Looking at the wall of blue squares as they toggling into formation behind State of Hawaii Chief Information Officer (CIO) Todd Nacapuy, a passerby at the Impact Hub could have mistaken the projection as edgy, innovative decor. However, to the attendees in the room, each square represented a visualized portion of nearly half a billion dollars of the state’s IT projects.
The Transform Hawaii Government (THG) coalition held its first thought-provoking speaker series event with the help of the state Office of Enterprise Technology Services and Rep. Mark M. Nakashima on July 25 in Kakaako.
CIO Nacapuy along with his team shared examples of how the financial tracking tool promotes government transparency for stakeholders such as legislators, state agencies, and the general public through an interactive demonstration of the Hawaii Department Dashboard.
The Office of Enterprise Technology Services employees maintain the dashboard with continuous input from the various departments. It tracks the progress of current and upcoming IT projects including financial overviews as well as project timelines. Below are some takeaways from the event.
Changing the [Money] Conversation
The Office of Enterprise Technology Services meets monthly with individual state departments (with the exception of the Department of Education and the University of Hawaii System, which are administered and led by their respective boards) so that all verified IT projects are represented on the dashboard.
“What it [the Hawaii Department Dashboard] does is it now changes the conversation. All of our financial systems are now linked together, meaning that when a department now puts in a budget request, we see it and it gets displayed on the roadmap,” said Nacapuy during his presentation.
According to the CIO, if IT project requests are not listed on the dashboard, then budget approval is denied, which encourages departments to develop planning “roadmaps” and anticipate any future savings. The protocol, in turn, has somewhat dampened the age-old practice of “use it or lose it” for departmental expenditures on the state government IT level.
Based on analysis of the data, the State of Hawaii also leveraged economies of scale to get significant savings on enterprise contracts for commonly used software.
“We looked across the state as a whole, and we were spending almost $2 million a year on Adobe Acrobat Pro. Many departments used the software to make PDFs ADA compliant. So we went back to Adobe and were able to reduce the contract rate significantly,” said Nacapuy.
This year, ETS is looking to continue this rate for the next three years.
Empirical Data as a Single Source of Truth
“Modernizing these systems are going to help us get there so that we can give our legislators empirical data to make the right decisions”
Lastly, during the legislative session, bills which request additional funding to support multi-year IT projects are not uncommon. Fiscal dashboards like the department dashboard benefit Hawaii’s legislators with empirical data to make decisions derived from facts as opposed to special interests.
When asked what success for the dashboard will look like in a year, Nacapuy said, “modernizing these systems is going to help us get there so that we can give our legislators empirical data to make the right decisions, so they are no longer relying on lobbyists to give them information. We’re trying to give them true information through data. That’s where we need to go, that’s what we’re trying to do and what that end goal is.”
Hawaii’s state deparment dashboard was made possible with thte passage of Senate Bill 2807 SD2 (later signed into law as Act 58 of 2016), which consolidated two programs to establish the Office of Enterprise Technology Services and expanded the state CIO’s authority to work with departments to develop and maintain their IT “roadmaps.”
Explore the dashboard using the link below and stay tuned for upcoming THG Speaker Series events.