Transport Canada chooses Citrix for its tech overhaul

Transport Canada director general and CIO Chris Molinski told an iForum session about his department’s experience with Citrix technology, and how he got executive and user buy-in for an IT transformation that will culminate in the near future with the transition of 80 per cent of their users to thin-client computing.

When he took over in 1994, Molinski inherited a distributed environment with four separate IT shops, several wide area networks and 14 different financial systems.

“It was just a complex, unmanageable and unsustainable environment, and it became apparent to me that we needed to consolidate and rationalize,” said Molinski.

For the department’s Oracle financial platform alone, there were 16 distributed database servers and 80 client application servers across the country. They implemented Citrix Winframe in 1997, later followed by Metaframe, and Molinski said by consolidating their applications, Transport Canada was able to reduce bandwidth and deploy the application faster.

Once the staff saw the benefits, Molinski had their support for a wider overhaul. He also set up a new IT governance process, including an executive council with senior program leaders.

“I found I could get them to sponsor my projects instead of me going to sponsor them,” said Molinski. “When I go for money, the program managers go with me and show the benefits.”

Molinski said their IT transformation has been successful because they aligned IT spending with the priorities of the program managers that IT serves. It was also important to get those managers on board, using pilots to demonstrate tangible benefits and make them believers.

“People look for projects to fail, especially if [the projects change] the way they work,” said Molinski. “It’s very important to deal with it from a culture perspective because as soon as people think or perceive you’re taking something away, you get resistance.”

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