Resolving technical debt helps state and local agencies improve business impact

State and local agencies must spend taxpayer dollars efficiently while building a culture that supports innovation and productivity. In the recent webinar, Good to great: Case studies in excellence on state and local government transformations, Tammy Zbojniewicz, enterprise monitoring and service delivery owner within Michigan’s Department of Technology, Management, and Budget (DTMB), illustrates that meeting both objectives is possible.

During the webinar, Zbojniewicz shares how she improved business impact for Michigan’s DTMB and saved $1.4 million annually through retiring legacy technology debt and tool rationalization.

Retiring legacy tech debt drives cost efficiencies

Zbojniewicz sits within the Office of the Chief Technical Officer (CTO), which provides services to 21 executive agencies that deliver services to the citizens of Michigan.

The Office of the CTO wanted to ensure a positive citizen experience by identifying the 200+ critical applications available within their 21 executive agencies and offering application performance monitoring (APM) as a service to those agencies. APM helps ensure that citizens experience strong application reliability and performance efficiency.

When Zbojniewicz took her position, the existing monitoring tool didn’t fit well with their complex environment. The agencies resisted adopting the tool because it required significant time to configure and tune collected metrics into valuable information. Further, the toolset had been in place for 20 years resulting in high annual software maintenance and infrastructure costs.

Zbojniewicz wanted to drive APM and simultaneously decommission the legacy toolset successfully. The result was consolidation to a single tool, a significant reduction in budget expenditure, improved productivity, and staff willingness to embrace change.

Saving budget expenditures with tool rationalization

Issues arise when there are multiple, disparate tools collecting data. Because too many teams purchase their own monitoring tool sets for their own needs, data becomes siloed. Additionally, the constant and rapid pace of technology innovation causes many “best-of-breed” solutions to become outdated quickly while organizations are still paying for them.

The obvious costs of tool sprawl can quickly add up, including licensing, support, maintenance, training, hardware, and often additional headcount. Many agencies are forced to hire contractors to manage all the tools, including upgrades. A recent industry report reveals that 14% of respondents use between 50 and 199 supplementary contractors or outsourced vendor-managed IT staff to augment internal staff work. Forty-three percent of respondents plan to use more in the next year and a half.

Addressing lost productivity and employee frustration

A hidden cost caused by tool sprawl is the most expensive, also known as “the war room blame game.” More tools will lead to more voices saying, “Not my problem.” This results in slower problem resolution, lack of visibility into data, and frustrated citizens and employees.

Before adopting Dynatrace, Zbojniewicz experienced the war room approach to critical application incidents described in an earlier blog. With Dynatrace, teams can respond to incidents much faster with fewer people while avoiding the costs and confusion of monitoring tool sprawl. The team no longer relies upon siloed tools that potentially provide conflicting answers and offer limited visibility into the areas where the team can improve.

Embracing change

In the beginning, the executive agencies resisted the program, and within the first five months, only 20 of the 200+ critical applications were being monitored. As staff directly experienced the benefits of full stack observability, adoption increased. Within 18 months, all critical apps are being monitored.

Zbojniewicz now receives requests to monitor non-critical applications, and there’s a desire to monitor all 2,000 applications within their agency. She considers the uptick in adoption as fantastic feedback on the value of the investment.

Financial Impact

Zbojniewicz was able to able to show tangible value immediately after purchasing the Dynatrace platform. Through

decommissioning the infrastructure toolset, the state gained an annual net saving of $477,000 based on removing software maintenance and infrastructure costs of $2.4M over five years.

Further, the team in the Office of the CTO can do more with less. Before Dynatrace, they needed to augment staff with contractors. Now, they have been able to reduce staff by close to half. Initially, they had nine people and now achieve the same results with five people, leading to personnel savings of $900K annually.

Ultimately, Zbojniewicz has saved $1.4M annually when starting with Dynatrace.

The 21 executive agencies are also seeing the value. Their staff spends more time on code development rather than spending time on triage and bug fixes.

Observability can help state and local governments deliver a return on investment (ROI)

The right observability platform can help you manage your cloud journeys by effectively identifying evolving issues across the entire technology stack – from mainframes to multicloud environments. In the event of performance degradation, observability gives teams comprehensive, real-time insight into applications’ behavior, performance, health, and underlying infrastructure.

Ready to hear more from a state government perspective? Check out Dynatrace’s Good to great: Case studies in excellence on state and local government transformations. Register to listen to the webinar.

Whether public or private, if you’re re-platforming, rehosting, refactoring, or hybrid – for any cloud platform you choose— Dynatrace ensures success through every step of your migration journey.