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Project Objective

The objective of the investigation is to assist New York State Department of Transportation Main Office Information Technology Bureau (the Bureau) in assessing the needs and roles of Regional Information Technology organizations (the Regions) in order to better utilize the Department's IT resources and improve its performance. The investigation, therefore, will provide the Bureau with an integrated roadmap of the current tasks at each Region, their inter-relationships with each other and with the Bureau, and a suggested model of operation for Bureau and Regions. The model will be based on assessment metrics and benchmarks developed as part of the research.

Project Abstract

This research project is to assess the roles and responsibilities of the Regional Information Technology organizations of New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT). The Information Technology (IT) resources of NYSDOT are organized using a matrix structure. The Main Office Information Technology Bureau has an advisory role in relationship to the Regional Information Technology organizations. In order to better understand the roles and responsibilities of the Regional Information Technology organizations, their resource needs must be identified and documented. This information will enable Regional Directors and other Department managers make more efficient and effective use of NYSDOT IT resources.

Task Descriptions

The investigation will progress in three consecutive phases, as follows: Phase I: Pilot study First, representatives from the Bureau will be interviewed to understand the overarching issues and specific requirements for the investigation, and finalize an action plan for the field study with the Bureau management. The plan will determine contacts at the Regions and how the Bureau could take part in the field study at the Regions. Second, a pilot study using Region 1 will be conducted to thoroughly understand the IT environment of a Region as well as the particular issues and needs at a Region. Third, previous investigations by the Bureau and other relevant documents at the Bureau will be studied. Lastly, staff at TRB will be interviewed about the development of benchmarks and best practices for IT in regional transportation organizations. Metrics and procedures for the field study of all Regions will be developed. Results available in the literature related to the objective of this investigation will also serve as reference points for the pilot study.

Phase II: Field study Two trips will be made to each Region, accompanied by staff from the Bureau when possible. The first trip will collect facts on the Regions using interviews and document examination, including their respective IT resources, tasks/assignments, and informational inter-relationships with the Bureau as well as amongst Regions. The data will be reviewed to determine whether they are sufficient for the study and to calibrate the results across Regions. The second trip will then confirm the preliminary findings with Regions and determine their IT needs from each Region's own perspective. The metrics developed in Phase I will be used to help conduct the investigation at Regions. These two trips will take three days on average for each Region.

Phase III: Review and reporting In this final phase, benchmarks in the form of best practices from both government agencies and industry will be selected to provide criteria and guidelines for the review of the above data. The review will be conducted with the Bureau regarding the specific scope, foci, and issues that need to be addressed from the information collected. The result will be a greater understanding of the local situations from the Department's perspective, and a holistic view of IT needs and deployment for the Department. All the findings will be documented in a written report, including facts, reviews, and recommendations supported with statistics, visual illustrations, and sources. The Bureau will have an opportunity to comment on a draft report before the final version is submitted on or before August 31, 2002.

The specific tasks that will be undertaken during the field study are itemized below. 1. Develop Tools for the Research 2. Data Gathering at each Region 3. Analysis of the Data for All Regions 4. Create a Department Roadmap for IT Practices 5. Compilation of Results and final Report.



Student Involvement

Both graduate and undergraduate students will participate in the project tasks. Their involvement will include data collection, data analysis, and computer applications.

Relationship with Other Research Activities


Technology Transfer Activities

The basic strategy of investigation has three foci. First, the Principal Investigators (PIs) will engage the Bureau, as well as the Regions, throughout the investigation. The detailed design of the investigation below reflects this commitment. Second, previous work conducted by the Bureau will be studied, such as the META Group's findings on the DOT IT organization in 1999. These results will be incorporated into our investigation to the extent that the Bureau judges appropriate. Third, intensive interviews will be conducted at the Regions to understand, document, and review their current jobs and requirements. The metrics and benchmarks will be developed based on this field study strategy and consultation with knowledgeable staff at Transportation Research Board (TRB) in Washington, DC. Research literature will be reviewed in order to provide the best references in IT and organization as part of the analysis of the results and preparation of the final written report.

Benefits of the Project

The study will provide information on: (1) Current responsibilities of the Regional Office IT organizations; using best practices and benchmarks (and noting exceptions), what the roles and responsibilities ought to be; and those activities that could be out-sourced or transferred to the Main Office IT organization; (2) Regional Management expectations of the Regional IT office; (3) The role the Main Office IT should take in guiding the activities of Regional Office IT organizations and providing support; (4) Resources needed to support the recommended responsibilities of the Regional IT organizations.

Key Words

Information Technology, Information Theory