South Dakota is a large state with few people, but CIO Otto Doll helped span the distance between scattered communities with a statewide radio system.
The system has more than 10,000 users, including law enforcement officers, firefighters, ambulance drivers, hospital emergency rooms, health clinics, transit bus drivers and state public safety officials.
"The state established one system where everyone can talk to anyone else," Doll said. "As one would find if you come here to South Dakota, being small, being spread out, very often we need the support, we need the resources of neighboring communities. So it was very important for us to establish something that was ubiquitous across the whole state."
South Dakota also has been quite successful at deploying technology in its K-12 school systems. "We're always able to implement capabilities, whether it's access to the Internet; high-speed access to the Internet; providing e-mail to all teachers, administrators and students; hosting their Web sites, etc.," Doll said.
South Dakota help every school in the state tap into advanced IT resources, Doll said. "We wired every school in the state, all 660 school buildings, back in the '90s. We interconnected all of them through the high-speed wiring network the state has. We have video conferencing to every high school, every junior high, a number of the elementary schools, state offices, etc.," he said. "We didn't implement it in just some school districts or some percentage -- it's 100 percent."
One principle that guides Doll's IT activities is the need to use taxpayer dollars efficiently.
"You can look at my organization's strategic plan, and you'll see the first two strategies are sort of two sides of the same coin," he said. "On one hand, of course, we want to reduce the cost of IT wherever possible, but on the other hand, we want to reduce agency cost through use of IT."
Congratulations to this year's group of "Doers, Dreamers and Drivers," who appear in the March issue of Government Technology magazine.