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Wednesday, 29 January 2014 14:55

Computing for the future

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Waynesville residents will soon be reaping the benefits of an information technology makeover at town hall. While town employees will be happy to see the last of the decades-old computers some of them have been using, residents will notice an increase in the forms, calendars and updates posted on the town’s website. 

 

“We have grown with our use of technology faster than we internally could keep up with it,” said Marcy Onieal, town manager. “A lot of what the hardware work will be is making our systems more robust, ensuring redundancy and security.”

Currently, the town places all the responsibility for updating and maintaining the website with one person, meaning that there’s a limit to how current and interactive the content will be. The overhaul will spread that responsibility out, so the town will have a greater capacity to use tools such as an online calendar for inspections or to post news releases. 

The town has completed the contracting process and is currently meeting with the contracting company, Columbia, S.C.-based VC3, to plan the transition from its previous contract with New Meridian Technologies. The contract, which will cost $18,000 per month, was completed Jan. 23. For the same price that the town might have hired a couple IT professionals and bought its own equipment, Onieal said, it’s getting an array of specialists and foregoing the worry of owning its own workstation equipment. 

“This is like having an IT department of 80 or 90 people,” she said. 

The overhaul will also include a transition to a cloud system, in which VC3-owned desktops consist of a monitor and a keyboard, with no CPU. Instead, VC3 will store the town’s information in an off-site server. 

The town will also upgrade its network capacity and internet speed, and town employees’ email addresses will eventually change from @townofwaynesville.org to @waynesvillenc.gov. The cost for the network hardware to make these changes was $70,000. 

In addition, employees will eventually be able to access forms, policies and other information through an employee portal. 

“Down the road, I think we will gain the benefits of the fact that VC3 does specialize in municipal support,” Onieal said. “We don’t have to reinvent the wheel with VC3 because they already have experience doing this.”

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