Texas has tapped Deloitte as the primary developer for its Texas.gov digital services platform, with both the state and the company saying they have big plans to enhance the site in the coming months.
This development process will yield the third iteration of Texas.gov, which is the state’s primary digital services platform, and officials said their chief hope for the new work is to enhance the quality and the simplicity of digital government services available to constituents.
“Our goal is to provide a platform for government agencies to offer digital services to their constituents,” wrote Texas CIO Todd Kimbriel in an email, “and enabling new technologies like cognitive computing.”
Indeed, cognitive computing and the use of AI is an emerging trend in the gov tech market. For Texas, foremost among the plans to use that technology is the development and launch of a new personalized digital assistant that state officials said they are currently referring to as “My Government My Way.” The first iteration of this digital assistant may be available to users as soon as this fall.
Chris Keel, a principal at Deloitte Consulting, said the ultimate objective for his company’s work on the new iteration of Texas.gov is to create a one-stop-shop for state government, within which users can have an easy and seamless experience that centralizes all services.
This sort of centralization is a goal many state governments have begun moving toward in recent years. Traditionally, services in nearly every state have been split among different websites for separate public agencies. For example, a user might find themselves visiting one portal to do business with the Department of Motor Vehicles, visiting another to learn about paying taxes and visiting a third to get information about business licensing.
States ranging from Georgia to Utah to Ohio — and now Texas — have recently begun shifting toward centralized digital services platforms that make conducting business online more convenient for their residents, who often don’t understand the nuanced differences between various agencies, let alone their websites.
Keel said the work on Texas.gov takes all of this into account.
“Even with the portal today, the citizen has to know a little bit about how the state is organized,” Keel said. “If you want to renew your driver’s license you almost have to have a renewal notice from [Texas Department of Public Safety]. Texas also has a lot of new people moving to the state, and it can be confusing. The vision is to remove all clutter from the citizen’s point of view and make it very simple and streamlined, don’t let them worry about what the DMV does versus the Department of Registration.”
Kimbriel echoed these sentiments, saying that with the next Texas project, “the value and benefits of the shared services model have been realized at both the enterprise and agency level.”
Deloitte replaces NIC as the primary developer on this new iteration of Texas.gov. In an email, Kimbriel said “it was a competitively bid contract, according to Texas government code, and Deloitte was awarded the contract as a result of scoring higher than other respondents.”
Deloitte is taking over portal operations, development and maintenance services, while NIC will continue to deliver payment processing services to the state. This will mark the largest state government digital services project to date for Deloitte. Keel noted that while Deloitte is “involved in the margins with a number of states,” that for its work on Texas.gov, it will primarily draw from the work it has done in the digital space with major clients in the private sector.
Texas CIO Todd Kimbriel recently spoke to Government Technology at NASCIO about his work. Here's what he had to say: