memo-01-12-2016-9e

January 12, 2016

MEMO TO:           Mayor Barber and Board of Commissioners

FROM:                  Frank A. Rush, Jr., Town Manager

SUBJECT:           Resolution Authorizing Information Technology Services Contract Extension

The Board of Commissioners is asked to approve the attached resolution that authorizes a 3-year extension of the Town’s existing information technology services contract with VC3, Inc., Raleigh, NC.  The total annual cost of the contract is $65,000, and covers all Town computing services except for the mobile data terminals used by the Police Department.

The Town has contracted with VC3, Inc. since September 2013, and the current contract expires in September 2016.  The majority of computer users in the Town organization operate in a hosted desktop environment, where all software, files, and data are stored in the “cloud” and accessed via an internet connection.  The hosted desktop environment results in several benefits for the Town, including:

  • complete portability, as each user’s complete desktop can be accessed from any location on any device with an internet connection,
  • because everything is stored elsewhere (and backed up in multiple VC3 locations), nearly all support is provided remotely,
  • easy access to data if the Town is impacted by a hurricane or other natural disaster,
  • greater network security for the Town’s information technology operations,
  • the provision of a “virtual Chief Information Officer” who essentially serves as the Town’s IT director (shared among multiple VC3 clients) and is the point person for all Town information technology issues,
  • eliminates the need for the Town to invest in expensive servers,
  • provides for automatic Microsoft Office upgrades and standardized software across the organization, and
  • most hardware is provided by VC3, eliminating the need for the Town to purchase computer hardware.

There are some less intensive computer users in the Town organization (computers used by part-time personnel, and some in-station computers used by Police and Fire personnel) who do not utilize the hosted desktop service, however, the Town’s contract with VC3 includes support for these users with remote access by VC3 staff to desktop PCs as needed.

The Town’s existing contract with VC3 expires in September 2016, however, VC3 recently approached the Town about an extension now in conjunction with necessary Police Department server services that are critical due to the age of the Town’s current Police Department server.  The contract extension would be effective February 1, 2016 and continue through January 31, 2019.

Despite some system performance and support issues early in the existing VC3 contract (that have since been resolved, with great improvement), the Town’s arrangement with VC3 has served the Town well, and is likely the most cost-effective and functional solution for the Town’s information technology needs for the foreseeable future.  The Town organization is large enough to have significant information technology needs, and relies heavily on information technology to provide high quality services, yet is still small enough that it is difficult to justify a full-time staff person devoted to information technology.  In addition, because of the complexity and wide range of specialties in the information technology field, it is unlikely that a dedicated Town staff person would have the same breadth of IT knowledge and experience as a provider like VC3 (with multiple staff persons with different areas of expertise).  Additionally, it is likely that the Town’s annual cost for IT services with a dedicated Town staff person would cost significantly more than the annual cost of the VC3 contract.

The Board should note that the annual contract cost of $65,000 is essentially equal to the current contract cost due to a few adjustments to the scope of the contract (added services associated with the Police Department server, but will be switching two Fire Department users from the hosted desktop service to a less expensive support service).  The total annual cost of the contract is also significantly less than the original contract award ($78,000) approved by the Board in 2013.  The FY 15-16 budget includes a total of $72,000 for this contract, so the contract extension is within the amount budgeted.

I recommend approval of the attached resolution.