INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: CITYWIDE E-MAIL

2-B
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: CITYWIDE E-MAIL
Problem Identification:
About 70 percent of City employees have access to e-mail, however, five different e-mail packages are running on city networks and many employees get their e-mail services through third-party internet service providers. In many cases, employees rely on dial-up e-mail service from Internet service providers for sending mail between departments. Standard formats for e-mail addressing do not exist. A comprehensive e-mail directory does not exist.

Recommended Action:
Implement standards-based messaging for internal and external City communications.

Classification:
Service Improvement

Functional/Operational Area:
Citywide

Estimated Annual Impact:
Cannot be Estimated

Estimated Implementation Costs:
Not Determined

Barriers to Implementation:
Lack of consistent Citywide network and the CIO’s inability to enforce standards.

Projected Implementation:
1 – 2 years

Next Steps:
Connect all department heads immediately

Analysis:
It is evident from the number of City employees using e-mail that the City recognizes the importance of this capability for day-to-day operations. The lack of a single Citywide strategic direction for e-mail has resulted in systems that do not communicate well with each other or with the general population.

Ideally, a single technology solution for the entire City would provide the most reliable, manageable, and supportable e-mail system. Since there has already been a considerable amount of money invested in e-mail, the most practical strategy is to develop a set of interoperability standards for e-mail and to allow those systems that meet the standards to remain in place, regardless of vendor or platform, until such time as replacement is necessary. These standards must address the need for a common e-mail directory accessible to all of the systems in the e-mail network and to the public.

An Internet address naming standard must also be developed and implemented. For example, if a convention such as firstname.lastname@baltimorecity.gov were adopted it would be relatively easy for anyone to determine the e-mail address of a City employee.

Implementation of a Citywide e-mail network is dependent upon two major factors: the City’s CIO must have the authority to set and enforce standards and the City’s network must be extended to provide connectivity to all departments and locations.

Over time, reducing the number of e-mail vendors and consolidating distributed e-mail servers should reduce support costs and improve security.