Project Summary: After fielding complaints from client departments, Houston Information Technology Services assigned a green belt team to take a comprehensive look at their process for installing new network cable outlets. The team was able to identify opportunities to streamline the process using existing vendor resources while also potentially reducing costs by over $300,000 annually.
Every year the City issues hundreds of wireless devices—both cellular phones and hotspots—to employees in positions that require travel or have job responsibilities that necessitate being on call for extended periods of time. Departments have the responsibility to monitor device usage and invoicing. Until recently, however, there was no citywide guidance on what level of usage was acceptable. This condition prompted the City to analyze data for wireless devices. The biggest take-away was 30% of the City’s wireless phones, or 2,471 phones, made less than 3 calls (a month). Since this analysis, the Finance Department held several interventions to terminate unused lines and optimize parking meter lines and other wireless features.
In August 2014, Executive Insight began actively tracking the total number of wireless devices and monthly charges. The figure below illustrates historical data on wireless device counts (green area) and the monthly charges for all devices (orange line graph). Device counts and expenses have trended downward due to proactive, ongoing efforts pursued by the Finance and Houston Information Technology Services (HITS) Departments. By partnering with wireless coordinators in each department, Finance and HITS have been able to disconnect no use devices, repurpose underutilized devices, and pursue other efficiencies by adjusting the features on devices. As of December 2014, 642 devices have been terminated and 131 devices were suspended through the first five months of Executive Insight; combined with previous terminations, this leads to a projected annualized savings of $ 500,000.
Paul Fagin is a Staff Analyst for the City of Houston Finance Department and is a member of the Performance Improvement Division. Paul received his Master of Public Administration from Texas A&M University and his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Austin.