Transform Hawai‘i Government Releases Report on Hawaiʻi’s Government Modernization Efforts

Jul 20 2023

HONOLULU – Hawai‘i state government has come a long way in modernizing its business services, but it still has a long way to go, according to a comprehensive assessment commissioned by Transform Hawai‘i Government (THG), a non-partisan, nonprofit organization singularly focused on monitoring and supporting the state’s government modernization efforts. The report was recently presented to Gov. Josh Green, Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke, and other state government leaders.

The assessment, conducted by Anthology Research from late August to mid-December 2022, was based on in-depth interviews with nearly 100 state leaders and employees from 18 departments. The independent market research firm compiled its findings from more than 1,500 pages of verbatim, anonymized transcripts to compile a report on modernization in the state.

“Hawaiʻi state government touches the lives of every resident on every island, from keiki to kupuna. All states across the nation are struggling with government modernization,” said Christine Sakuda, THG executive director. “In Hawaiʻi, we are working to reimagine how government services can leverage modern technology to meet our communities’ needs and ensure everyone in Hawaiʻi thrives.”

The timely report sheds light on how process improvements and digitalization can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of state government by eliminating unnecessary bureaucratic processes, speeding up response time to citizen requests, improving support for businesses and nonprofit organizations, providing critical data on complex issues such as homelessness and health care, and reducing unnecessary costs that are ultimately borne by Hawaiʻi taxpayers. It is the first report of its kind  – based on first-hand accounts from those involved in and affected by modernization – to determine what has been accomplished in modernization.

“We’ve been supporting government modernization for more than a decade and take successes and failures of modernization to heart as lessons learned that can guide us for greater success moving forward,” Sakuda said.

Sakuda said the findings, based on the research conducted in the final months of the Ige administration, provide a baseline and serve as a guiding document for the state. One of the report's key findings was the need for a unifying definition and vision of modernization to move the state’s modernization efforts forward.

“We were very pleased the Governor will be the executive sponsor of modernization and continue this important work,” Sakuda said. “THG is willing to continue investing time, resources, and energy to support the state’s transformation.”

“Our state government is a $14 billion business, and we’re currently using a very outdated, 50-year-old financial management system. Over the years, this has resulted in workaround solutions that have made it even more difficult for state agencies to interface with each other,” Gov. Green said.

“We’ll need everyone’s cooperation and support to accelerate and sustain our ongoing modernization efforts. It will mean letting go of our old systems and adopting new systems. This may also mean a new way of thinking and approaching the business of government,” Gov. Green said. “This is not an easy process, but I’m confident Hawaiʻi will eventually be on a better path, now and for future generations.”

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About THG (Transform Hawai‘i Government)
Transform Hawaii Government was founded by the Omidyar Ohana and Technology Transformation Funds, which are administered by the Hawaii Community Foundation.

In 2011, THG provided over $8 million to support a baseline assessment of the state’s information technology systems, develop Hawaii’s first IT transformation plan, hire the state’s first full-time chief information officer, and partner on demonstration projects. Five years later, in 2016, THG became a stand-alone nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and today continues to advocate for a delivery-driven, responsive government that enables people, communities and businesses to thrive.

Over the past 15 years, THG has partnered with state government leaders, providing resources for state government to realize its fullest potential, helping state employees discover new talents, and supporting the adoption of transformational technology.

Media Contact:

Nathan Hokama

Strategic Communication Solutions

(808) 226-7470