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Monday, June 3, 2013
Transform Hawaii Gov: Tech Mavens Point to Success in Other States
By News Release @ 10:52 PM :: 3665 Views :: Hawaii State Government

June, 2013 Transform Hawai'i Government Newsletter

From TransfromHawaiiGov.org

This issue of the monthly newsletter will examine efforts of other state and municipal governments in implementing their business and information technology transformations. Many of the lessons learned by these governments are being applied in Hawaii. 

Utah’s e-Government Portal Improves Access, Saves Money

Utah was one of the first states in the country to recognize the need for a comprehensive overhaul of the way it provided services to citizens and businesses. Since first coming online in 1999, more than 1,000 individual services have been made available through Utah’s e-government portal at Utah.gov. As of 2011, more than 1.3 million people visited the site.

Developing the ability to provide services online not only increased access for citizens, businesses and others, but it also significantly reduced the taxpayer costs to provide each service, saving the state nearly $46 million over just five years. Moreover, by moving to a self-funded/no-cost model, additional savings have totaled $15 million - money that is reinvested in expanding online capabilities.

A 2012 study by the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Utah examined the state’s services to determine the cost savings related to providing services online and found that the cost for providing services through the website was, on average, substantially lower than providing the same services in person at state offices.

The study found that the average service cost for selected online services was approximately $4 per transaction, compared with more than $17 per transaction for offline services. This significant savings allows for reinvestment into improving the quality of services across government.

Taking Utah’s lead in e-government, Hawaii has already launched dozens of services online, with more becoming available each year. Businesses, citizens and visitors all have convenient access to state services and government operates more efficiently.

The state’s Transformation Plan envisions a day when nearly all state services are available 24/7 from any device and government business operations are streamlined.

New York City Uses Open Data to Solve Problems

New York City has become the national leader in leveraging open data for the community good. Mayor Michael Bloomberg commissioned a dedicated team within the city to find efficiencies and streamline operations by utilizing the plethora of data generated daily.

As seen in the image above, the team is utilizing open data sets to illustrate positive and negative things about the city, often with practical, real-world applications.

For example, a recent article in the New York Times highlighted the city’s problem with clogged drains that were the result of restaurants pouring grease into the sewer. Instead of sending health inspectors to restaurants on blocks with backed up sewers, the city’s Office of Policy and Strategic Planning unearthed data and compared restaurants that did not have a grease carting service with geo-spatial data on the sewers to find a list of likely suspects. The effort resulted in a 95 percent success rate in tracking down the culprits and proved the value of big data.

In Hawaii, the legislature passed a bill last session, HB 632, that requires state agencies to make electronic data sets open and available to the public. It also requires the state Chief Information Officer to develop policies and procedures to implement the open data initiative. These steps will help Hawaii move closer to being able to utilize big data to solve civic problems.

Texas Saves $50 Million by Being More Transparent

Some argue that increasing government transparency only increases costs, as agencies and staff are forced to spend time ensuring open access to information. Texas, however, is proving that argument wrong by providing government transparency online and, in the process, realizing tens of million of dollars in savings on contracts.

According to a recent report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Following the Money 2013 – How the 50 State Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data, by highlighting opportunities for vendors online, the state of Texas was able to save $33 million over three years by renegotiating its copier machine lease. The state also saved $15.2 million by negotiating prison food contracts – all by providing online procurement transparency and encouraging competitive bidding.

Hawaii recognizes the value of transparency and is making progress on its own transparency initiatives, including open data and information technology cost-transparency elements that will help optimize costs.

Michigan Saves Millions through Integration

Michigan realized millions of dollars in savings over the past decade by reducing its energy footprint, consolidating resources and offering managed services to state agencies. Taking the lead from private industry, the state streamlined its backend operations to reduce energy consumption and integrate the use of resources across the enterprise.

It is estimated that Michigan saved $19 million in the first five years after it underwent a data center consolidation, with the largest savings coming from avoiding the upgrade of old and outdated systems.

Between 2008 and 2010, the state saved more than $45 million by restructuring procurement and providing centralized services to state agencies. Read more about Michigan’s savings through investments in information technology at GCN.

Hawaii’s own enterprise resource planning project will help to streamline the provision of resources across departments and agencies, ensuring efficient use of servers and allowing the state to use its bulk purchasing power to receive the best rates for software licenses and other products.

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