Ohio Shoots for ‘Digital Wallet’ to Better Serve Citizens

On Monday, the governor signed an executive order on requiring all state agencies to be online with the common InnovateOhio platform within one year.

by Randy Ludlow, The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio / April 29, 2019
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(TNS) –– Think about your best online experiences –– shopping or otherwise.

The best websites remember your personal data and preferences and even anticipate your needs.

It's a lofty goal, but that is what InnovateOhio wants to bring to an array of state government websites and online services under the leadership of Lt. Gov. Jon Husted.

Built upon $202 million in state informational-technology spending since 2012, the effort will finish the migration of the state's online offerings to a common, centralized platform.

Ohioans should be given a "digital wallet" that permits them to deal with a variety of state agencies, over taxes, licenses and other matters, with a minimum of frustration and fuss, Husted said.

His stated goal is that taxpayers should never again have to walk into a state government office, because all their needs can be met online. DeWine is promoting "a user-friendly way to deal with the government."

The governor signed an executive order on Monday requiring all state agencies to be online with the common InnovateOhio platform within one year.

Husted said InnovateOhio will focus on three primary elements -- customer service, data analytics to help deliver better government services and improve Ohioans' lives and security to safeguard personal information.

"You can't get it almost right, you have to get it completely right," Husted said.

Director Kimberly Murnieks of the Office of Budget and Management said her agency will be the first to go online with an improved website and data search tools as part of the technological upgrade.

The project holds the promise of also ultimately saving taxpayer money through centralized data collection and processing, state officials said. The $202 million in spending on IT optimization since 2012 led to savings of $162.5 million through 2017, a state spokesman said. Numbers on savings for the past and current fiscal year have not been calculated.

DeWine's two-year state budget proposal seeks $20 million to fund InnovateOhio, with the hardware and software components housed within the budget of the Department of Administrative Services.

State lawmakers increased Husted's annual salary beyond that of the lieutenant governor ($113,947) to $176,426 as the leader of InnovateOhio.

©2019 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.