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.

1st Place Winners- LoveMilkTea

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.

New members begin their role in the State's IT Steering CommitteeChief 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

State Capitol

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

Based on the hackathon concept, the government-sponsored Hawaii Annual Code Challenge (HACC) will bring together students, entrepreneurs, and tech-based professionals to team up and compete in presenting solutions for challenges facing state government. The month-long competition gives teams time to develop and present concepts, win awards, and potentially see their innovations implemented by state agencies.


Those interested are encouraged to attend the HACC kickoff event on August 26. At the kickoff, executive department representatives will present operational issues they face, with the goal of finding apps or digital ways to solve them. Teams will then have one month to collaborate and build software solutions.


Participants form teams prior to or at the kickoff event and are encouraged to recruit colleagues and friends to join the competition. When deciding on who to include in your team, consider these tips to help make your hackathon experience a success:


  1. Lean on people you know, regardless of experience level. Since a month of brainstorming, developing, testing, and refining your solution can be exhausting, be sure to form a team with professionals and peers you can count on to contribute. Need to expand your circle? Try recruiting team members through online community boards or groups you participate in.


  1. Look for variety. As with any tech project, a strong team should consist of a variety of experts. Your team mix may include coders, designers, a project manager, a marketing professional, or other disciplines. Try to keep the group sized between four to six members that represent several areas of expertise, including government experience.


  1. Know the details. Be sure to attend the kickoff event to hear the issues, rules, and judging criteria first-hand, decide which challenge you would like to address in your solution, and network with other participants and government officials.


The HACC kickoff event takes place on Saturday, August 26, at the East-West Center, Keoni Auditorium, on the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus. The judging and awards event will take place at the same location on September 23. Doors will open at 9:00 a.m. for both events.


Now in its second year, the annual HACC was launched by Gov. David Ige in conjunction with the Office of Enterprise Technology Services (ETS). Last year, more than 200 community members participated in the HACC, and the top solutions addressed issues as diverse as homelessness and prison visitation.


Solutions generated at the HAAC have the potential to improve government services by expediting data processing and coordination efforts to benefit Hawaii residents. In addition, as a hackathon-inspired event, the HACC benefits the community by providing an opportunity for citizens to participate in collaborative app development, entrepreneurial skill building, and tech community progress.


For more information and to enter, visit

With growing staffing needs, the Office of Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) faced a significant challenge in filling vacant IT positions within the state. With the rapid growth in the number of IT initiatives under the agency’s oversight, including responsibility for greater transparency, accountability, security, and resource efficiency, time was of the essence in finding qualified candidates to augment the team.


ETS departed from conventional methods – word of mouth and postings on a state-sponsored job site – and turned to social media to expand their options. Apparently, their instincts were good, based on the promising results.


During the pilot project, 42% of vacancies at ETS were filled in with the help of LinkedIn


From October 2016 to April 2017, ETS conducted a pilot project with the professional social network site LinkedIn. They established a goal of filling 10 vacant positions during that time frame and began taking advantage of the site’s technology.


LinkedIn’s data-driven tools leveraged information on its 133 million U.S.-based users, targeting profiles that met ETS job specifications. By recruiting through LinkedIn, ETS increased the visibility of their openings to appropriate profiles, both in Hawaii and nationwide.


While the professional social networking platform charges to utilize its recruitment tools, ETS reports that LinkedIn’s advertising services resulted in a significantly lower cost than hiring an employment consultant.


During the six-month pilot project, ETS succeeded in hiring and assigning start dates for 13 new employees, including Hawaii’s Chief Information Security Officer. This total surpassed its goal and amounted to filling an impressive 42% of vacancies at the time. In comparison, ETS hired only six employees – or 17% of vacancies – to fill its open positions during the same time period in the year prior.


With the success of this innovative and cost-saving approach to recruitment, there has been increased interest in using Linkedin among the state’s other departments. ETS recommends departments use the service for hard-to-fill positions if their budgets permit.


Want more information on ETS’ successful use of LinkedIn? Read the GovTech article: IT Applicants Increased Tenfold During Hawaii’s Pilot Partnership With LinkedIn

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

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:

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 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.

All of these new tracks are offered in addition to the current track of Web Engineering, which teaches students about web development in the programming language JavaScript.

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.

For more information, visit their website.

As a growing organization, Transform Hawai‘i Government is proud to announce the appointment of Christine Sakuda as the organization’s first executive director. THG is a grassroots, nonprofit organization founded to support the transformation of the way state government conducts business, including moving from paper-based to digital systems to increase efficiency, security and transparency.

“When Transform Hawai‘i Government was started, we knew it would have to outlast any political administration to make a difference and that’s why it had to be community based and driven,” said Micah Kāne, chair of the Board of Directors for Transform Hawai‘i Government. “We are excited to bring on Christine Sakuda as executive director to really steer the organization to make the greatest impact possible in transforming the government and engaging the community.”

Previously housed as an initiative at the Hawai‘i Community Foundation, THG was established as an independent nonprofit in 2016. Its mission is to build support for the transformation by educating the public, soliciting input from the community to help shape the outcome, and holding the state of Hawai‘i government accountable in making progress.

“I’m honored to be chosen as the first executive director of the Transform Hawai‘i Government coalition. Since 2013, this coalition has grown, engaged community leaders, and demonstrated support to advance an effective and efficient state government for all citizens,” stated Christine Sakuda. “I look forward to collaborating with the Office of Enterprise Technology Services and other departments to help our state government transform.”

Sakuda comes to THG from the Hawai‘i Health Information Exchange (HHIE), where she started as a board member, served as interim executive director, and eventually became its executive director in 2009. She is credited with building the organization from the ground up.

At HHIE, Sakuda devoted much of her time to transforming health care and the way it is delivered. HHIE was designated by the State of Hawai‘i to be the sole statewide health information exchange, and today, most of Hawai‘i’s major healthcare organizations and hundreds of Hawai‘i physicians are connected to HHIE.

Prior to her work at HHIE, Sakuda was the information officer and telehealth director at the Hawai‘i Primary Care Association where she directed the development and implementation of health information technology initiatives at Hawai‘i’s federally qualified community health centers. She was also the principal investigator for the Holomua Project, a health information exchange pilot program that went live in 2009.

Sakuda earned a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing and Japanese at Santa Clara University and received an MBA from the University of Hawai‘i Mānoa College of Business Administration.