MOM lets the guys have coffee

Since network outages became a rarity at Australia’s Greater Shepparton City Council, the 300-plus end users like to joke the IT team sit around all day drinking coffee. But it is a far cry from the days when its IT team was “stressed out” and operating in “break/fix mode”.

The council’s manager of technology, Rod Apostol, said the perception is “great”, because previously the five-member IT team was reactionary when it came to managing hundreds of workstations spread across different sites.

He said the council recently purchased Microsoft Corp.’s Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) and System Management Server (SMS) which lets the team resolve outages in real time without users even knowing there is a problem.

“Previously, whenever the server was about to die we would have users ringing to report problems so we were busy managing the phones while trying to identify the problem,” Apostol said.

The purchase was the result of an audit by the Auditor General’s Office which highlighted the need for government agencies to implement forward planning strategies. He said the Audtior General’s recommendations all have to be completed by December this year.

The IT team has reduced response times to end user problems from 26 minutes to six minutes and handles 96 per cent of all user network problems remotely.

“We have also achieved a 15 per cent improvement in network performance and we have 99.999 per cent uptime,” Apostol said.

But what is “laughable”, according to Apostol, is that the council’s purchase totalled A$6000 (US$3,557) compared to other vendors which pitched solutions as high as A$90,000 (US$53,360).

He said it took half a day to implement; IT is no longer relying on “gut feel” when a crash is imminent.

Shepparton is in the heart of Victoria’s Goulburn Valley and is the fourth largest provincial center in the state.