- Maribell Pabalan
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In the latest example of Hawaii’s efforts to embrace smart technologies, the state government is working with a leading customer relationship management (CRM) company to strengthen the overall experience of its online sites and services.
Among the first sites developed in-house by the state on the Salesforce platform was the Hawaii Agriculture & Food Products Database, unveiled by the state Department of Agriculture (DOA) during the Hawaii Agriculture Conference in August.
With the goal of improving its IT modernization efforts, the database provides more comprehensive access farmers and ranchers in Hawaii. It also aims to connect the world to the manufacturers that add value to Hawaii-grown products to create goods that showcase Hawaii agriculture.
“The Salesforce platform was selected after ETS evaluated several of the industry’s top CRM platforms,” said Todd Nacapuy, state chief information officer. “While this does not preclude departments and agencies from procuring alternatives, our intention is to focus development of state employee skillsets. In the interest of transparency, this also communicates to all IT service providers an area of opportunity, that the state will likely require services relating to the platform in the future.”
The site was developed collaboratively by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture and the state Office of Enterprise Technology Services. The site concept was primarily based on solutions identified at the 2016 Hawaii Annual Code Challenge.
Other smart technologies from last year’s code challenge are being developed for the CRM platform and scheduled for launch this year.
In addition, the Office of Enterprise Technology Services will be conducting an evaluation of existing sites and apps that could use an “upgrade” by relaunching them on the platform. The evaluation is expected to be concluded by Dec. 1.
The CRM tool was approved by the IT Steering Committee, which assists the state CIO in developing IT standards and policies.
Give Michigan, Illinois and North Carolina credit for innovative high-tech solutions
At a time when the need for government to better engage citizens and businesses has grown more urgent in this technology-driven world, these three states are looking to define smart government in the digital age.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder in August tapped David DeVries, a veteran of the federal government IT development, to serve as the state’s CIO. His duties will include directing Michigan’s Department of Technology, Management and Budget.
DeVries brings to his new post experience in modernize aging IT infrastructure and improving cybersecurity at the federal level.
In Illinois, the state government recently launched a 2017-2019 cybersecurity strategy considered both bold and forward-thinking. The state’s Chief Information Security Officer, Kirk Lonbom, described the effort as “establishing a culture of cyber-risk ownership with our business leaders.”
Lonbom said that a significant amount of time was spent meeting with state agency directors and other executives regarding the cyber threat and the potential impact on the state’s ability to deliver critical services to citizens. He said that they worked hard to ensure business leaders understood that cybersecurity is a business issue, and not an IT issue.
He added that for the state of Illinois, it is a life, health and safety issue. “Should certain systems fail,” he said, “there is a true risk of lives being affected,” adding that he’s proud to say that the state’s executives have a much clearer understanding, and Illinois continues to nurture these relationships.
In August, the third state, North Carolina, assembled a panel of experts from all levels of government to discuss approaches to move their respective organizations forward.
Called the North Carolina Digital Government Summit, the officials from state and local government hashed out the issues of working with vendors, defining “smart in the digital age and accurately measuring success.
After some debate, they concluded that smart government means different things to different organizations, adding that when it comes to helping innovation and new ideas thrive, the local and regional levels offered the most agility and flexibility. At the same time, smaller towns are well suited to carefully deploying solutions and measuring their success in a controlled environment, although they often face greater funding challenges than larger government organizations.
Advances in good government require smart thinking and crisp execution, but a little bit of luck doesn’t hurt.
The 2017 Hawaii Annual Code Challenge (HACC) appeared to have had plenty of all three on Aug. 26 when it kicked off at the East-West Center’s Keoni Auditorium.
The month-long team competition saw hundreds of computer programmers, software developers, and tech-minded innovators rally to the state’s challenge to form teams and lend their collective creativity toward improving state government.
Organizers bet big that teams combining a mixture of tech-savvy students, amateurs and professionals would be up to the daunting task of building innovative solutions that could transform the way state government does business, with an eye toward a more efficient, accessible and transparent future.
“The Hawaii Annual Code Challenge is a great opportunity to bring citizens together with government to collaboratively come up with solutions that make Hawaii better,” said Burt Lum, executive director of Hawaii Open Data. “It was amazing what the teams came up with and talent that exists here, especially with our students. We hope to expand this event into more high schools to drive civic engagement and innovation throughout our state.”
A team of University of Hawaii students that called themselves “LoveMilkTea” took first place in the competition with a “wayfinding” mobile app for their campus at Manoa, which often can be difficult for new students and visitors to navigate. The team produced a handy wayfinding app to make it easier to locate buildings on the sprawling University of Hawaii campus.
Second place went to another team of UH students that called themselves “FidgetSpinners,” which presented a mobile-friendly, searchable Hawaii Revised Statutes app. Coming in third was “The-Progress-Bars,” a community team that presented a dashboard showing where grant money from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is being allocated. The top high school team was called “No-Internet,” which featured Waipahu High School students who presented an app that would allow the Office of Elections to more conveniently schedule volunteers for training online instead of relying on phone calls.
In coordinating the event, the state Office of Enterprise Technology Services worked closely with the High Technology Development Corporation, the local nonprofit Hawaii Open Data, and various state agencies seeking innovative ways to improve government services.
Chief Information Officer Todd Nacapuy swears in First Hawaiian Bank Vice President Michael Nishida and Transform Hawaii Government Executive Director Christine Sakuda as members of the IT Steering Committee.
Transform Hawaii Government would like to announce the appointment of Executive Director Christine Sakuda to the Office of Technology Services’ (ETS) IT Steering Committee.
The IT Steering Committee is a diverse third-party group, separate from ETS, established to advise the State of Hawaii’s Chief Information Officer (CIO). The committee provides critical insight and input related to systemwide technology improvements to state departments.
The working group holds CIO Todd Nacapuy accountable for progress toward accomplishing the objectives of Hawaii’s Information Technology Strategic Plan. This is achieved by routinely evaluating the CIO’s performance and eventually providing a grade for the CIO based on established criteria at the end of 2017 for ETS’ annual report to the Legislature.
“The committee and I are looking forward to having Christine on board to move technology initiatives forward for the benefit of current and future generations of Hawaii,” said Chief Information Officer Todd Nacapuy. “The Ige Administration is pursuing a strategy that focuses on people first, followed by process, then technology. Ms. Sakuda’s leadership positions in various nonprofits will be greatly beneficial in achieving this approach for future implementations.”
Membership to the IT Steering Committee is permitted via appointment. The Committee consists of representatives from large-user departments as well as industry executives selected by the Governor, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Chief Justice.
Representative Scott Saiki appointed THG’s Executive Director. Sakuda began her role with the committee immediately after her installation ceremony on August 24.
See who are the other members of the State of Hawaii’s IT Steering Committee
Governor David Y. Ige is among 38 governors who recently signed a compact to bolster cybersecurity initiatives for their states during the National Governors Association’s (NGA) annual Summer Meeting.
The “Compact to Improve State Cybersecurity” is part of NGA’s cumulative effort called Meet the Threat, an initiative designed to make digital information security a high-level priority among states nationwide.
While rooted in technology, cybersecurity is a critical issue that transcends the boundaries of state IT departments. Hacked information in unlawful hands has the potential to compromise public safety, health and the livelihoods of residents.
Key recommendations from this agreement are expected to establish a framework that will arm states with adequate defenses in the event of a cyberattack. Core foundations covered in the compact include:
- Creating a cybersecurity governance structure and strategy.
- Preparing and defending the state from cybersecurity events with an emphasis on a whole-of-state approach as opposed to a departmental issue.
- Growing the nation’s cybersecurity workforce through partnerships with educational institution.
Read the full compact here: Meet the Threat: A Compact to Improve State Cybersecurity
Working in conjunction with the State Office of Enterprise Technology Services (ETS), Gov. David Ige will kick off the return of the Hawaii Annual Code Challenge (HACC) on Saturday, August 26, at the East-West Center on the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus.
The annual government-sponsored hackathon encourages State of Hawaii departments and community members to collaborate in solving pressing day-to-day administrative challenges at government offices. Solutions generated at the HACC have the potential to improve government services by expediting data processing and coordination efforts to benefit the people of Hawaii.
At the August kickoff event, departments will present their hurdles to participating coding teams. Developers will then be given one month to engineer applications addressing the specific government-service needs of the state government department they choose to assist. The competition culminates with presentations from finalists on September 23.
Besides providing solutions benefitting government and citizens, hackathons such as the HACC play an important role in developing tech talent statewide. The HACC brings together multidisciplinary experience in app development, as well as entrepreneurial skill building, as teams market customized concepts to a potential client: state government.
Students, independent organizations and professionals are invited to compete in the next HACC. For more information and to enter, visit hacc.hawaii.gov.
If coding isn’t your expertise but you want to get involved, here are three ways to help:
Pitch in. If you have marketing expertise and a talent for creating compelling presentations, consider helping with the final component of the competition. Advancing teams will have an opportunity to present their concepts to Governor Ige and other distinguished government representatives, allowing them to see the apps in action. You could help with team pitches.
Instahelp. Take just two minutes of your time to help spread word about the HACC by connecting others to the cause. Share this link with your social media followers: http://hacc.hawaii.gov/
Become a corporate sponsor. Support the HACC’s mission of cultivating Hawaii’s tech talent. Contact Burt Lum of event partner Hawaii Open Data at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Want to know more about previous solutions presented in the HACC? Click on these links to view presentations from HACC 2016 winners addressing homelessness, O‘ahu Community Correctional Center visitations, and support of locally grown or produced Hawai‘i products.
DevLeague – the only accelerated-learning boot camp for aspiring coders in Hawaii – is expanding its curriculum offerings from one offering to four to address the increase in market demand for IT-related jobs. DevLeague identified these new offerings (or tracks) due, in part, to the state of Hawaii’s growing needs in these “hot market” arenas.
To support the growth of a diverse, technologically savvy workforce, each track has a specific focus: Enterprise Software, Big Data, and Cyber Security.
The Enterprise Software Development track emphasizes training individuals in building critical infrastructure with a focus on utilizing cloud storage and computing. The course will teach the newest technology being introduced into the enterprise landscape.
The Big Data track is designed to leverage information that is collected and stored every day. Through analysis and database design, students are educated on how to track, monitor, predict and gain intelligence that can enhance how businesses serve people and communities.
The last of the three new tracks focuses on a subject of increasing importance in our technology filled world: Cyber Security. With the State of Hawaii continuing to bolster its efforts to combat cyber attacks, the additional Cyber Security track will help boot-camp coders better protect Hawaii IT systems as future members of a well-trained, knowledgeable workforce.
Now in its fourth year, DevLeague reports that 86 percent of the students in its programs find a job in Hawaii after graduating. Given its track record for training and placing talent and the knowledge transfer from its courses to Hawaii’s digital workforce, it appears DevLeague will be an increasingly important part of the local IT ecosystem.