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Cash-Strapped Customers Laud IBM Partner InfiniTec
By Rebecca Rohan

With local government coffers shrinking and unfunded mandates from above to buy technology that local agencies may not even want, solutions providers had better deliver something that makes a difference both to government workers and to the citizens they serve, if they want to earn the loyalty garnered by InfiniTec Inc., an IBM Business Partner.

Headquartered in Hays, Kan., InfiniTec is the leading government solutions provider for more than 60 counties and 40 cities, many of which don’t have IT departments or help desks—only a small government staff that needs its IT investment to work and keep working.

Sonny Sagar, director of marketing at InfiniTec, credits partner IBM’s technology, service and support for helping four Kansas counties—Bourbon, Geary, Jackson and Nemaha—to do more with less.

“Reliability and availability on the iSeries platform make it good for government,” Sagar said. “Governments are strapped for cash. The iServer doesn’t need an IT team.

“Once it’s configured and installed, the iSeries can be locked in a closet and left alone, and it will keep chugging away. I’ve been deploying them since their inception around 1988.”

Nemaha, Bourbon, Geary and Jackson counties each have deployed a solution consisting of IBM ThinkCentre PCs with ThinkVantage Technologies, and eServer iSeries and xSeries systems, bolstered by IBM service and support.

The iSeries is the back-end server platform, and xSeries is a separate server with a different OS you can plug into the same box as the iServer.

“I can run Linux, Windows, AIX all under the same cover,” Sagar said. “If I have the need to run a Windows server to run a GIS [Geographic Information System] application, I can plug an integrated xSeries server into the same iSeries box. Same maintenance, same box, same tape drive, same resources.”

ThinkCentre PCs are front-ends with free ThinkVantage tools such as Rescue and Recovery, a one-button, hidden operating system to save users from themselves. There’s also a downloadable System Migration Assistant that works as a GUI over USB to let individuals choose what to take off the old system, or in silent mode to migrate a large number of systems; and Access IBM, which is Web-based support.

PointerClick here to read about IBM’s i5 550, a Power5-based, four-way system targeted at midsize businesses.

A declining tax base and slashed state funding forced Bourbon County to find innovative ways to provide newly mandated state and federal programs. So, InfiniTec deployed its software modules specifically designed to run on the IBM eServer iSeries system.

InfiniTec also integrated Real Vision Imaging software into the iSeries system, helping the county staff meet public demand for records without having to increase taxes.

“Thanks to our investments in technology and the performance and stability of IBM systems, we’ve been able to keep our costs well under budget,” said Joanne Long, county clerk for Bourbon County. “With the IBM technology and InfiniTec’s assistance, we are more efficient in serving our public.”

There was a budget shortfall of more than $160,000 in rural Nemaha County, yet, “The state has requirements for upgrades, and the state doesn’t help the counties to pay for them,” County Clerk Leann Jones said.

But Jones said the more advanced the technology, the more you can do, and “We’re very happy with the program and the support we get from InfiniTec.” InfiniTec’s custom solution helped realize fewer help-desk calls and service charges, plus more services for citizens.

Next Page: Long-term planning on a short budget.

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