NASCIO honors top state IT projects and initiatives

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers is holding its annual conference in Austin, Texas this year, and yesterday they announced winners of state information technology best practices awards. Projects spanning from law enforcement and public health, to transportation and information security were among the thirty finalists announced in August. But the ten winning projects all shared a few common elements: they utilized both existing and new technologies, were applicable outside the purview of their agency, and remained focused on high-quality, cost-effective service delivery.

In August of this year, thirty projects, from seventeen states, were nominated in ten categories as finalists for the National Association of State Chief Information Officers’ (NASCIO) 2009 Recognition Awards for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Information Technology in State Government. Oklahoma Deputy Director of Information Technology and NASCIO Awards Committee Co-Chair, Joe Fleckinger said the Recognition Awards allowed states to promote and share best practices, while encouraging state governments to focus on efficiency, excellence and quality service to their citizens. Finalists were chosen from a field of 117 submissions by thirty-one sates, according to a NASCIO release in August. But during this year’s annual conference, ten of those 117 projects stood above the rest.

The Commonwealth of Virginia was one of two states with multiple category wins, boasting three wins for IT Project and Portfolio Management; Data, Information and Knowledge Management; and Digital Government: Government to Citizen (G to C).

Michigan was the only other multiple category winner, taking home prizes for Digital Government: Government to Government (G TO G); and Information Security and Privacy.

North Carolina’s Wearable Inspection Grading Information Network System; Pennsylvania’s IT Shared Services initiative; Utah’s On The Spot Renewal System and Highway Patrol Safety Inspections; Washington’s Enhanced Driver License/Identification Card Project; and Illinois’ National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (I-NEDSS) rounded out the other five categories.

“NASCIO’s Recognition Award program highlights leadership, innovation and collaboration,” Greg Wass, Illinois CIO and NASCIO Awards Committee Co-Chair, said. “Learning from the successes of our colleagues around the country, we can all reap the benefit of efficient business practices, quality information management, and sound technology policy.”

Report details

Winner: Illinois’ National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (I-NEDSS)
This category addresses IT initiatives related to continuity of government operations, which make states better prepared for major incidents such as natural or man-made disasters, pandemic flu and major infrastructure failures.

The I-NEDSS is part of a national electronic disease reporting system that links healthcare providers, state and local public health agencies within Illinois, and provides data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Winner: Washington’s Enhanced Driver License/Identification Card Project
This category addresses coordinating, sharing, integrating or joining up of IT related goals and strategies, governance and management, policies, architecture and standards, business processes, data and information, systems and applications, services, technologies and infrastructure.

Washington became the first state in the nation to empower U.S. citizens with an Enhanced Driver License or ID card (EDL/ID) for land or sea border crossings. The EDL/ID was created in response to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), which requires all travelers to present a passport or other approved document in order to enter or re-enter the United States.

Winner: Virginia’s Virginia Performs: Performance Leadership and Accountability System
This category addresses strategies, processes, applications, solutions, initiatives or programs that create, use, process, leverage or manage data, information, content, knowledge and intellectual value, property or capital.

Virginia Performs is a performance leadership and accountability system that encompasses an integrated array of state agency plans, objectives, performance measures and societal indicators. It forms the basis for strategic planning, performance-based budgeting and productivity improvement for Virginia’s state government.

Winner: Utah
For innovative applications that foster less cost to business for regulatory compliance; setting up and growing a business; and day-to-day government-to-business interactions.

Utah’s On-the-Spot Renewal (OTS) ( is an online application used by vehicle inspection stations to renew registrations at point of sale and issue a decal immediately. OTS is
available for cars, trucks, watercraft and off-road vehicles. OTS is the most convenient, streamlined way for citizens to renew their vehicle.

Winner: Virginia’s Portal Widgets
This is an award for governmental applications that provide innovative service to citizens or increase government’s efficiency with citizen interaction. Acceptable submissions include any type of electronic interface and may demonstrate self-service applications, personalization, subscription and notification features, or provisions for government transparency and accountability.

Citizen engagement is a high priority across Virginia government. Portal widgets allow citizens to easily adopt government information and use it, and it is simple and cost-neutral for government to participate.

Winner: Michigan’s Standard Desktop Environment
For digital government initiatives aimed at enhancing intergovernmental collaboration, cross-jurisdictional services and intergovernmental transaction processing.

When Michigan’s Information Technology services were consolidated in 2002, the state maintained 34 different desktop systems operating on end-of-life equipment. These outdated solutions were impacted by multiple virus outbreaks. The systems in place couldn’t handle the state’s growing mobile workforce and the necessary security was non-existent. The state had the need for both an immediate short-term fix and long-term fix in the midst of intractable budget issues. In response, the Michigan Department of Information Technology developed a secured desktop solution named Michigan/1 (M/1), as well as a security based laptop solution named Next Generation Laptop (NGL).

Winner: Pennsylvania’s IT Shared Services
This category represents state initiatives to plan, organize and execute enterprise-wide technology initiatives. The focus should be on solutions that employ policies, best practices and processes for enterprise change management, workforce development, governance or transformation of service delivery.

Pennsylvania’s Governor’s Office of Administration (OA) provides policy direction, management services and technology infrastructure to all agencies under the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell. With the support and commitment of key agencies, the OA’s Office of IT (OIT) embarked on Shared Services and related Consolidation Initiatives in 1998 to help better support growing citizen needs and refocus Pennsylvania’s IT culture from technology alone to business. These leading initiatives have improved efficiencies resulting in $317 million in savings with an additional savings of $240 million expected over the next five years.

Winner: North Carolina’s Wearable Inspection Grading Information Network System
This award category covers initiatives or services to promote economic development, interoperability and improve quality of life. This may be accomplished by facilitating or providing communications capabilities that enable state government to operate more efficiently and effectively or offer more innovative, responsive, and personalized services to citizens. Initiatives or services could be unique uses of current technology or the application of leading-edge technology.

To increase the efficiency, accuracy and consistency of inspecting more than 21,000 bridges, culverts, pipes and overhead signs every two years, and to make bridge reports available more quickly, NCDOT implemented a tablet PC-based mobile inspection system. This application was named WIGINS, (Wearable Inspection Grading Information Network System) in memory of Lin Wiggins, the Director of the NC Bridge Maintenance Unit.

Winner: Michigan’s Secure Wireless LAN
This award category encompasses both IT security and privacy as strategic initiatives. Nominations should be initiatives designed to improve the security and/or privacy posture of state government. These initiatives may include cybersecurity, risk assessment, data security, IT security awareness, crisis communications, privacy frameworks, or homeland security concerns.

Over the last two years, the Michigan Department of Information Technology has developed an innovative and effective balance for wireless communications in a best-practice security environment, providing transferable policy, operational and technical lessons for other jurisdictions.

Winner: Virginia’s Technology Portfolio 2.0
This category is for state initiatives which have developed a framework, governance processes, policies and systems for the efficient management of IT investments from concept, funding, implementation, operation to retirement.

Implementation of a business-driven IT investment management (ITIM) methodology required significant system and business process changes throughout Virginia government. The effort was divided into five components and the life-cycle that connects them, collectively referred to as the ITIM Framework.

To read the rest of the report, download here (.pdf).

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