Digital States Survey 2018: Raising the Bar

The results of this year's survey show that top states prioritize collaboration, good governance and strong citizen engagement in their use of technology to serve the public.

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Click through for our detailed write-ups on each state.


State technology leaders are looking to knock down some walls.

In the 2018 Digital States Survey from the Center for Digital Government,* states have implemented IT strategies to enable inter-agency cooperation. They’ve bolstered data-sharing across government, built cross-functional platforms and taken a range of steps to dramatically enhance the citizen experience.

“As a citizen, if you need three services from government, you don’t always know what agencies those services are supposed to come from,” said Teri Takai, executive director of the Center for Digital Government. “Wouldn’t it be nice if you could put your information in once and you could use that for your income taxes, for your driver’s license, for the camping website? We see a move toward using technology to ease that interaction. That is proving a primary driver.”

This happens in part by taking data out of siloes. It also happens by migrating off of legacy systems and onto more readily sharable cloud services.

There have been challenges along the way, as agencies strike out on their own to embrace off-the-shelf cloud solutions, sometimes going outside the usual IT pipeline to acquire these services. “The CIOs don’t want to be saying no, because many of these tools are very useful, but they also know that having too much software can sometimes make a problem worse,” Takai said. “They’re clearly thinking about how they can bring security to this very different environment.” 

In the big picture, this year’s A-grade states — Utah, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Georgia — show a readiness to embrace the ever-expanding role of the government technology leader. No longer content to merely provide tech support, IT chiefs increasingly are collaborating with agencies over fundamental questions that impact government operations and citizen services. 

“The CIOs are working very, very hard to engage directly with the business side, with the agencies and the folks who are in both policy roles and delivery roles,” Takai said. “They are putting in place governance models that have them working more closely with the cabinets: governance around cybersecurity, governance around project management. They continue to move away from being just the technical guys and into this much broader role.”

Utah

For Utah CTO Dave Fletcher, a platform approach offers the surest way to bridge the gap between disparate systems, diverse agencies and dissimilar user groups. 

“If we have 100 different solutions for something, they all become siloed. We don’t have the ability to manage such a complex environment,” he said. “A platform approach reduces our cost and it enables us to focus more.” 

Those platforms include a single sign-on system that stretches across all state agencies, and a statewide payment gateway that integrates with a vast array of individual agency solutions. Software-as-a-service likewise serves as a key facilitator, enabling easy interoperability among multiple services.

Fletcher said the platform approach has helped the state to rapidly adopt emerging technologies, including Alexa-type virtual assistants, which Utah uses to deliver information on fishing hot spots, as well as to help citizens prep for driver’s license tests and notary exams. “Because we already have APIs developed that connect to back-end data, we can roll out solutions on top of that and take on these new platforms. It simplifies that whole process,” he said. 

The platform approach likewise enables citizens to interact more effectively with government. Take for instance the single sign-on system, which encompasses some 900 digital services. “When we roll out solutions, people automatically have access. You don’t have to recreate the whole identity and access structure for every new solution that we bring online,” Fletcher said.

Individual agencies benefit too. Take for instance the statewide payment gateway, a shared architecture with common APIs that works in tandem with a shared financial system. Freed from the burden of creating and maintaining their own accounting infrastructures, “agencies can focus more of their efforts on the individual business missions,” Fletcher said.

State IT leaders also have invested in an emerging “ecosystem platform” approach, in which whole business functions can access a shared and common infrastructure. “In health care, for instance, we can integrate with hospitals and clinics and doctors’ offices using common APIs and services, with a shared data and analytics platform to analyze those transactions,” he said.

Looking ahead, Fletcher said the state will apply this same approach in the emerging Internet of Things arena. “We have a lot of IoT activity, we have sensor networks to monitor air and water quality, we have a connected vehicles initiative,” he said. An IoT platform could help to bring all these efforts to fruition efficiently and cost-effectively.

Michigan

David DeVries has been busy building connections on the back end.

As director of the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget and state CIO, he helped implement a new Enterprise Resource Planning system that spans multiple state agencies. “We replaced the entire back office of how you pay people — both employees and vendors — with a single ERP system that is hosted in the cloud,” he said.

Another major migration unified all state systems — some 50,000 user endpoints — on Windows 10. “We took an effort that was slated to run through 2021 and we are now completing that this year,” he said. “We accelerated it by making it a business proposition: This is how you can standardize the workforce so they all have the same screen, and I as the CIO have a common security platform that I can manage across the board.”

The state has undertaken a parallel effort on the citizen-facing side, putting in place a common look and feel across all its public apps. “We are going to have a single sign on for the system, so if I give you my credentials once, when I sign back on to get my hunting license or my fishing license I can use that same credential. We’re not totally there yet but we have made a lot of strides,” he said.

In order to implement these large-scale efforts to harmonize systems, DeVries has had to win stakeholder buy-in from across government. He’s done this by attacking IT problems from the perspective of risk management, an analytic approach that he said has helped bring clarity to the process.

“Risk management is a fundamental way for leaders to talk about sensitive topics without it becoming personal. You talk about the overall risk to the organization. If you can articulate that, you can discuss tradeoffs in a rational way,” he said. “If you can do that, then they can begin to move toward an enterprise capability, a corporate capability."

Missouri

Acting Missouri CIO Richard Kliethermes sees IT modernization unfolding across a range of Missouri agencies.

Take for instance the Medicaid eligibility process, previously characterized by “a tremendous amount of paperwork,” Kliethermes said. A new online portal dramatically streamlines that process both for citizens applying for benefits, and for the departments that handle those requests.

The Department of Economic Development has seen similar upgrades in its job bank resources. Here, the IT department was able to integrate information from multiple government sources in order to forge a more seamless process. “We created more tightly coupled interactions with businesses seeking employees, while also making it easier to connect citizens with businesses that want and need an increased talent pool,” he said.

Another effort helped the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to overhaul its unemployment insurance systems. “We took a 40-year-old, COBOL-based system and put them on a Web-based platform, allowing citizens enhanced ability to apply for unemployment benefits,” Kliethermes said.

The key ingredient driving these sweeping infrastructure improvements: governance.

In early 2018 a state IT governance council convened for the first time, bringing together not just technology leaders, but also business leaders from across all the executive departments. That committee’s work has been key in supporting the IT department’s modernization efforts.

“Governance and prioritization is key to operations,” Kliethermes said. “Having this committee highlights the importance of IT ownership being not just for the IT department, but also for the agencies themselves. Who are the decision-makers on the business side? Are we prepared to staff these things correctly? If this is going to impact how people do their work, will there be an organizational change component in place? All of this has to be a joint effort.”

At the same time, IT leadership has helped to keep all the partners oriented toward the common goal of enhanced citizen service.

“From a strategic perspective, in working with our partner agencies, our focus is always directly related to the citizens,” Kliethermes said. “It’s about how internal operations impact the end result of services that constituents receive, how technology initiatives improve their interaction with the state of Missouri.” 

Ohio

In Ohio, one big change made a whole lot of other things possible.

When the state consolidated over 30 data centers into the cloud, it did more than just save some money and improve efficiencies. It opened minds.

“That changed agency culture,” said Interim CIO and Interim Director of the Department of Administrative Services Spencer Wood. “Before, everyone had to physically hug their equipment. People did not feel comfortable giving anyone else access to their data. This data center consolidation helped people to work through that feeling. They saw a secure system managed by professionals.”

With the new mindset in place, IT leadership moved to enhance the digital experience with a consistent look and feel, first for state employees and then for citizens.

“As an employee it was very difficult to find benefits information, for example. You had to go everywhere for that,” he said. With business owners more open to sharing their data and processes, “we wanted to pull all that information together.”

With an employee portal in place, the IT team now is working to roll out improved digital services to citizens. They have upgraded the state platform Ohio.gov to make it more responsive, and have enhanced functionality on the state’s business gateway.

At the same time, Wood and his team have turned their attention to data analytics. Here again, the new willingness to share has ushered in improved functionality and enhanced citizen service.

“We stood up a data lake where we can pull together data sets, some of which have never been accessible across platforms,” he said. “We are using that to help solve some public policy challenges, starting with infant mortality, where the data is giving us some insights into policy changes we can make that would improve outcomes.”

That’s a direct result of knocking down the walls and pulling data out of its previously siloed state. “It can be as simple as seeing death certificates alongside patient care information, or taking the data on people who are on food stamps and other assistance and putting that against health-care data or against mobility and transportation options,” he said.

Such novel intersections open up whole new avenues of exploration on the policy side.

Georgia

In Georgia, IT officials lean heavily on the private sector: An internal service management organization oversees the efforts of between 800 and 1,000 external technology professionals. Last year, the state substantially renegotiated those contracts.

“The first time around, we wanted to modernize and consolidate processes, to standardize the infrastructure and the services,” said CIO Calvin Rhodes. “Now that all those processes are mature and in place, that allowed us to take these very large contracts and break them down into smaller, more manageable pieces. Now it’s a more plug-and-play model, so that as technology changes, we can turn services on or off as we need them.”

That model came into play in a big way when the governor pledged to build a $100 million cybercenter in support of the U.S. Army Cyber Command’s move to Georgia.

Rhodes’ office became quarterback for that effort. “We worked with construction companies, architects, general contractors,” he said. “We met with the state university system and the technical college, the National Guard and the state police force to look at their facilities needs and also to develop the needed skills.”

The need for a cyber talent pool to support the new facility in turn brought Rhodes back to the private sector. “We are trying to create an ecosystem that benefits all parties,” he said. “We have students who need internships, and the private sector has an interest in reaching that talent, connecting with individuals who can work for them after they graduate.”

Development of the cybercenter, whose first building opened in July, was a complex undertaking with lots of moving parts. The secret to success, Rhodes said, was the willingness to sometimes get it wrong.

“It’s about understanding that we will never be ‘100 percent’ on the thousands of decisions that we needed to make,” he said. “Our goal was to be 80 percent correct and then to adjust as we went along. You have to be able to take some risks.” 

Click through for our detailed write-ups on each state.

*The Center for Digital Government is part of e.Republic, Government Technology's parent company.

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In the map above, click a state to learn its exact grade and why that grade was given. The contents of the map are also available below.


C+ States

Nevada
2018 Grade: C+
2016 Grade: C+
CIO: Michael Dietrich

Appointed in April 2018, Nevada CIO Michael Dietrich is only a few months into the job and is at the helm of a number of statewide initiatives. With its two major population centers in the Reno and Las Vegas areas, more than 400 miles apart, the state has prioritized video conferencing as a cost-effective means of doing the people’s business. The Department of Corrections and the Department of Health and Human Services are major users of the technology, and a 2017 redesign of the Carson City, Nev., Capitol means the Old Assembly Chamber is now equipped to remotely connect leaders at opposite ends of the state in face-to-face meetings as well. Transparency also emerged as a big priority in Nevada, with new data made public as well as user-friendly access to details on decisions by elected officials and the state supreme court.

Nevada is currently in the second phase of replacing its ERP with a more modern solution that integrates several key systems like finance, accounting, procurement and human resources. All technology projects valued at more than $500,000 are reviewed and ranked in importance by a committee with visibility into statewide needs. Also targeted for future modernization are public safety and offender management systems.

In addition, the state has made progress relative to cybersecurity. Among the 50 percent of states with a cyberinsurance policy, Nevada has a newly created Office of Cyber Defense Coordination that aims to establish a framework for an improved statewide cybersecurity posture with comprehensive agency assessments and including private-sector partners.


New Hampshire
2018 Grade: C+
2016 Grade: B-
CIO:
Denis Goulet

Last year, New Hampshire approved an updated IT strategic plan, which focused on five objectives, including improvements in system performance. With the help of funding from the Department of Energy, the Department of Information Technology has boosted the energy efficiency of its data center by cutting back on the volume of physical servers by 80 percent and has reduced the footprint of the center by 60 percent overall — power consumption has fallen by 37 percent. Another strategic objective, improving resource management, can be found in New Hampshire’s modernized ERP system. New efficiencies have resulted in shorter wait times, fewer screen refreshes and new end-user features.

In terms of better customer satisfaction, Gov. Chris Sununu has requested that many of the state’s websites undergo considerable redesign and standardization, as part of New Hampshire’s overall digital transformation. Examples include overhauls of websites for the Department of Motor Vehicles, revenue collection and the state’s liquor commission point-of-sale system. New Hampshire has approached cybersecurity — another strategic plan objective — as a collaborative effort involving 24 state agencies, local governments and the private sector, resulting in workshops and exercises that have identified areas of strength, gaps where improvements were needed and thorough tests of the state’s cyberprotection capabilities. The state has also launched a project management maturity effort to bring consistency and standardization to how it executes IT projects and to integrate agile development processes into new applications going forward.


Wyoming
2018 Grade: C+
2016 Grade: C
CIO: Tony Young

In the last two years, Wyoming has made progress with its technology initiatives, earning it an improved grade in the 2018 Digital States Survey. The state has made deliberate investments in cybersecurity, both with its first chief information security officer in fall 2017 as well as dedicating a portion of the budget specifically to cybersecurity for the first time. In an effort to streamline IT, Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) has consolidated into a co-located data center, adopted a cloud-first strategy and reduced use of hardware by more than 90 percent. The agency is also researching cloud options for backup to improve disaster recovery. To further efficiencies, Wyoming is looking into business management techniques as well as analytics and artificial intelligence tools.

In emerging technology, the governor has prioritized blockchain technology that would draw entrepreneurs to Wyoming, and ETS is also looking at how the distributed ledger technology can help with security across the enterprise. The state also points with pride to its mobile transit app, fed by information from connected vehicles. A section of Interstate 80 has been used as a pilot for 400 connected state fleet vehicles in a project funded by a $40 million federal grant. The project involves 75 roadside sensors across a portion of the highway with a high incidence of accidents during the winter.


C States

Alaska
2018 Grade: C
2016 Grade: C
CIO: John Boucher (acting)

Alaska’s grade has held steady at a C since 2016. In April 2017, Gov. Bill Walker signed Administrative Order 284, centralizing telecommunications and IT into the Office of Information Technology (OIT) under the leadership of the chief information officer. And though consolidation is something many states have already done, in Alaska it signals the start of a more organized push toward its goals for cost-effective, data-driven government. This unification process, as officials have previously indicated to Government Technology, was not welcomed by all. Among the more recent steps in this process, OIT has consolidated more than 17 disjointed agency email systems into one enterprise cloud offering; started the implementation of a state ERP system across multiple agencies; and centralized directory management with single sign-on access. Additionally, the state added an innovation officer to its ranks to help drive new ideas and implement tools like data analytics and artificial intelligence. When it comes to securing its data, the state turned to a chief information security officer, hiring the state’s first CISO, Shannon Lawson in August 2017. Lawson is charged with creating and implementing security protocols and building continuity across the state. As one might imagine of a state as large and isolated as Alaska, there is also a need for Internet connectivity — a challenge state officials are trying to meet by way of middle-mile fiber partnerships with commercial carriers.


New Jersey
2018 Grade: C
2016 Grade: C+
CTO: Chris Rein

In 2018, New Jersey created the position of chief innovation officer,  a move that originated from the New Jersey Office of Information Technology (NJOIT), which for the first time in 2017 created criteria and a system of weighting to prioritize IT initiatives that were underway. Doing so helped the state rank those projects and isolate the department’s top 20 IT information initiatives. This, in turn, enabled the state’s project management office to identify where vital resources, including project managers and business analysts, were deployed and to reassign them as needed to the highest-priority projects.

The state has also taken crucial steps to improve the effectiveness of its cybersecurity strategies, moving responsibility for cybersecurity strategy and oversight from NJOIT to the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness in 2016. In 2017, the state Division of Cybersecurity and the New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell (NJCCIC) were combined to better exploit synergies and utilize their resources. This centralization of responsibility and accountability for cybersecurity statewide won acclaim from the Stanford University Law School Center for Internet and Society, which cited New Jersey as a model for other states.

In agency-level developments, the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program, from the Division of Consumer Affairs, tracks nearly 68 million prescriptions and shares data with seven other states to tighten up efforts to combat opioid abuse. The Department of Health piloted a major data opioid initiative in spring 2018 aimed in part at improving knowledge about the epidemic by aggregating information from multiple sources and sharing it with stakeholders and the public through interactive dashboards.


Rhode Island
2018 Grade: C
2016 Grade: C
CIO: Bijay Kumar

Rhode Island has taken steps toward improved cybersecurity by hiring Mike Steinmetz, its first cybersecurity officer, and appointing a seven-member Homeland Security Advisory Board. Meanwhile, the Rhode Island Cyber Range Initiative is providing hands-on testing for cybersecurity modeling, simulation and job training for cyberprofessionals. Participants can use the controlled environment to re-create their own networks, which could be vulnerable to attacks, allowing them to better prepare for any future breaches.

To shore up Rhode Island’s emergency management, the Coastal Resources Management Council, working with the University of Rhode Island, has created the Coastal Environmental Risk Index, a model to predict future damage from sea level rise and storm surge. The project uses satellite images, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration flooding projections and other data to inform planning and development in coastal areas. The state also appointed Shaun O’Rourke as chief resiliency officer, and he is leading the development of an Action Plan Report, a collective effort by various state agencies to manage flooding and other issues.

To make government more accessible for Rhode Islanders, more citizen services have migrated online, with improvements coming to the Departments of Environmental Management, Taxation and Motor Vehicles. Rhode Island also aims to introduce more science and tech training in public schools, as well as add 5,000 green jobs, with a goal to reach 20,000 clean energy jobs by 2020.

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In the map above, click a state to learn its exact grade and why that grade was given. The contents of the map are also available below.


B+ States

Colorado
2018 Grade: B+
2016 Grade: B+
CTO: Suma Nallapati

Two years ago, when Colorado was ranked in the Digital States survey, the state was also named Tech Innovator of the Year by the National Association of State CIOs. This year, the state maintains its B+ ranking because of strong efforts from the top to strengthen and expand the role of technology in delivering services, improving operations and jumpstarting innovation. The Office of Information Technology has a robust enterprise strategic planning process for each of its 17 agency customers. To meet their growing needs, OIT has built out its first Infrastructure-as-a-Service with Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud, both of which are being used to support critical data sets in health, human services, employment and labor.

Better operational support can be found in the state’s migration of more than 10,000 phone sets into the cloud and the introduction of livestreaming for video collaboration over the state’s Google cloud platform. OIT has modernized its application portfolio, replacing legacy systems with common service platforms and saving the state $1.9 million so far.  Modernization has continued and includes the replacement of the state’s MMIS last year and completion of the state’s new vehicle licensing, registration and titling system this year.

Colorado continues to keep a keen eye on the future of IT and Gov. John Hickenlooper has issued an executive order to set up a council to investigate what it calls the "compelling" new technology of blockchain, and to recommend a legal framework to support its potential use.


Connecticut 
2018 Grade: B+
2016 Grade: B+
CIO: Mark Raymond

In the last two years, Connecticut has continued its efforts in applying tech initiatives across state agencies and also investing at the local level. Like many states, Connecticut cites cybersecurity as its top priority, and to that end published its first Cybersecurity Strategy in July 2017 and first Cybersecurity Action Plan in May 2018. Further, Gov. Dannell Malloy appointed the first chief cybersecurity risk officer in 2016, and the Cybersecurity Committee, an information sharing group comprising law enforcement, utilities, emergency management and more, has expanded from just 13 members in 2013 to 81 in 2018. In working with the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC), Connecticut has promoted membership for local governments, helping to bolster security across the board, and also has established an Election Cybersecurity Task Force to specifically protect elections systems. For state workers, cybertraining has become more frequent but shorter over time, which is producing positive results across the enterprise.

Another area where Connecticut has put a lot of emphasis is in the creation of a major Health and Human Services platform, which includes ImpaCT, an integrated eligibility system that enables staff to better evaluate client needs and for consumers to more easily access their benefits. ImpaCT has moved the state from 50th to fifth among states in terms of benefits timeliness for citizens, and the HHS system is working to incorporate other services like child support. Elsewhere, Connecticut has invested in a more connected workplace, including implementing statewide VoIP, which has reduced staff travel time and cut telephony costs by 70 percent. A telecommuting pilot is in place through the end of 2018 that aims to help attract and retain talent.


Delaware
2018 Grade: B+
2016 Grade: B-
CIO: James Collins

Delaware is without question in a state of transition when it comes to IT. But that hasn’t led to the high-speed wobble that can often follow disruptions to the status quo. In fact, the state has shown improvement over its 2016 evaluation, from a B- to a B+. Leadership in the state, from Gov. John Carney and legislators to CIO James Collins, understand and support the use of technology in government, taking on projects like benchmarking technology spending and IT resources while trying to provide better citizen-focused services. An integral part of this effort is protecting citizen data, an area where Delaware has adopted National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standards, program metrics and benchmarking while leaving room for innovation. Their approach has been to automate threat detection and immediate response, removing the need for staff to respond to threats manually across the state’s hundreds of computer systems. Where data analytics is concerned, the state has most notably turned the technology toward its child welfare efforts and case management, where the streams of data coalesce into more than 130 reports, analyses and dashboards that staff can use to drive informed decisions. The push to both centralize and virtualize its servers is creating a path the state can leverage to becoming a more mobile and responsive organization — this is especially true within the Department of Education, where virtualization has gone from 65 percent in 2016 to 90 percent today.


Hawaii
2018: B+
2016: B
Chief Innovation Officer: Todd Nacapuy

The state of Hawaii returned to a B+ ranking with a collaborative attitude toward solving its unique challenges, under the leadership of tech-forward Gov. David Ige and a responsive Legislature. Since coming to the state in 2015, CIO Todd Nacapuy has worked with the Legislature and the state IT workforce to enact legislation that would serve as the foundation for the consolidated Office of Enterprise Technology Services (ETS). Those same statutes also put in place an IT governance process requiring departments to develop multiyear IT strategic plans.

Legislators and the executive branch worked together on policies and best practices with Act 37, which took effect in 2017, pushing out the benefits of independent IT project verification and validation to the Department of Education and the University of Hawaii. Officials partnered on data-driven government, standing up a Department Dashboard aggregating IT projects around the state. Powered by the SharpCloud data visualization solution, it lets ETS present initiatives in a visually compelling way, categorized by metrics including cost and organizational importance.

The state prioritized residents in a series of innovative emerging tech solutions, with its health department implanting air quality sensors at strategic locations including those with the potential for deadly volcanic lava fumes. Hawaii’s emergency management agency has installed statewide wireless and satellite-based alert warning systems and water level monitors; and its highways agency tracks movement via "smart" road monitors, cameras, traffic controls and messaging systems.

Hawaii has done considerable heavy lifting to enhance its ability to recruit IT staff, piloting the migration of existing employees from a seniority-based to a broadbanding system that simplifies the classification of positions and is more flexible in recognition of and compensation for professional growth and development. In 2016, the state piloted a collaboration with LinkedIn to raise the visibility of ETS job openings, filling a significantly higher percentage.


Idaho
2018 Grade: B+
2016 Grade: B
CIO: Greg Zickau

In 2018 Idaho formed the Office of Information Technology Services, with a newly established cabinet-level director, giving the state clear leadership and policy direction in the implementation of digital technology services and cybersecurity policies across state government.

With a new focus on digital technology and cybersecurity, Idaho aims to consolidate some 68 state organizations and 550 IT personnel over the next five years. The move toward consolidation has also led to the purchase of a 200-acre Chinden Campus, which comprises more than 1.5 million square feet spread across eight buildings. Formerly occupied by Hewlett-Packard, redesign plans were completed in May 2018, with move-in for certain agencies to begin in fall 2018. ITS is extending its core communications network to include the Chinden Campus with upgrades to better serve agency cloud, cloud-hybrid, and virtualization needs.

The Idaho Regional Optical Network (IRON) — a high-speed fiber-optic network connecting the state’s research, education, health-care and government resources — will be upgraded to 100 gigabits per second statewide, ensuring enhanced data exchange. In other notable upgrades, the Idaho Department of Transportation recently modernized its 511 Roadway Conditions website for better performance on mobile devices. The improved site offers enhanced details related to road conditions, along with camera feeds which allow the public to view conditions in real time. In addition, the Idaho state courts system is now digital. Known as iCourt, the new system is incorporated into all 44 counties, enables e-filing, and provides improved access to electronic court records, hearing schedules and other court documents.


Illinois
2018 Grade: B+
2016 Grade: B+
CIO: Kirk Lonbom

IT leaders in Illinois were among the first in the public sector to examine the potential for digital ledger technology, also known as blockchain, and they have continued to further the mission of IT for the public good. Under the Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT), created and centralized in 2016, the state has charged ahead to meet five major strategy goals: digital transformation, security, digital enablement, efficiency through innovation and building a smarter state. Despite political friction, and a budget impasse that spanned two years, DoIT has made substantial progress in cementing the importance of IT with elected officials. In 2017, the Legislature and Gov. Bruce Rauner approved House Bill 2371, which outlined the state’s first enterprise cybersecurity strategy. This furthered efforts to protect billions of confidential electronic records in conjunction with the Cybersecurity Operations Center, which focuses on stopping threats in real time as well as providing awareness training to the state’s more than 46,000 employees. To meet the goal of becoming a smarter state, technology practitioners have formed "Smart State" partnerships outside of state IT to draw from the wealth of experience in the academic and private sectors. In one recent push toward smarter government, the state leveraged its buying power to enable cities to purchase smart streetlights through a statewide procurement effort. This same mentality is being applied in its approach to a master contract for digital kiosks and a smart correctional/medical facility. Tools like artificial intelligence, chatbots and advanced data analytics are all finding their place to help improve the overall effectiveness of state government. Despite a challenging political environment, the work done within DoIT has allowed the state to hold a respectable B+ for the last two years, up from a C+ in 2014.


Maine
2018 Grade: B+
2016 Grade: B
CIO: Jim Smith

Maine centralized its IT a decade ago and has continued to build on the increased efficiency that has been provided ever since. In recent years, this has meant creating an IT steering committee to thoroughly vet return on IT investments, as well as embracing new trends and technologies, including cloud storage and agile project management. Centralization has also spread outside of core IT services to related areas such as disaster recovery and cybersecurity, allowing the state to create shared resources such as threat analysis and incident response. In other efficiency news, Maine has also continued working to replace or significantly modify legacy systems at a pace of 25 each year. It all adds up to a governmental IT ecosystem wherein work is prioritized in terms of efficiency and financial savings, both of which are high priorities of Maine’s executive branch.

In addition to efficiency and centralization, Maine has worked to be forward-thinking as well, creating a robust intern program that has seen 70 percent of participants transitioning into full-time state IT employees. This has been imperative for a state where nearly a quarter of its public IT workforce is currently eligible to retire. Also in the service of bettering its IT hiring practices, Maine has implemented new online recruitment tools that have reduced the number of days to hire by more than half. Maine is also looking forward with a multiphase, $20 million network upgrade that will give the state a foundation from which to modernize other network components. In recent years, broadband access has also increased for residents of Maine, where 91 percent of households now subscribe to broadband service, compared to nearly 70 percent nationwide. This progress was made under the oversight of Maine’s ConnectME Authority, an independent entity that works to provide broadband access to underserved areas in the state.


Maryland
2018 Grade: B+
2016 Grade: B
CIO: Michael Leahy

Maryland consolidated its IT operations into one cohesive enterprise, which includes the governor’s cabinet agencies and coordinated offices and opt-in independent agencies in the executive branch. The goals of the effort are to consolidate commodity services with cross-agency similarity, leading, ultimately, to an improved cybersecurity posture and streamlined operations for all involved.

Consolidated IT services have led to standardized desktop and server environments and provided a standardized process for security that previously was handled by each agency. Data centers for 21 customer agencies have been migrated into the centralized virtualized computing platform. Through this consolidation, the IT department created efficient use of resources and offers a first-class, standardized network architecture, while saving the state $2 million in equipment, power and cooling costs.

The state this year announced the Maryland One Stop Statewide Licensing portal, which provides a single point of entry for citizens to access all offices that issue licenses or permits. The portal’s back-end forms and workflow engine save the state millions by eliminating legacy systems and improve the user experience through a single Web-based interface. To optimize executive branch agencies via technology and improve efficiency, accountability and customer service, the governor formed the Office of Performance Improvement, which expands on efforts to implement an enterprise model in the state.


Pennsylvania
2018 Grade: B+
2016 Grade: B+
CIO: John MacMillan

Pennsylvania maintained the B+ grade it earned two years ago shortly after Gov. Tom Wolf took over. In the past two years, the state has utilized technology to help solve problems and improve government services. After the 2016 legalization of medical marijuana in the state, the Department of Health set to work implementing a Patient and Caregivers Registry and a seed-to-sale tracking system for growers, processors and dispensaries. Both systems are now up and running, and DOH has registered 11 dispensaries, 11 growers and producers, 750 physicians and almost 20,000 patients. Technology was also helpful to the state’s efforts to address the growing opioid crisis. Pennsylvania now has an Opioid Data Dashboard where residents can find information on addiction resources and where to go for them. The state also implemented a central repository for tracking overdoses, naloxone administrations and investigative information called Overdose Information Network (ODIN). Not open to the public, ODIN can be accessed by police, public safety and health-care professionals.

In the public safety area, Pennsylvania has undertaken a project to transition from its legacy radio communication system to a new P25 system. The 1,110 radio sites currently in use will be decreased to just 116, and the state expects to see $6 million in annual savings once implementation is complete. Most notably, the project includes a first-of-its-kind warehouse facility in Harrisburg for staging and testing the new radio equipment that should speed up and enhance the overall deployment process.

To improve integration between third-party voter registration services and state agencies that interact with the public, in 2016 the Pennsylvania Department of State created an online voter registration application programming interface (API). The API has seen nearly 80,000 applications, with a 20 percent higher chance of approval than other voter registration methods.


Tennessee
2018 Grade: B+
2016 Grade: B+
CIO: Mark Bengel

Tennessee made the grade again this year, keeping its steady B+ rating since 2014. Over the past few years, a statewide focus on increasing shared services in a number of technical areas has allowed an effective and efficient IT transformation to take place. Data’s takeover has played a major role in the way Tennessee utilizes technology, essentially reworking the way networks across the state track, approve and review data. Completed in January 2018, a Data Center Transformation provided a more secure environment for legacy applications under new restrictions.

Acknowledging the ever-growing importance of cybersecurity, the state has mandated that all employees must take customized cybersecurity awareness training a minimum of every two years. As another preventative measure, phishing campaigns are pushed out at least twice a year. Cyberdata from networks across the state are recorded in a database, allowing for quick identification. The state’s governance tool is used to track exceptions and vulnerabilities in a weekly scan process that is run across all data center systems.


B States

Arizona
2018 Grade: B
2016 Grade: B
CIO: Morgan Reed

Since the 2016 survey, Arizona has made concrete strides to reach its cybersecurity goals, starting with Gov. Doug Ducey’s executive order establishing a cybersecurity team with broad representation, charged with overseeing a cohesive state strategy. The state uses a tool called RiskSense, which evaluates cybermaturity at the agency level through a series of data-rich dashboards, while fostering a spirit of cooperation aimed at minimizing the state’s overall risk.

Arizona has also made an aggressive push to put more services online, offering conveniences to agency customers and more efficient operations. By their count, 239 services have added online capabilities since the start of 2018, including permits, appeals, renewals and applications across multiple agencies. One agency that upgraded its customer-facing services is the Motor Vehicle Department, which now has e-signature options in certain cases and the ability to personalize the user experience. Teens testing for a driver’s permit can now take their test online from home, with a parent serving as a proctor, saving all a trip to their local branch office.

The Arizona Management System is the state’s answer to implementing results-driven government with one coherent strategy. Targets are set and monthly agency-level business meetings are held to identify performance issues and drive continuous improvement. Where IT is concerned, the state has directed resources to key governance initiatives, like a comprehensive investment justification process, which injects structure and accountability into tech investments of more than $25,000. The responsible team credits the process with $10 million in cost avoidance and savings on technology in the past two years. In addition, strategic planning at the state level identified the need for an e-Licensing platform from multiple organizations. As a result, 13 state boards now use a common solution, saving the state $3 million that would’ve gone toward individual tools.


Arkansas
2018 Grade: B
2016 Grade: B
CIO: Yessica Jones

Earning a B again in this year’s survey, Arkansas continued its commitment to bettering government services using technology. Among the state’s efforts was a continued focus on education. Gov. Asa Hutchison announced a $500,000 grant from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education for an educational cyber-range. The University of Arkansas received the grant and will house the facility, where students will learn how to identify and defend against cyberattacks.

Looking for other ways to improve government services, the state turned to those who they are supposed to benefit: its 3 million residents. The result was a new website for crowdsourcing ideas for government improvement. One of the first initiatives to come out of the governor’s newly established Office of Transformation, My Idea for Arkansas allows citizens to submit their ideas for improving state government. The state has implemented or plans to implement many of the more than 850 ideas that have been submitted so far.

Arkansas is in the first stages of a five-year IT infrastructure reorganization, which is expected to generate between $11.5 million and $14.5 million in savings by year six. The state will be moving from a decentralized approach to a consolidated, shared services model. The move comes as a result of a recent IT infrastructure assessment by Gartner, which developed a five-year road map of recommendations for improvement.

Last but not least, in 2017 Arkansas also hosted the inaugural Arkansas Digital Government Transformation Awards. Designed to highlight innovative technology initiatives within the state, 31 projects were submitted by more than 20 agencies. The awards will alternate between state and local government on even and odd years. The 2018 awards honoring local government projects were announced in late September.


Florida
2018 Grade: B
2016 Grade: B+
CIO: Eric Larson

Florida delivered a solid performance in this year’s Digital States Survey, focusing on cross-agency collaboration, good governance and streamlined services. The Agency for State Technology (AST) has created positions for a chief data officer and a geographic information officer, as well as converged its infrastructure, consolidated enterprise storage and retired 25 legacy storage devices. Plus, 100 percent of the state’s data is now duplicated at a disaster recovery site within 24 hours, and the state has put a premium on cybersecurity, with $19 million in federal funds for elections security, as well as $220,000 dedicated to training state IT security staff.

As Florida is no stranger to emergency events, evidenced by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the last two years, the state has made investments in disaster prep and recovery. The Department of Economic Opportunity launched FloridaDisaster.biz, which will help state businesses prepare for and recover from emergency events, and the state data center has also been rated to withstand Category 5 hurricane winds. In non-natural emergency response, following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in February 2018, state legislation was passed to use technology to improve data sharing between the state’s judiciary and its law enforcement community. Part of the state’s gun reform law includes a direction to invest in an app that allows community members, including students, to anonymously report suspicious or potentially dangerous activity.

Efficiencies for both state agencies and citizens are central to the state’s work across the enterprise, such as the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) Motorist Modernization Project, which will modernize DMV operations for Floridians and allow 24/7 access to DMV services. Further, in a collaboration between the Department of State and the DHSMV, the state launched an online voter registration website in October 2017. The Florida Accountability Contract Tracking System gives citizens access to more than 20 state agencies’ contract data, and the People First human resources application improves both the job application process and tools like timesheets and insurance forms for current employees.


Iowa
2018 Grade: B
2016 Grade: B
CIO: Robert von Wolffradt

Holding steady with a B grade, Iowa is continuing to expand broadband access and is set to deliver high-speed Internet to more than 4,000 homes and 700 businesses in the state. The 54 new projects represent $114 million in industry investment. Broadband providers received $7 million in tax relief, and in turn installed more than 550 miles of fiber and invested more than $16 million in new projects in rural areas. The Office of the CIO simplified the identification of areas that are eligible for tax credit investment to build out improved broadband access. The website lets investors see eligible areas and apply. Citizens can also see where the investments are being made.

The state also aims to prepare Iowans for future tech jobs through cybersecurity training and apprenticeships. Iowa created an apprenticeship website to connect residents with employers. Submitted applications went up by 30 percent in the site’s first quarter, and the site got an average of 10,000 visitors each month.


Kentucky
2018 Grade: B
2016 Grade: B
CIO: Charles Grindle

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is focused on shoring up the state’s fiscal problems, asking for a significant reduction in spending to get the state on more stable footing. And technology, under the direction of CIO Charles Grindle, has a significant role to play. Last December, legislation officially codified a reorganization bringing executive branch IT under Grindle, establishing central governance and project review through a shared services model. It’s a strategy that aims to elevate good practices no matter where they come from in order to maximize benefits across the enterprise. One such example is a single sign-on tool, the Kentucky Online Gateway. Developed by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, it’s now the standard for the commonwealth. Moving toward a more shared operating model has presented opportunities for cross-agency analytics and Kentucky now has a chief data officer to guide the effort.

Several modernization efforts are helping to streamline and automate service delivery in Kentucky. Risk assessments for offenders in the criminal justice system now better help inform parole decisions while cutting staff time in half, new online services were added for the Department of Vehicle Regulation, and real-time road condition information is communicated to commuters on the state portal and via popular platforms like Waze. The One Stop Business Portal offers access to the many agencies involved in starting and operating a business in one online location. Business owners registering through the site (more than 1 million new accounts have been created on the portal since 2016) now far exceed those submitting paper applications. On the emerging tech front, Kentucky is now piloting an AI tool that they hope can help handle the influx of customer support calls in high-volume areas.


Louisiana 
2018 Grade: B
2016 Grade: C+
CIO: Richard "Dickie" Howze

Despite budget woes that are all too common in state tech and innovation work, Louisiana moved forward in this year’s survey, going from the C+ grade it had in 2016 back to the B level it was at in 2014. Part of this is increased support from the governor’s office as well as from the state Legislature. The governor has not only voiced commitment for enhancing the level of digital government in Louisiana, he has also backed it up with executive orders, the most notable being one that calls for a cybercrime commission. State lawmakers, meanwhile, passed legislation this year that requires the creation of a fiscal transparency portal, with elected officials also asking for increased funding across all state agencies to bolster online transparency.

Support from those in charge, of course, is only one facet of governmental tech and innovation success. Equally, if not more, important is execution. The tech consolidation underway for some time has matured, with a completed staff reorganization and bolstered by the conversion of some agencies into shared services. The most tangible accomplishment, however, is the state’s Enterprise Architecture Project. Initially conceptualized to help the Department of Health update Medicaid eligibility and enrollment, that work has proven wide-spanning and comprehensive. Its seven core components — enterprise service bus, master data management, data warehousing, electronic document management system, identity and access management, business rules engine, and consumer communication — touch on a vital group of tech and innovation pillars, helping the state’s Office of Technology Services evolve from a simple supplier of physical technology to a purveyor of new solutions. It’s even likely to yield public-facing results. Once all agencies are on board, citizens will be able to use a single sign-on for state services.


Massachusetts
2018 Grade: B
2016 Grade: B
CIO: Dennis McDermitt

Two years after a diagnostic study of the state of technology in Massachusetts, the state is experiencing a significant digital transformation. Finding the results of the study "sobering," the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security found that as a result of the decentralized nature of its IT operations, the state had purchased "one of everything in every size, flavor and kind."

More than 18 data centers housed more than 6,000 servers, and the technology solutions were being used at less than 5 percent of their capacity. Since the study, the state is allocating dollars toward higher-impact, lower-risk projects and asking agencies requesting capital dollars to articulate constituent value and cost benefits instead of simply looking at costs. Agencies are encouraged to seek commercial off-the-shelf solutions and to consider cloud-first solutions where possible.

The study also revealed that, over time, Massachusetts had left itself exposed to hackers with a vulnerable network topology and an overprovisioned, poorly managed base of computing infrastructure. The state is well on its way to achieving its goal of moving to one secure and reliable network that serves the entire executive branch. The cybersecurity team is also focused on identity and access management, moving from a compliance-based security policy model to a remediation and defense-based policy as well as performing comprehensive vulnerability scanning and appropriate fixes.


Mississippi
2018 Grade: B
2016 Grade: B
CIO: Craig Orgeron

Holding steady with a B grade, in 2016 Mississippi commenced a public-private partnership for co-location and virtual hosting in a backup data center — a secure, Tier 3 facility. The two data centers now provide high availability, disaster recovery and backup services. Participation in co-located services has risen 27 percent in the last two years.

The state has also advanced in improved application use. The Mississippi Department of Employment Security launched the Mississippi Works (MS Works) mobile app, which lets job seekers search job openings, compare their skills to job requirements and locate local job centers. Employers can generate job announcements and request potential candidates to apply for jobs. MS Works also guides residents who need to file for unemployment benefits. Since launching in 2014, the app has been downloaded more than 34,000 times.
 
Providing evidence of how the state is empowering a more mobile-enabled workforce, public health environmentalists for the Mississippi State Department of Health can now perform onsite environmental health inspections on iPads, electronically filing data to food and wastewater databases. The iPads were also used for issuing permits and accepting payments. The department estimates a savings of 50 percent in travel time.


Montana
2018 Grade: B
2016 Grade: B-
CIO: Tim Bottenfield

Montana jumped up half a grade this year, as Gov. Steve Bullock and his administration continued to prioritize technology’s role in making government more effective. Montana maintains an impressive array of online government services, with 285 serving citizens, businesses, local governments and more. In the last two years, additions to these services included 98 custom e-government services, 48 conference and training registrations, 33 ePass (the state’s single sign-on service/portal) additions, and four new payment processing integrations, as well as enhancements to existing services. But one of the most impressive additions made to Montana digital government services was in the Motor Vehicle Division. At a cost of just $12,000 per year, a team of 31 chatbots now handles customer service calls for the division. They were initially deployed in a soft launch in August 2017, and since then have been modified and improved, resulting in thousands fewer calls.

Montana recently migrated its online transparency and data portals from Socrata to Tableau and is already impressed with the results. Citizens have access to increased functionality on the portals, including the ability to connect one dashboard to multiple data sets. The data sets also update in real time, something that the previous system did not do. The move is saving the state $10,000 annually.

The state also emphasized its focus on cybersecurity this year by partnering with the Montana National Guard to send a team to Cyber Shield, the Army National Guard’s annual cybersecurity event. The team included members from the state National Guard, Montana Analysis and Technical Information Center, and the Digital Forensics and Incident Response team from the Montana Information Security Bureau — they won sixth place in the national cyberchallenge. Montana hopes to continue to strengthen this relationship with the National Guard, thereby reinforcing the cyberposture of both entities.


Nebraska
2018 Grade: B
2016 Grade: B
CIO: Ed Toner

Nebraska’s government agencies have consolidated their IT services to create a centralized technology organization, which was a large effort that helped the state earn its B grade this year. The Enterprise Data Center helped eliminate 183 physical servers and all outside data centers. Taking away open positions for infrastructure staff has increased annual savings to $2.7 million. The state’s Open Data Portal, used by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, provides an authoritative and transparent view of GIS data. The system received a Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Award from Esri, which honored the commission’s data collection efforts.

Enforcing a customer-focused approach to state government comes with benefits to Nebraska’s constituents. More digital services are available now than ever before, such as delivering thousands of permits online to help both the private and public sector deliver projects quickly. The Nebraska Information Technology Commission conducted a statewide Digital Readiness survey to assess the digital divide in the state. Over 600 responses will help policymakers address digital readiness and identify which parts of the state are in the most need. To shore up cybersecurity, all personnel must take six hours of cybersecurity training each year, ensuring that they’re up to date with the evolving curriculum.


New Mexico
2018 Grade: B
2016 Grade: B-
CIO: Maria Sanchez (acting)

Despite a statewide budget shortfall, New Mexico has done a lot in the past two years to become a state with a strong IT presence. One of the southwestern state’s main areas of focus has been the development and rollout of its ERP system, known as the Statewide Human Resources Accounting and Reporting (SHARE) system. The initiative, which involved more than 120 agencies, took 22 months to complete, cost $20 million, and achieved numerous measurable outcomes including the elimination of payroll overpayments and a reduction in more than 500,000 hard-copy documents that were previously delivered to the finance department every year. SHARE provides offices in remote locations across New Mexico with "geographic equity" to those in more populated areas, and the state feels the system is truly an investment that will continue to provide ongoing returns.

Another priority has been expanding broadband connections, including the creation of the Office of Broadband and Geospatial Initiatives (OBGI), which encompasses, among other things, the governor’s Broadband for Education program. This has helped public schools across the state upgrade their connections, and as of the 2017-18 school year, 99 percent of schools had high-speed Internet. To strengthen their position of "doing more with less," OBGI prioritizes broadband projects that will affect more than one area to optimize costs. New Mexico, one of the first five states to opt in to FirstNet, has also continued its place as a leader in public safety communications and has a plan to achieve P25 standards that will lay the groundwork for current and future coverage to rural, urban and tribal areas. Going forward, the state anticipates executive leadership changes following the November 2018 election, but DoIT has created a technical environment ready to support New Mexico’s future.


North Carolina
2018 Grade: B
2016 Grade: B+
CIO: Eric Boyette

North Carolina, earning a B in this year’s survey, is in the midst of several initiatives aimed at modernizing and streamlining its IT infrastructure, moving away from legacy systems toward tools that can bring benefits across the enterprise. In addition to consolidating data centers and migrating IT functions into the central Department of Information Technology, the state is doing foundational work on upgrading its financial system — an initiative with a price tag of $40 million to date. Alongside these efforts are moves to establish better governance, evidenced by the current deployment of a statewide portfolio management system. In addition, a proposal for an IT Strategy Board will be considered during the coming legislative session.

The state’s Government Data Analytics Center puts them ahead of many of their peers when it comes to realizing the benefits of a data-driven operation. One notable effort of late is the January 2018 launch of an award-winning new site for the Department of Environmental Quality, offering a wide variety of data sets, maps and interactive content. In other online improvements, the ReBUILD NC site, dedicated to connecting hurricane-impacted residents with available resources, was retooled based on customer feedback to maximize its value. All told, the state reports that it has added 30 new online services and features in the past two years.

On the emerging tech front, the state is exploring areas where it might benefit from the use of blockchain technologies, such as interagency data sharing on offenders. The Department of Public Safety established a drone academy in partnership with community colleges in the state in order to train first responders and other emergency personnel on how to use drones in their work. 


Oklahoma
2018 Grade: B
2016 Grade: B-
CIO: Bo Reese

Oklahoma just completed a five-year IT strategic plan, finalizing the unification of 110 agencies and launching two initiatives to help transform how Oklahomans interact with the state. The strategic plan offers a guide and road map of where technology in Oklahoma state government is going and how it is working to meet growing citizen and business needs. The road map focuses on three channels: citizens, public-sector employees and innovation. The citizen channel looks at the citizen’s experience with state government through technology. The public-sector employee channel focuses on the needs of state staff and using technology to deliver services and business processes. The innovation channel outlines technology opportunities for both citizens and private-sector employees, such as unmanned aerial vehicles and the Internet of Things.

The two initiatives, launched in the first quarter of 2018, are Innovate Oklahoma and Projects.ok.gov. Innovate Oklahoma is designed to bridge the gap between all forms of technology entrepreneurs, state agencies and citizens. It offers a collaborative platform where citizens and technologists can come together to develop solutions to business problems in Oklahoma. The initiative helps create a niche market of innovative jobs, and the growing tech economy will help keep local talent at home. Projects.ok.gov provides monitoring and transparency for technology projects and contains three- to five-year initiative road maps. That allows the private sector to provide creative solutions for agency-specific and statewide needs. Quarterly webinars on projects allow anyone to learn and understand the direction of technology in the state. 


Oregon
2018 Grade: B
2016 Grade: B
CIO: Terrence Woods (Interim)

Gov. Kate Brown has talked at length about her goals of making state government work for the people, and Oregon’s Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) office seems to have taken that message to heart. From a holistic approach to its statewide strategy to the push to protect citizen data while maintaining open and transparent government, Oregon has made a concerted effort to move forward. One area where ETS has focused its energy has been on creating efficiencies in the IT procurement process. In the past, agencies have struggled to invest in systems that seamlessly fit into the patchwork of systems working across the state. The launch of the Basecamp procurement portal in late 2016 offered an opportunity for agencies to coordinate on their IT spend, while ensuring the least amount of cost and disruption. Another area where the state has focused its attention has been investment in cybersecurity and protecting citizen data. In late 2016, Brown signed Executive Order 16-13 and Senate Bill 90, effectively giving the state CIO more authority across the federated agency landscape. This also included unifying the state’s cybersecurity efforts. The state has also worked to build out its fiber network, working in conjunction with higher education institutions to further this goal. Its partnership with four research universities has allowed for the purchase of 2,200 miles of dark fiber network. In 2017, the state successfully launched its Motor Voter program, which registers voters doing business with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. According to state statistics, the program is responsible for a 14 percent increase in voter registration in the state.


South Carolina
2018 Grade:
2016 Grade: B- 
CIO: Keith Osman

An emphasis on long-range governance and planning from two chief executives has helped South Carolina improve its grade from a B- in 2016 to a solid B. Former Gov. Nikki Haley, the Legislature and current Gov. Henry McMaster have recognized the power of technology and innovation, requiring cabinet agencies to adopt an IT shared service model, and creating tech standards, an agency-wide enterprise architecture and a Project Management Office (PMO) to better align initiatives and improve services and relationships. The creation of tech standards, while still ongoing, has already saved the state more than $650,000.

Among recent initiatives, the availability of telemedicine services to state health plan subscribers generated around 14,500 registrations and yielded more than 5,800 telemedicine visits — 4,700 of which were mobile-based — from January 2017 through April 2018. The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is sharing Medicaid data with the Department of Revenue (DOR) and the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office in a pact that is yielding some interesting dividends. The two agencies’ data-sharing agreement is available to other agencies planning their own initiatives and is being extended to include the South Carolina Health Information Exchange.

Elsewhere across the enterprise, the state Department of Motor Vehicles stood up a responsive design website in 2017; implemented Real ID; and developed an eCitation application in collaboration with law enforcement, vendors and other agencies that has saved $120 million to date. DOR implemented DORWAY, a four-year, leading-edge processing system that integrated 72 taxes and fees, unifying internal and public-facing tax components. The Comptroller General’s Statewide Fiscal Transparency website, which has data for the public, along with procurement information for county and local government, was ranked ninth nationwide by the Public Interest Research Group.


Texas
2018 Grade: B
2016 Grade: B
CIO: Todd Kimbriel

In November 2017, Texas launched a major information resources project that included 77 technology projects with an estimated total cost of $1.5 billion. Many of those were focused on modernization and cybersecurity. That same year, the state Legislature passed the Texas Cybersecurity Act, which established the Information and Analysis Center. The move is part of an effort to protect resident data from outside hacking. In the wake of these developments, the Texas Open Data Portal has been reorganized and rebranded to be more useful and relevant for Texas residents. As an example, the Department of Public Safety launched its new iWatchTexas mobile app to make it easier for the public to report suspicious activity.

Technological innovations in the comptroller’s office have made it easier for residents to do business with the state, such as filing and paying taxes online, any time of the day. In 2017, more than 5.4 million tax returns were filed electronically, compared to only 900,000 in 2007. Also in 2017, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles launched its new eLICENSING system, which consolidated two standalone licensure systems into one network and created an easy-to-use system for Texans to apply for a driver’s license. The texas.gov site offers more than 1,000 online services for more than 300 state and local governments in all 254 counties.


West Virginia
2018 Grade:
2016 grade: B+ 
CTO: John Dunlap

West Virginia has made a lot of public-facing tech and innovation progress in recent years, launching everything from a new website for its tourism office to digital applications for its department of education. This diverse push forward has resulted in a correspondingly varied set of improvements. The department of education’s new application system, for example, enabled that agency to save an estimated 11,082 work hours in 2017 that used to go to processing teacher applications handled via paper forms. Estimates show that the analog version took 90 minutes to process for public servants, and 180 minutes to complete for teachers. And in a move at the leading edge of technology, the state was the first to pilot a blockchain voting program in 2018.

While saving work hours is always desirable, West Virgina, like many other states, also faces very real financial challenges, and so another focus of the tech and innovation work there has been to cut down on other spending. As a first step, West Virginia State Auditor John McCuskey is launching an open data platform that will help everyone — from residents to lawmakers — easily find and analyze information about spending, sometimes down to an itemized level. Internal IT work in West Virginia is also progressing, albeit with less flashy results. A seven-year effort to consolidate data centers has accelerated with two additional agencies being consolidated into the centralized primary data center as of late. State technologists have also stepped up cybersecurity efforts, leading an internal campaign to educate and engage public servants about evolving cyberthreats. Finally, in a move the vast majority of West Virginians are likely to appreciate, the state continues to add kiosks at grocery stores that can be used to handle online vehicle registration and driver license renewals without stepping foot in the Division of Motor Vehicles.


B- States

Alabama
2018 Grade: B-
2016 Grade: C+
CIO: Jim Purcell

Alabama’s grade jumped up to a B+ this year, following a vast expansion of the role of the Office of Information Technology (OIT) in November 2016, giving the office administrative and operational control of the state’s computer, voice and data network infrastructure. The Finance Department retains the enterprise financial, procurement and payroll applications. The state has a federated IT system with limited central IT authority.

Alabama is a member of a Cybersecurity Multistate Compact, and OIT, in collaboration with agency partners, acquired Splunk and upgraded its firewalls. It uses Splunk, MS-ISAC tools/sensors and other tools to monitor network traffic, utilization and unwanted attempts to connect to the network. Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager is used to ensure software is kept current. Although the state doesn’t provide cloud broker services, OIT is in the process of implementing an enterprise cloud broker service. A manger with cloud experience was hired this spring to deploy cloud services.

The state has four energy programs that drive sustainability, energy conservation and "green" government: a Renewable Energy Program; Alternative Transportation Fuels; Biomass Energy Program; and Building Energy Efficiency. The programs are used for building codes, industrial energy efficiency, energy education, renewable fuels, performance contracting and alternative transportation fuels. Alabama has joined other state and municipal code jurisdictions that have incorporated the Energy Rating Index as a compliance option for residential energy building codes.


Kansas
2018 Grade: B-
2016 Grade: C-
CITO: Lee Allen

The Kansas IT Strategic Plan established priorities of modernizing infrastructure and cloud capability, increasing cybersecurity and citizen data protection, and collaboration among agencies. In March, the state launched a mobile application, iKan, in partnership with PayIt, which lets residents pay vehicle registrations and get digital document copies via a mobile device. A chatbot guides users through these processes. Additional functionality for vital records requests was launched this year. Users can now order birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates via the app, and Kansas plans to add tax payments to the app functions.

Kansas established its Information Security Office (KISO) earlier this year, authorized in statute with the passing of Senate Bill 56, the Kansas Cybersecurity Act. The legislation makes KISO the centralized authority over information security and assigns the responsibility of agency information security tasks to the individual agencies. KISO has implemented a security-officer-as-a-service program to make available its specialized and experienced information security staff to the agencies. These officers help agencies by identifying their risks, conducting risk assessments against applications and developing road maps for improvement. These services are also available to agencies looking to fulfill the requirements established in the Kansas Cybersecurity Act.

State IT departments have implemented several application modernizations and infrastructure updates, including mainframe consolidation, email consolidation and migration to Microsoft Office 365. Kansas has also consolidated its method of providing desktop computers, or desktop as a service. This service gives agencies the latest technology, updated operating systems and a flexible billing method, utilizing a consumption-based model. The IT department is planning and has begun various RFP processes for several modernized services, such as the data center, network and service desk, with the goal of updating aging infrastructure, collaborating across agencies and transitioning the state IT organization to a broker-of-services operating model.


South Dakota
2018 Grade: B-
2016 Grade: B-
CIO: Pat Snow (interim)

South Dakota held steady at a B- for the Digital States third survey in a row, continuing its focus on technology as a way to make government services more effective and efficient. But more technology means an increased need for staff with cyberknowledge, so the state looked to the education system to help find them. In his 2018 State of the State address, Gov. Dennis Daugaard announced a statewide partnership between high schools, higher education institutions and the Department of Labor to help grow the cyberworkforce. Through this initiative, high school juniors and seniors will be offered courses with tech-driven topics such as cybersecurity, network services and software development. Completion of these classes will earn them college credit and count toward their high school graduation. Among those partners participating is the Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences, which offers classes in high-demand, well-paying technology fields.

Last year, South Dakota became the first state in the nation to offer an online application for pardons. Launched in May, the system improves efficiency and effectiveness for both applicants and state employees who review the applications.

Also in 2017, the state’s Department of Revenue was a co-winner of the 2017 FTA Award for Technology from the Federation of Tax Administrators (FTA), along with Wisconsin’s Department of Revenue. The department was recognized for its special events application, which utilizes an iPad app to allow staff to quickly and remotely record vendor information.


Vermont
2018 Grade: B-
2016 Grade: B-
CIO: John Quinn

For the third Digital States Survey in a row, Vermont has maintained its B- grade. In the last two years, the state has found new ways to implement and upgrade technology initiatives, human services and infrastructure. These projects have been key to the state’s growth and constituent trust. Vermont was one of five states in the nation to be selected to participate in the National Criminal Justice Reform Project, a long-term technical assistance opportunity to reform criminal justice systems through the National Criminal Justice Association and the National Governors Association. The project helps promote data-driven decision-making and evidence-based practices through using analytics tools, performance metrics and benchmark reporting tools.

The new Vermont Integrated Tax System took four years to consolidate 37 tax types across various systems. A compliance data warehouse was made to help consolidate and organize sensitive information. Things at the Department of Motor Vehicles also got a little easier after a collaborative effort between Vermont DMV and the Department of Environmental Conservation implemented a tablet-based vehicle inspection and maintenance program, helping speed up the completion of the process electronically. Infrastructure projects like pavement modeling and monitoring bridge deterioration have also allowed artificial intelligence and deep learning to take the driver’s seat when things get too complex for conventional methods.


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In the map above, click a state to learn its exact grade and why that grade was given. The contents of the map are also available below.


A States

Georgia
2018 Grade: A
2016 Grade: A-
CIO: Calvin Rhodes

Georgia has invested heavily in cybersecurity since the last Digital States Survey, placing the state firmly at the top of the class in 2018. The $100 million multi-agency cyber center in Augusta is on an expedited construction schedule that gets the project to completion within the last few months of Gov. Nathan Deal’s second term in office. Noteworthy for its broad coalition across government, academia and law enforcement, the center is one that other states newer to cybercollaboration seek to emulate. To back up its physical investments in cybersecurity, the state also has a $100 million cyberinsurance policy.

The Georgia Enterprise Technology Services (GETS) program represents an innovative take on managing technology at an enterprise level through a public-private shared services arrangement. With an annual budget in excess of $220 million, GETS minimizes risks to the state by partnering with vendors to manage IT equipment and storage needs, ensuring appropriate refresh cycles and leading expertise in managing the network and the data center. In 2017, a new procurement approach called Market Test and Rebid (MTR) was introduced, which broke the state’s master contract for IT infrastructure into five distinct parts, driving better rates and more innovative solutions. The effort recently brought new agreements for mainframe, computing and mail/courier services, and will yield a new server services contract after the first of the year.

Evidence of Georgia’s commitment to streamlining citizen services can be found in the Georgia Gateway program, which lets people use a single app to apply for assistance from 10 programs — up from a previous total of three. Governance boards were established to ensure the system runs as effectively as possible. In another example, an e-filing pilot is now underway with courts in 20 of the state’s 159 counties, fostering the streamlined exchange of information across multiple systems and between multiple agencies. 


Michigan
2018 Grade: A
2016 Grade: A
CIO: Dave DeVries

Combining the department of technology with that of management and budget makes the state of Michigan unique in how state IT is administered. The results of the merger and the discipline and execution it has brought to technology use are reflected in the state receiving another A grade from CDG. The newly created Office of Performance Transformation ensures that any automation of an agency business process must undergo lean certification before it is funded. This ensures every process is rigorously examined and redesigned to gain the maximum benefits with the right amounts of technology. And lean isn’t the only tool the state uses to improve performance. The Enterprise Project Management Office also supports agile development and, since 2017, over 75 percent of state IT projects have adopted the popular application development technique while the state’s procurement office has incorporated agile into its contract boilerplate. 

The number of accomplishments in Michigan are numerous, but several stand out. The state has built a toolset that provides a standardized, repeatable process for legacy application modernization. The tool provides an objective retirement and replacement pathway for legacy systems and reduces the risk of an unplanned replacement project. It has built a Master Person Index that has been adopted by 12 human services programs and is used to link citizen records from multiple programs. The index combines logic, rules and algorithms to integrate and speed up service delivery. The state has also created the Law Enforcement Data Hub Analytics platform that collects and cleanses data from multiple sources and creates master records of critical information that can be shared in dashboards and visualizations, giving state and local law enforcement information on crime trends and hot spots. The project has been recognized as a national best practice.


Missouri
2018 Grade: A
2016 Grade: A
CIO: Rich Kliethermes (acting)

Missouri has maintained its high-performance streak, once again earning an A grade in this year’s survey for its strong stance on cybersecurity, ability to streamline using technology, and interest in soliciting citizen feedback and putting it to use. Efficiencies have brought savings across the enterprise, from a public safety elevator inspection app that saves $249,000 annually, to energy savings in the data center netting $98,000, which is in line with the State Energy Conservation Program. Cyber received an additional $1 million in the fiscal year 2018 budget, bringing its total investment to $9 million. The state data center maintains an IT business continuity and disaster recovery plan, as does each individual department, and the Information Technology Services Division (ITSD) has a network operation center that can operate on mobile, meaning there are redundant communications in case of a major disruption. Missouri also holds an annual disaster recovery exercise, and in addition to its participation in FirstNet, the state has its own statewide interoperable communications network for public safety that includes 1,127 federal, state and local public safety agencies.

Elsewhere in the enterprise, Missouri has planned a major project to modernize and integrate its Health and Human Services benefits enrollment, as well as a Medicaid Management Information System (MMIS) modernization by 2020. The Department of Revenue’s “Road to 100” program aims to have 100 percent of call center calls answered without having to make callbacks. The state saw 90 percent of tax calls answered in March 2018 versus 30 percent in March 2017. The addition of a natural language processing platform to the initiative is under discussion. To further enhance citizen engagement, the state is replacing more than 50 Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) legacy systems with “DMV Connect,” which will streamline business functions and also offer citizens the ability to pay license fees online. ITSD also plans a website redesign for fall 2018 that aims to make mo.gov more like Google.


Ohio
2018 Grade: A
2016 Grade: A
CIO: Spencer Wood (interim)

The state of Ohio held its ground in this year’s 50-state assessment, and for good reason. Leadership — both within the Office of Information Technology (OIT) and the statehouse — has pushed ahead with priorities that further the functions of IT. Gov. John Kasich has been an outspoken advocate for technology, promoting the testing and innovation of autonomous vehicles; using data analytics and challenge programs to combat the opioid crisis; and flipping the IT spending model to focus more on public-facing projects. The consolidation of state IT resources has allowed for not only increased spending on public-facing projects, but it has also netted efficiencies and substantial savings. Under the efforts, 90 percent of infrastructure has been moved to the cloud, part of a cloud-first strategy dating back to 2012, and adoption of shared services with outside partners has grown in areas like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), email and mainframe services. Along with addressing the ongoing opioid crisis, data analytics and technology are also being used to take a closer look at infant mortality, transportation and the criminal justice system. These efforts were bolstered by the creation of a pre-qualified pool of firms that agencies could draw from to support these efforts. Additionally, the state has promoted a video-first policy to cut down on travel expenses and it has leveraged state-owned towers for broadband deployments. Many of these efforts were led by CIO Stu Davis, who stepped aside in late August after nearly eight years in the role.


Utah
2018 grade: A
2016 grade: A
CIO: Mike Hussey

A year-over-year focus on digital transformation empowered by focused leadership and prioritization of technology-related initiatives, built on 12 years of consolidated executive branch IT, enabled the state to retain its A ranking from 2016. Gov. Gary Herbert’s enterprise-level initiatives including his SUCCESS Framework, an efficiency approach founded on the idea that all state systems and programs can and must improve; and the Life Elevated 2020 agenda, which leans on statewide growth through collaboration, have ensured it.

The state’s longtime high value on education carried over to 2018, epitomized by numerous higher and lower tech education pathways including SheTech Explorer and the Utah Futures OnRamp. The former, a collaboration between the Women Tech Council and the Utah Stem Action Center, introduced more than 2,000 high school students to advanced tech. The latter offers an online resource to students for education and career planning. The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics reports Utah leads the nation in tech job growth at 7.7 percent.

Reasoning that good data enables good decisions, Utah has stood up online resources including a Homelessness Data Dashboard, confronting the problem with longitudinal information capture and analysis; and Intergenerational Poverty (IGP) County Data, which uses data to confront poverty. DOT has spearheaded connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology including an app that adjusts traffic signals to help buses stay on schedule; and is exploring roadside communication infrastructure for weather sensing and traffic data. In 2017, a Pew study ranked Utah the No. 2 state for evidence-based policymaking.

Among many digital projects underway, a statewide broadband map integrated with Locate.Utah.gov connects businesses to needed broadband services. The state’s single sign-on solution UtahID is now an entry point to more than 900 systems and services; and a collaboration with cloud procurement company JAGGAER (formerly SciQuest) has streamlined online procurement.


A- States

California
2018 Grade: A-
2016 Grade: B+
CIO: Amy Tong

California climbed from a B+ in 2016 to an A- in this year’s Digital States Survey for its continued efforts to manage a vast population and massive economy with the help of strong tech initiatives. The California Department of Technology (CDT) has made particular strides in its commitment to agile methodologies for project development and procurement, and pushing this out to state agencies ensures citizens can receive services efficiently. As part of this commitment to service delivery, programs like Get CalFresh harness user-centered design to create easy-to-use apps for citizens. In the first year that Get CalFresh was used to streamline benefits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, there was a 43 percent increase in applications in counties using the program versus those who were not. The program is now being rolled out statewide. To further meet users where they are, CDT has made an effort to make as many services mobile as possible. This includes a Franchise Tax Board app, so users can track their state tax return status, and a mobile app for finding voting information, among dozens more.

To protect against the ever-present threat of a cyberattack, in 2017 the state established the California Cybersecurity Integration Center, and the first-ever statewide Security Operations Center, which blocks more than 200 million breach attempts each day. In anticipation of the legalization of marijuana in the state in 2018, a partnership between the Bureau of Cannabis Control, Department of Food and Agriculture, and Department of Public Health launched an online cannabis portal offering a one-stop shop for information on licensing, regulation and consumers. More than 5,000 cannabis purveyors now hold state licenses, and the California Cannabis Track-and-Trace system follows and records all cannabis transactions to monitor safety and ensure market regulation.


Indiana
2018 Grade: A-
2016 Grade: A-
CIO: Dewand Neely

Indiana holds steady in the Digital States survey, maintaining the same A- grade that the state received in 2016. But that doesn’t mean that the state has been static with its tech and innovation work. Two years into his first term, Gov. Eric J. Holcomb has taken an active interest in that area of government, with actions that range from proposing a fund to fuel innovative entrepreneurship to creating chief data officer and chief privacy officer positions within state government, both of which are gubernatorially appointed. While those additions are significant, a major focus of tech work in Indiana of late has been consolidation in the name of efficiency. 

Since 2016, Indiana has worked to develop new tech solutions that save time, money and energy. These solutions are wide-spanning and varied, ranging from virtualizing 73 percent of its servers — saving money on both energy and cooling costs — to consolidating IT infrastructure into a unified environment supported and managed by a single tech office. 

The aforementioned addition of a chief data officer, as well as a new Open Data Act signed into law to formally codify Indiana’s Management Performance Hub (MPH) as a standalone state agency, speak to the state’s ongoing commitment to data and analytics work. A primary focus of the MPH has been the ongoing opioid crisis, which is afflicting Indiana as it is nearly every state in the country. The MPH is helping by compiling data from disparate state agencies to create real-time substance trend information for those on the front lines. That effort has led to the creation of related dashboards, which have helped the state make the case to increase capacity in residential treatment facilities.


Minnesota
2018 Grade: A-
2016 Grade: B+
CIO: Johanna Clyborne

Behind Gov. Mark Dayton’s vision is an IT direction set by CIO Johanna Clyborne, who leads Minnesota IT Services (MNIT), providing IT services to more than 70 agencies, boards and commissions, and 2,000 people over 90 physical locations. The governor’s vision is set forth in a master plan that sets a long-term IT strategy of strengthening and modernizing government interactions with Minnesotans. One of the goals is to provide better and more affordable health care that is available to every Minnesotan via an online marketplace, MNsure

Improving access to the workforce system is another key goal of the administration and the Career and Education Explorer was launched in June 2017 to assist students, job hunters, and counselors in finding careers and related education, all in one Web tool. This tool also helps contribute to the realization of the Minnesota Combined State Plan, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

The state’s Network for Enterprise Telecommunications is a public-private partnership that delivers an integrated statewide network for the executive branch, the courts, higher education and cities and counties throughout. It is managed by MNIT and connects 1,700 locations in more than 300 cities, featuring a built-in security design, quality of service for efficient traffic and dedicated high-speed cloud connectivity. MNIT has also pursued smart and sustainable IT infrastructure, reducing its power consumption by reducing the number of data centers from 29 to 16. MNIT has also supported agency virtualization projects by hosting agency services during their transition periods.


New York
2018 Grade: A-
2016 Grade: B
CIO: Bob Samson

New York has made great strides in its New NY Broadband Program, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo established in 2015 to spread high-speed Internet statewide. The final round of state funding in 2018 is designed for last-mile backing of Internet access for all New Yorkers. The $209.7 million award will give broadband to 122,285 homes, businesses and community organizations. 

The state also offers residents more than 335 million records from state, local and federal agencies via the OpenNY website. State agencies such as the Department of Health and the Energy Research and Development Authority have started publishing tools and visualizations based on their data in OpenNY. 

Recognizing the importance of cybersecurity, New York has created cyberunits within the State Police and Division of Homeland Security. And in order to protect state elections, the governor created the Election Support Center to strengthen election infrastructure, train county boards of election members in cybersecurity, and distribute cyberthreat information quickly to local stakeholders. The state also created an Elections Cybersecurity Support Toolkit containing threat mitigation tools. New York regularly assesses cyber-risks to identify vulnerabilities in counties. The state hosts free disaster recovery services to protect voter information. Cuomo also requires counties to report to the State Police and the State Board of Elections about data breaches that could expose voter or election information.  

Last year, Cuomo launched the New York Tech Workforce Task Force to modernize K-12 and college curricula. Composed of industry, academic and state government experts, the Task Force also makes recommendations on workforce training and other strategies to keep up with an IT-based economy. The governor also invested in a Tech Training Fund of $5.3 million to better prepare state residents for modern jobs.


North Dakota
2018 Grade: A-
2016 Grade: A-
CIO: Shawn Riley

As a former tech executive, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum understands the influence of technology, even on his largely agricultural state. Using unmanned aerial systems to gather information on crops has become vital to precision agriculture, for instance. Automatically collected data of weather, traffic and wildlife activity gives more options when making decisions.  

Burgum launched the Main Street Initiative to strengthen communities, build a 21st-century workforce and create smart and efficient infrastructure. The state has developed a dashboard for the initiative to provide visual data sets for residents and local officials to help plan community improvement. The dashboard provides detailed information on cities and counties across the state. It shows community profile data; state, county and city financial information; and education highlights. The state will give city leaders the option to edit and update specific information that may help their economic development efforts and provide transparency to citizens. Dashboard information will also be downloadable in Microsoft Excel or printed as a PDF. The dashboard will continue to be enhanced based on user feedback.  

In 2017, North Dakota CIO Shawn Riley began a major structural overhaul of IT in the state, merging more than 600 IT workers from numerous state agencies in order to better align teams by common functions. The move is designed to streamline operations and enable shared services via collaboration.


Virginia
2018 Grade: A-
2016 Grade: A
CIO: Nelson Moe 

Virginia earned an A- grade in this year’s survey, marking its continued dedication to improved IT and best practices. Ralph Northam took over as governor in 2018, and he continued his predecessor’s focus on promoting technology and cybersecurity. The Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) received approval and funding for 40 new positions within the agency. Most are intended to speed up the transition to the new multi-supplier environment for infrastructure services, while some are for Web scanning and an information security shared services center. Northam appointed Carlos Rivero as the state’s first ever chief data officer in July 2018.  

Since 2016, Virginia has been in the process of transitioning from a $2 billion, 13-year contract with a single provider for IT infrastructure services to a multi-supplier model. The process has not been easy, with limited support from the incumbent provider for contract-required transition services. However, the state is still moving forward, establishing a Customer Advisory Council to solicit statewide input from the 61 agencies served. Virginia expects $300 million in IT spend to be impacted by the new multi-supplier environment. 

As far as systems already in place, the state’s supply chain management (SCM) saw notable success in fiscal 2017. SCM had 20 major procurements, 300 contracts and an overall managed cost avoidance/reduction of more than $40 million, the state reports. In its inaugural survey, the Governing Institute ranked Virginia’s SCM No. 1 for state procurement. The state also launched a new system in December 2016, Enterprise Cloud Oversight Services (ECOS), which provides oversight and management of cloud-based services, particularly software as a service. Since launch, ECOS has received 139 customer requests, nearly 60 of which are now in the production oversight phase.


Washington
2018 Grade: A-
2016 Grade: A-
CIO: Vicki Smith (interim)

Key focus areas for the state of Washington are cybersecurity, transparency and infrastructure modernization. The Office of Privacy and Data Protection, formed in 2016, coordinates state privacy programs and advises the governor and legislature in areas like data collection. The Office of Cybersecurity launched a new website in 2017 and serves as a statewide resource for cybersecurity education and awareness.

The state intends to migrate some shared services like email, collaboration and video conferencing out of the state’s central data center and onto the Office 365 cloud platform. A shared cloud environment allows for single sign-on and multi-factor authentication. By August 2019, the state’s three remaining server farms will have moved into a private cloud setting, shrinking the size of the state energy footprint. Washington is also reducing its carbon footprint with efforts like increasing zero emission vehicle fleets and incorporating renewable energy into new buildings like the Helen Sommers Building, which houses the Department of Enterprise Services.  

The state is involved with a wide-reaching effort to modernize and improve Washington’s aging administrative and business processes through a program known as One Washington. The project is also developing an inventory system to catalog all state-owned and leased facilities. Other technology modernization efforts can be found in the departments of transportation and motor vehicles, with the introduction of the new Driver and Vehicle System (DRIVES), which is part of a $60 million multi-year business and technology modernization project. The record management piece of this project alone will replace nearly 100 legacy applications. 


Wisconsin
2018 Grade: A-
2016 Grade: A-
CIO: David Cagigal

Over the past two years in Wisconsin, 50 additional online applications and services were launched, demonstrating significant progress on Wisconsin’s journey to digital government. The recently upgraded broadband savings agreement serves all 72 counties across the state, providing broadband, a wide area network and video applications to tribal nations, municipalities and technical colleges. All agencies are consolidating data by locating services in the Department of Enterprise Technology’s managed data center. The cloud service will allow the state to review and optimize its provisioning process in a secure, centralized environment.

Plans to recruit and train Wisconsin’s cyberworkforce are being strengthened by partnerships with private industry, while an IT Security Policy Handbook was published to establish comprehensive principles, policies, standards and procedures for IT security governance. Wisconsin's IT department also became more well-rounded with the help of the Business Intelligence Collaboration Center. Formed by agency IT directors, data-driven solutions will promote and advance new ideas to engage data in civic life.

The National Governors Association will provide Wisconsin with technical assistance in modernizing its cybersecurity plans and infrastructure, and a new Policy Academy initiative offers an upgraded defense system against globalized and advanced cyberattacks. The Cyber Strategic and Planning Working Group develops strategic planning direction for resources necessary to protecting critical infrastructure. Representatives of the group are from state agencies, the National Guard, cybersecurity leaders and a handful of private companies.

Lauren Harrison is the managing editor for Government Technology magazine. She has a degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and more than 10 years’ experience in book and magazine publishing.