focus is on improving efficiencies for our clients; and now with a stabler system and high client demand, the time is right to make these investments," Browning said.

Former Colorado CIO Mike Locatis said focusing on the needs of the state's 64 counties was extremely important because the counties are the state's clients. "The state has that kind of middle-person role because these programs are federally mandated and funded," Locatis said, "the state is the custodian of the larger systems and processes and making sure we comply with statute and so forth. The county offices end up delivering from that hosting state's systems and processes."

Counties have been engaged since the inception in helping build and test PEAK, Browning said.

Similarly FISH's Walsh thinks county-level ideas in Minnesota could be adopted statewide. "We're starting to talk to the state about whether they'd be willing to host county solutions like this one so that we can freely share these solutions across local governments."

FISH's long-term vision is to share ideas much like its neighboring counties have. Building bridges over communication barriers and including others where they weren't included before has already caught FISH some success.

Jessica Hughes  |  Contributing Writer

Jessica Hughes is a regular contributor to Government Technology and Emergency Management magazines.