Pittsylvania County is located in the Commonwealth of Virginia and was formed in 1767. It is the largest county in Virginia by land area and second largest by total area at 978 square miles. Pittsylvania County is included in the Danville Micropolitan Statistical Area, with a population of approximately 60,501, as of the 2020 United States Census.

Over the years, the county’s Executive Team has recognized its demands for a robust Information Technology (IT) vision to connect, protect, and enhance the lives of citizens, business owners, and staff in Pittsylvania County.

In August 2020, Pittsylvania County partnered with Avèro Advisors to conduct a thorough analysis of strengths and weaknesses within its current IT environment, including infrastructure and technologies, funding, processes, staffing levels, and service delivery model.

To approach the project objectives of this initiative, Avèro conducted discovery sessions with various county stakeholders (e.g., City Administrator, departmental heads, business process owners).

During the candid interviews, Avèro gathered data from county stakeholders regarding their respective departments’ experience with IT in terms of service delivery and identifying some of the strengths within the existing IT environment at Pittsylvania County.

Additionally, Avèro’s technical consultants collaborated with the County’s IT staff to run a comprehensive inventory report to collect data of all county hardware, software, and network for in-depth analysis. Avèro also conducted a series of visioning sessions to capture “wish list” improvements for the desired future state, where people, process, and technology are strategically aligned to enhance services for the Pittsylvania County community and businesses.

Based on crucial findings gathered from these interactive sessions, Avèro conducted a thorough gap analysis to uncover hidden flaws and identify inherent gaps between the “AS-IS” state and the county’s aspirations for the “TO-BE” state. The team also performed an IT Best Practices Analysis to identify some best practices demonstrated by local governments to alleviate gaps similar to those identified at Pittsylvania County.

Following the current state assessment, Avèro developed the IT strategic recommendations to address the gaps and worked with the county’s executive team to finalize the IT strategies’ prioritization based upon industry best practices.

Once the county approved the prioritization, Avèro developed the IT Strategic Plan detailing each IT modernization strategy, a strategic action plan for implementation, the gaps being addressed, the resources required, any prerequisites, the estimated costs for implementation, the stakeholder groups impacted, and an impact statement. The IT Strategic Plan functions as a strategic roadmap to lead the county’s IT investment decisions over the next three years.

Completed in early November 2020, the following items were some of the IT modernization strategies that Avèro developed to assist Pittsylvania County in achieving the objectives of this initiative.

Develop a Cybersecurity Plan

The absence of a formal cybersecurity plan could lead to failure in responding to a cybersecurity attack that could significantly damage the county’s reputation and expose sensitive county and citizen data. Avèro recommended establishing a cybersecurity plan to identify policies and procedures for risk mitigation, security maintenance, and proper training on process tasks and management. The plan would also ensure the enhancement of security resiliency for the county’s remote workforce infrastructure.

Create a Comprehensive IT Staffing Plan

The county’s IT department lacked a strategic direction and visionary leadership. Avèro suggested the county identify new staffing roles for IT leadership, system administrator, HelpDesk technician, and network administrator positions to ensure that the right team members are in place to run its infrastructure and operations efficiently and securely.

Migrate On-Premise Email (Exchange 2019) to Office 365

The conflicting use of on-premise and cloud-based version of Microsoft solutions required substantial investments in hardware, cost, and labor to maintain and upgrade the infrastructure to ensure transparency and security between applications.

Avèro recommended a transition to a cloud-based platform to provide the county with reliable integration between office applications and email data while ensuring mobility, lower maintenance and administration fees, and industry compliant security. The migration to the cloud-based email server also ensured that the county would benefit from the latest Office applications as well as upgrade patches made available through ongoing access to the most current version on a user-defined, subscription basis.

Redeploy Laserfiche as an Enterprise Electronic Content Management System

The county lacked standardized policies & procedures and adequate training involving the use of Laserfiche (electronic document management system). The county pays for the electronic content management system, but the system was underutilized due to the knowledge gap between the Laserfiche vendor and county end-users.

Avèro recommended a full redeployment of Laserfiche into key business processes across all county departments to optimize the electronic document creation and management processes. This redeployment of Laserfiche into crucial business processes countywide, along with the expansion of end-user training support, would streamline critical workflows, reduce the amount of hardcopy paper passed between departments, and enhance security in document management.

Furthermore, the use of Laserfiche enabled Pittsylvania County to utilize the document audit trail function, which would incorporate version control features and allows users to review changes made to the document.

Pittsylvania County, Virginia

“Avèro is a knowledgeable, agile, and energetic partner who blends experience with teamwork to help develop solutions. They gave the county a very clear understanding of our strengths and weaknesses through an IT Strategic Plan. Also, a strong list of solutions across both the time required to implement and cost to implement spectrums. Avèro is a comfortable and trusted partner in this large endeavor that crosses many departments and stakeholders.”

Nicholas Morris

Project Manager

Pittsylvania County

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