U.S. Mint rebounding from technology deficiencies

Thursday - 6/23/2011, 10:17pm EDT

Goutam Kundu, CIO, U.S. Mint

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By Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

When the U.S. Mint releases a popular new coin, say the quarters celebrating each of the states, the agency's back end infrastructure cannot handle the rush.

Goutam Kundu, the Mint's chief information officer, called the e-commerce infrastructure fragile and it leaves citizens frustrated when they want to buy coins online.

Kundu, who has been CIO since January 2010, has focused on remaking the Mint's IT infrastructure from the front end to the back.

When Kundu first came to the Mint, the agency suffered from as many as 50 network infrastructure outages a month that affected five or more users.

Kundu began implementing the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework to improve the governance and oversight of the agency's systems. Now, by bringing in ITIL, he said the number of outages is 10 or less over the last six months.

"It was a challenge," he said. "We had siloed applications. We had multiple monitoring tools that weren't integrated and weren't seamless. We were not aware of servers and threshold violations in terms of CPU memory. When we started bringing in these tools and processes, it was just not just a matter of plugging in new technologies and tools. It was a discipline. It was making sure the responsibility and accountability lied with everyone."

With the back end infrastructure starting to show signs of progress, Kundu is turning his attention to the e-commerce systems.

The Mint will release a request for proposals in the coming months to replace its e-commerce system that would integrate customer's interaction whether it's online, through the phone or in person.

Kundu said the Mint is in the market research phase, but would like to move this system to the cloud. He said the agency would like to buy new customer relationship management system, data analysis and other tools through a software-as-a-service contract.

Another focus area for Kundu is on applications. He estimated the Mint has about 1,500 applications running across the agency.

Kundu said he would like to cut at least half of them over the next few years.

"We have multiple asset management systems, multiple work order systems and other duplicative system and our goal is to bring that list down," he said. "It's not cost effective to have data in multiple systems. It's a nightmare to integrate."

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