InnovateOhio Platform Ramps Up User-Friendly Online Services

Roughly 1 million Ohioans have signed up for OH|ID single sign-on to access 100 government services and counting, as new state leadership brainstorms the creation of a digital wallet for residents.

by / June 19, 2019
The OH|ID is a secure, single sign-on allowing Ohio residents to access state services. InnovateOhio

In late April, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed an executive order requiring all state agencies, boards and commissions to adopt and use the InnovateOhio Platform. The order charged Lt. Gov. Jon Husted with coordinating data and resources statewide and streamlining technology services to give Ohioans a better interaction experience with departments.

State Chief Data and Analytics Officer Derek Bridges, who led the rollout of the state single sign-on myOhio for government employees and OH|ID for private citizens, said he worked with Husted to shape the goals of the InnovateOhio Platform.

“What we landed on was actually a very visionary expansion to the strategy around digital and identity,” Bridges said. “So really looking at identity from a digital transformation standpoint. The idea of giving people options, really comprehensive options, to conduct business with the state digitally.”

He said the new platform integrates previously developed tools and uses them as foundations to provide improved digital interaction, data sharing, analytics and more. He said the next step that he, Husted and CIO Ervan Rodgers have been brainstorming is how to create a digital wallet.

Bridges said the catalyst for the digital back end of a physical identity starts with OH|ID, the single sign-on portal available to residents. Ohioans can access about 100 state systems currently, but more are constantly being integrated. About 1 million residents have created an OH|ID to date, he said. The first step toward this goal has been completed with the integration of all Bureau of Motor Vehicle (BMV) records into the single sign-on, he said. The BMV maintains about 10 million resident identifications.

“The idea is as we build on this and as more agencies participate then citizens, the general public, they have the opportunity, if they so choose, to access more of their information and conduct more of their transactions through digital channels instead of in person,” Bridges said. “We’ve come a good way with a million people onboard already and this without using the driver’s license information yet.”

BMV Registrar Charles Norman said the integration of drivers' licenses into a digital wallet is still in the conceptional phase. Norman said a mobile ID is one of many ideas he and his staff presented the InnovateOhio Platform team.

“We’ve done some research and we’ve had a demonstration from a vendor within the past couple of months, but it’s still in the early stages,” he said.

Norman said an initiative the new platform helped kickstart is “Get In Line, Online,” a pilot program that went live Monday. It allows residents near 12 deputy registrar locations to take a virtual ticket and forgo an in-person wait. Users have a four-hour window to arrive, check in at a self-service kiosk and claim their spot, he said. The program is slated to last six months, but if demand is high enough, the BMV may begin a phased rollout to all 186 deputy registrar locations before then.

“The idea is to cut wait times and free people to do the things that are important to them instead of waiting in line,” Norman said. “It will take a little pressure off our deputy registrars and really just improve the customer experience overall. In addition to the convenience factor for the customer, this really gives us at the BMV a lot of data that we never had access to.”

He said his department can gather data about line lengths, wait times and how long particular transactions take to complete. The information will then be used to refine processes and strategically place expert staff where they are needed at deputy registrar locations.

“Our staff here in field operations has been working on this idea for a while but we never really had an outlet and the InnovateOhio Platform gave us that opportunity to roll this out,” Norman said. “Certainly, if we roll it out on a larger scale, they’ll be a huge part of that both with support and, frankly, the financial resources needed to do so.”

Husted said in a prepared statement about the launch of “Get In Line, Online” that his goal is to change culture within the state so that every government service has residents in mind.

“We want ours to be the most innovative, creative state in the Midwest, which starts within state government by using technology to offer better services to Ohioans, and this is a great first step for the BMV,” Husted said in a release.

Bridges said the hardest part of enacting change has been working with agencies to determine how systems like OH|ID will be used and what the desired user experience will look like. But he said InnovateOhio Platform has invigorated departments to proactively make their services available in a digital form.

“It’s a really important thing and we’re very excited to have this type of momentum at this point and I think we’re going after huge things that are really, really impactful changes to customer service across the state,” Bridges said. “Not just modernizing it, but improving and streamlining it and using data to drive better personalized services and decisions and really doing all this with the foremost focus being security, privacy and really that element of choice.”

Patrick Groves Staff Writer

Patrick Groves was a staff writer for Government Technology from 2019 to 2020.

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