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The Town of Milton, Ontario, has been one of the fastest-growing municipalities in Canada for several years, and is projected to grow by 56 percent between now and 2025. Keeping pace with the growing needs of the Town is a constant challenge for both elected officials and employees.
I recently sat down with Frank Adili, Director of Information Technology for the Town of Milton, to explore what Hello Possible means for a forward-thinking municipality.
JM: Frank, what are your biggest challenges in keeping pace with rapid growth?
FA: I honestly think more of opportunities than challenges. Milton is a great community with great people, and we are always exploring ways to deliver new and innovative services with greater efficiency.
JM: You have an interesting way of looking at the role of applying technology to municipal services.
FA: Our mantra is to embrace change and to foster a culture to expect “Innovative Disruption”, which aren’t terms you hear very often from the mouths of public officials. But technology is now such a consistent thread throughout our lives that we believe we must constantly look for – and adopt – innovative technologies, tools and approaches to deliver better service to citizens at lower cost. My role, as IT Director, is to work with every other part of Town government, understand their needs and goals, and then champion innovative and cost-effective IT solutions that help them achieve those goals.
JM: What would be some examples?
FA: Some of our current priorities involve new document-management systems to radically cut the amount of paperwork; leveraging innovation and the Internet of Things to build “Smart” facilities; an improved human resources information system; streamlined asset management; and a new enterprise system for allowing residents to register for programs at recreation facilities.
JM: How does your use of Pure Storage fit into your approach of embracing change and disruption?
FA: I couldn’t think of a better fit. Pure has taken the storage industry and turned it upside down with its innovative approach, not just in technology but also in its business approach. The Evergreen™ Storage model, for example, is just brilliant. It’s totally disruptive to the traditional way storage has been sold, but disruptive in the best possible way.
Another way Pure fits our approach is what I call a liquid workforce, by which I mean an IT staff that can adapt to and manage new technologies as they come along. Pure Storage is so effortless to manage that we don’t need storage specialists, and we don’t have any learning curve. Anyone on staff can manage storage, and that is where IT systems need to be today.
JM: Do you find it difficult to sell the idea of disruption to your elected officials?
FA: Not if you pursue what I call predictable disruption –that is, innovative disruption with a clearly envisioned result that is in sync with the goals of the department trying to better serve citizens.
But let me tell you what really appeals to our Town officials: cost-effectiveness. And I will again cite Pure Storage as a prime example. When we were looking at a long-term plan for our storage infrastructure, we completed a total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis of extending our existing system compared to investing in Pure Storage. Over an 8-year period, our operating costs will be 93 percent lower with Pure. That’s 4.3 million dollars in taxpayer money we are not spending.
JM: That’s an impressive savings.
FA: Absolutely! And what’s even more impressive is the cost savings don’t come with any trade-offs. We don’t give up anything. In fact, we get more – greater performance, easier management and enhanced flexibility. That means more effective and efficient delivery of services, which is great news for our residents.