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A Publication Featuring The Information Services Technology of Maine State Government
|Volume VIII, Issue 1||January/February 2005|
By Tom Driscoll
"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
-- President Theodore Roosevelt
New technology at the Department of Conservation has enabled us to overcome time and distance challenges to most effectively utilize our workforce. This year, for the first time, our Bangor employees can stay local, while helping with the anticipated surge of campground reservations.
Conservation's campground reservation system commences business each February for the upcoming camping season. To date, reservations for all state park campgrounds are made in Augusta by walk-in, mail-in, phone-in, or Internet.. On-line reservations, as you might expect, are increasing dramatically each year (http://www.maine.gov/doc/parks/reservations/).
Keeping up with the demand for campground reservations is a challenge, especially during two "surge" periods each year. The first surge occurs annually in February, and the second is in the June to July timeframe. Historically, Conservation met the challenges of the surge periods by either
Thanks to technology and savvy leadership, this February it will be different!
Earlier this winter, the Departments Information Systems team worked with the Bureau of Parks and Lands business team to determine what improvements could be made to the current campground request business processes. The solution, driven by the IS team, will be to use existing staff and equipment in Bangor to remotely access the computer application served from Augusta.
This solution is now technically possible as the SQL/MS Access reservations application is served to users via a small in-house Citrix database server. Additionally, bandwidth from the newly renovated Harlow building (Fall 2004) also enables us to connect central applications real-time to our (T-1 bandwidth) field offices. Now Bangor employees are technologically enabled to work "virtually" in Augusta, and remain physically 75 miles to the north.
Without the current technology (sufficient bandwidth, and Citrix-serving of the reservations application), and the computer staff to implement this opportunity, this business solution and its savings would not be possible. Kudos also goes to the new Parks and Lands Bureau director, David Soucy of Fort Kent, who actively seeks creative technological solutions to business problems.
Because we have the technical ability to access the reservations system from any of our Parks regional headquarters (Bangor and Hallowell) via the Wide Area Network, we decided to utilize our existing people, offices, computers and phones, where we have them. We will tackle the increase in on-line reservations using what we have, and where we have it just as President Roosevelt recommended.
Tom Driscoll is the Agency Technology Officer for the Department of Conservation. He recently returned from a fifteen month camping trip to Iraq in 2003 (without a reservation). For more information see http://www.maine.gov/newsletter/dec2003/holiday_wishes_overseas.htm). Contact him with questions by e-mailing email@example.com or calling (207) 287-2610.