More than 1 million people have signed up to receive digital updates on critical information from IN.gov, Indiana’s state website, according to a state announcement last week.

Through the state’s home page, monthly e-mails and SMS messages for updates from departments such as Indiana’s Transportation and Health departments are sent out to the registered users.

Indiana’s Office of Technology launched the site in 2008, which is managed through GovDelivery Digital Communications Management, a software-as-a-service solution for enterprisewide communication. According to Indiana, the state is the first in the country to reach 1 million registered users through GovDelivery.

Prior to the launch, the Office of Technology spent one year working with state agencies involved in the project, said IN.gov Director Robert Paglia.

“We went to each agency and met with them individually and talked with them about what their digital communication needs were,” Paglia said. “And what information are their constituents most interested in knowing about.”

Now, the state’s home page links to more than 100 state government websites that provide information about Indiana’s 82 state agencies. Overall, the site provides access to more than 1,600 customized subscription topics for users to receive updates and announcements from those state agencies.

But is having 1,600 separate subscriptions topics too many? Paglia said because each of the 82 agencies has roughly six subscription pages, he believes 1,600 is a good amount. To prevent from keeping unutilized subscription topics active, the state’s Office of Technology tracks statistics on how often an agency sends out information through a subscription topic.

“If there isn’t an active push of information to our customers, we go back to the agency and ask them if this is an item that should be a subscription item,” Paglia said.

If an agency then decides to discontinue sending out routine updates through a specific subscription topic, recipients of the subscription topic would receive a message explaining the updates will be removed and that they’d no longer receive the updates.

Sending updates and critical information digitally has in turn drastically reduced physical mailing, printing and postage costs, Paglia said. Within the first six month’s of the site’s launch, the state saw a return on investment between $200,000 and $250,000 through reduced postage, printing and mailing costs, and the state has seen annual savings of nearly $200,000. 

Sarah Rich, Staff Writer Sarah Rich  |  Staff Writer

In 2008, Sarah Rich graduated from California State University, Chico, where she majored in news-editorial journalism and minored in sociology. Since 2010, Sarah has written for Government Technology magazine and covers a spectrum of public-sector IT topics, including cloud computing, transparency, broadband, and other innovative projects and trends. She currently lives in Sacramento, Calif.