Los Angeles CIO Ted Ross, photo courtesy of e.Republic

The city of Los Angeles IT department will lose almost half its employees when they retire over the next few years. With this loss of personnel, the city will also lose institutional knowledge or information and details about how systems work and workarounds in those systems. This information is vital to the efficiency and culture within an office.

“About 50 percent, five-zero, of my department is eligible to retire within a year, so you can imagine there’s going to be a very large changeover in those IT resources,” Los Angeles CIO Ted Ross told Techwire.

While many other local governments and even the state are struggling to solve the same problem, L.A. has created a repository for IT knowledge. The program, known as ServiceNow, is the help desk for the city.

“While ServiceNow is very useful as an IT service management system, in which you can take problem tickets, you can track trends, you can run change management and these other kinds of capabilities, it’s also a very powerful knowledge base,” said Ross.

For each service ticket, an error code and its resolution are recorded. Notes can be added by staff members handling the ticket. More information will be documented as employees prepare to leave the department, including maps of fiber optics, procedures and device locations.

“It’s a very simple concept that can be very powerful,” said Ross.