or many teams to browse this library of shared common code. It also educates other teams on how one team versus another might be developing common functionalities. It can save the state money rather than reinventing the wheel on common functionalities already written by another development team.

This initiative saves the state resources, time and money on development activities:

  1. All state source data assets are centralized - diminishes the overhead of physical support.
  2. All processes are standardized by the use of one product to support multiple platforms. When a tool has a generic repository that houses any type of data asset any development platform can be secured and controlled. In large organization there can be legacy platforms that have to be sustained sometimes for years and a generic repository supports that effort.
  3. Allows movement of a developer from one project to another with more flexibility.
  4. Common functionality libraries can be set up for all development platforms (Visual Studio, PowerBuilder, Java, etc.) so that all developers can have access to reusable code under a SCM secure umbrella.
  5. Provides transparency to all managers with a view into a life cycle as to what developers are working on in any SCM State across the enterprise of State government.

Many large organizations have too many varying methods, tools, and processes and this creates silos of development, which overall is counterproductive to the whole. This makes it harder to not only know what the team(s) are doing or developing in or have access to or to interchange that skill set with another development team.

When all developers are using the same tool they can easily be provided access to another project via the secure cloud of the standardized SCM tool and work any project and have a much smaller learning curve by not leaving the development environment but seeing a new project in their view in the SCM tool.

When all users/developers are on one server that contains all the licenses for the tool and the assets are centralized and the SCM tool is standardized, the state can save money in various ways on activities related to software development and transform state government with more status accounting and visibility into software development not only for state developers but contractors as well.

The following is a list of the benefits of this project to State Government: Standardization and Centralization Imitative (SACI):

Benefits of the Project:

  1. This project will standardize the state's Software Configuration Management (SCM) Tool so that one product is being used by all agencies and this will save the state time, money and resources by having one tool across the enterprise to support.
  2. Provides the state with a smaller learning curve from software development team to software development team across the enterprise and allows software developers to save time by not learning a different tool from agency to agency. This allows for more focus on software development activities for application development.
  3. Allows for cloud software development to occur in a secure umbrella of SCM and allows for reuse of source code to save the State time, money and ultimately resources on software development activities. Prevents re-inventing the wheel on common functionalities.
  4. Allows for software developers to be interchanged between agencies more easily without the need to learn a new SCM tool for software configuration management activities.
  5. Precludes lost source code (source data assets, intellectual property, mission-critical assets) from agency to agency that saves the State time, money and resources over the long term.
  6. This will save the state money on electricity as well because all software developers will be on one virtual server versus three or four physical servers. Power consumption is a big deal with servers. It takes a great deal of energy to keep them cool and running.
  7. This will save the State money in terms of manpower as well with only one virtual server to maintain and back-up and one operating system to maintain and support rather than three or four.
  8. Saves the state money with all state data assets, intellectual property and mission critical assets centrally located rather than spread out all over the place across the enterprise.
  9. This methodology allows for better control of disaster recovery to meet Federal COOP requirements across the enterprise when it concerns State source data assets and intellectual property. These requirements are set up by Homeland Security to maintain business continuity.
  10. This allows state managers more visibility into software development activities and allows for better time management of these resources. It removes the silo effect.
  11. Standardize Defect Tracking for all state agencies so that one tool is used across the enterprise for all reporting against application development. This centralizes reporting.
  12. Standardize production compilations so that compilations and debugging issues are minimized across the enterprise for software development activities.
  13. When contractors use our standardized tool we have greater insight into their software development activities and at least have the assets secured and controlled within state government.
  14. When contractors use our standardized tool and house the State assets within our infrastructure it allows State software developers to shadow contractors and parallel the contractors work so that when the contract is complete State staff can sustain the application. This saves the State money because state staff can do the work cheaper than contractors.
  15. Harvest SCM integrates with all the software development platforms that we use here at the State today even legacy applications. So, one tool rather than a myriad of tools can perform the task of SCM and this saves the State time and money with only one tool to support across the enterprise and it takes only two people to support the entire infrastructure across the enterprise.

The final result is one virtual software development server, which would include intellectual property of various types (application code - VS, PB, Java, docs, etc., or Oracle code, SQL code, Access, etc.) and mission-critical assets.

In Summary
What will have been achieved across the enterprise:

  1. Centralized State Data Assets across the Enterprise of State Government
  2. Centralized Data Asset Repositories
  3. Standardize Software Configuration Management (SCM) Tool
  4. Standardize Application Compilers - OpenMake
  5. Standardize Defect Tracking System
  6. Created Common Code Library for Common Functionalities
  7. Provide Status Accounting and Auditing of SCM projects
  8. Provide IT Managers and Commissioners visibility into Software Development Activities across the Enterprise of State Government

It's difficult to measure these savings in terms of real dollars today (ROI) but the savings can be measured by the streamlining of software development activities across the enterprise. The increased efficiency and quality improvements as well as a reduction of errors and or duplicative efforts are the real payback to this initiative.

My background is that I have been working in Software Configuration Management (SCM) for a few years now and I am presently, the administrator of SCM at the State of NH. SCM is a process-based Software Configuration Management (SCM) tool for managing application source code, intellectual property and mission critical assets. In this capacity I also secure these assets for disaster recovery purposes. I manage 400 plus applications housed in SCM and support 400 users using the product. The development tools we currently use are PowerBuilder PBV8, PBV11 and 12; Visual Studio 2003, 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2012; Eclipse, Juno, RAD, Mule, Cold Fusion, Java, COBOL and VB.

As the Software Configuration Manager (SCM), I provide the administration of the source code management tool. This includes the entire infrastructure of the environment for development, developing life cycles, providing best practices, procedures, processes, documentation; defect tracking, disaster recovery, maintaining build machines and the training of all the developers on proper source code management using the development tools in our development environment.

More Stories By Al Soucy

Al Soucy is software configuration manager at the State of New Hampshire's Department of Information Technology (DoIT). In that role Al manages software configuration for dozens of PowerBuilder applications as well as applications written in Java, .NET, and COBOL (yes, COBOL). Al plays bass guitar, acoustic guitar, electric rhythm/lead guitar, drums, mandolin, keyboard; he sings lead and back up vocals and he has released 8 CDs.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@CloudExpo Stories
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Kevin Jackson joined the faculty of CloudEXPO's "10-Year Anniversary Event" which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City. Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized cloud computing expert and Founder/Author of the award winning "Cloud Musings" blog. Mr. Jackson has also been recognized as a "Top 100 Cybersecurity Influencer and Brand" by Onalytica (2015), a Huffington Post "Top 100 Cloud Computing Experts on Twitter" (2013) and a "Top 50 C...
Digital transformation is about embracing digital technologies into a company's culture to better connect with its customers, automate processes, create better tools, enter new markets, etc. Such a transformation requires continuous orchestration across teams and an environment based on open collaboration and daily experiments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alex Casalboni, Technical (Cloud) Evangelist at Cloud Academy, explored and discussed the most urgent unsolved challenges to achieve fu...
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that "Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO" has announced that its Call for Papers is now open. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Financial enterprises in New York City, London, Singapore, and other world financial capitals are embracing a new generation of smart, automated FinTech that eliminates many cumbersome, slow, and expe...
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
Evan Kirstel is an internationally recognized thought leader and social media influencer in IoT (#1 in 2017), Cloud, Data Security (2016), Health Tech (#9 in 2017), Digital Health (#6 in 2016), B2B Marketing (#5 in 2015), AI, Smart Home, Digital (2017), IIoT (#1 in 2017) and Telecom/Wireless/5G. His connections are a "Who's Who" in these technologies, He is in the top 10 most mentioned/re-tweeted by CMOs and CIOs (2016) and have been recently named 5th most influential B2B marketeer in the US. H...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of bus...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
@DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises - and delivering real results.