Problem Identification:
The Municipal Telephone Exchange reports to the City Comptroller’s Office. It has been reported that procuring services has been frustrating and slow, typically taking a month to get a phone line and several months to get high- speed data communications lines. Network and voice communications cabling in City facilities are maintained separately due to the separation of the telephone exchange from City IT direction. This results in extra costs from maintaining two separate wiring infrastructures, and coordination issues between the departments and the telephone exchange.

Recommended Action:
Shift the management of the Municipal Telephone Exchange to the City’s IT department.

Cost Savings, Organizational

Functional/Operational Area:

Estimated Annual Impact:
Cannot be Estimated

Estimated Implementation Costs:
Not Determined

Barriers to Implementation:
The Municipal Telephone Exchange reports to the City Comptroller, a separate citywide elected official.

Projected Implementation:
180 days

Next Steps:
Determine legal basis for current organizational structure and pursue meetings with the City Comptroller’s Office regarding the governance of this function.

The Municipal Telephone Exchange has reported to the City Comptroller’s Office since the 1920’s’an organizational structure developed long before computers and computer networks existed. Separation of voice technology from information technology, however, is no longer appropriate for the following reasons:

– Data connectivity between City departments and the external world is accomplished through public network connections using transports common to both voice and data;

– Internal building wiring infrastructures for voice and data should be developed with a cohesive architecture to facilitate installation, maintenance, and ultimately reducing costs; and

– Increasingly, voice data is becoming digital data. This convergence of voice with data will eliminate the differences between connections for the two services, making a single network connection the conduit for both types of traffic.

It is becoming increasingly imperative that management of voice systems be aligned with management of information technology networks. Bringing the Municipal Telephone Exchange into the IT department would accomplish that proper alignment.

Cost reductions through the implementation of this recommendation would be realized through:

– Consolidation and coordination in the development of building wiring infrastructures;

– Consistent architectures and standards for data service types and bandwidths from carriers; and

– Analysis and elimination of duplicate or unnecessary services.