2017 Navigator Awards Finalists: Data and IT InnovatorsStart
We're ready to announce Navigator Award finalists 41-50, which are from the Data and IT Innovators category. Click through this presentation to learn more about our finalists.
- Getting a Better Return on Investment for Statewide Agricultural Data
- Leading the Way to Consolidate State IT Resources
- Coming Together to Build a Regional Technology Backbone
- When Technology And Accessibility Come Together, Everyone Wins
- Ushering in Evidence-Based Policing to Reduce Violent, Firearm-Related Crimes
- Casually Reinventing Government Customer Experience With AI and Data
- A County CIO Creating Platforms to Help Government Agencies Across His State
- A Team Enhancing Virginia’s Agility to Meet Agency Demands for New Tech and Services
- Building a Strong Local Enterprise Data Center Partnership
- A Program to Train the IT Leaders of Tomorrow
Getting a Better Return on Investment for Statewide Agricultural Data
Innovative state governments aim to make the most out of the data they have and Utah is no exception. A major update to the state’s Water-Related Land Use program, which seeks to produce yearly statewide agricultural boundary and crop type data, was selected as a grand prize winner for the state Department of Natural Resources GIS Return on Investment Contest.
The Division of Water Resources produces a water-related land-use layer to quantify the agricultural extent and water use for water planning purposes. Previously, these lands were inventories on a rotating basis that covered the entire state in six years and didn’t incorporate available data to classify field types. The new method incorporates freely available U.S. Department of Agriculture remote-sensed crop data and will allow Utah to produce a statewide layer annually.
As a Navigator Award nomination submission notes, the “new method has dramatically increased the amount of data that is produced and also dramatically reduced the amount of worker hours and travel needed to produce the data. Yearly statewide data will greatly assist those who use the data in analysing trends and accurately estimating water use.”
The project is being overseen by Aaron Austin, a senior GIS analyst with the Utah Division of Water Resources, and we’re pleased to include him as one of our 10 finalists in the Data and IT Innovators category.
Leading the Way to Consolidate State IT Resources
Like many state governments, Louisiana’s legacy IT footprint grew organically over the years, where departments under the governor’s jurisdictions were given a lot of latitude to make decisions about the architecture of their systems and resources.
That latitude, not surprisingly, can lead to a lack of sufficient checks and balances on technical decisions and lead to redundancies and inefficiencies.
In November 2013, Louisiana started a multi-effort to realign statewide IT led by Chief Information Officer Richard “Dickie” Howze’s Office of Technology Services, an initiative rolled out in two phases.
The first was IT consolidation, something that was authorized by the legislature in 2014, which granted OTS to transfer functions, contracts, staff, facilities, and other assets between departments to optimize IT resource allocation. The second was enterprise architecture, which enabled departments to consume a set of centralized and standardized IT services supported by an equitable cost allocation process that attributes costs to the consuming departments based upon service utilization.
As a Navigator Award nomination submission notes, the process “represents a radical departure from the processes the State employed in the past,” utilizing OTS agency relationship managers “are responsible for outreach and interaction with the departments, effectively acting as the glue that binds OTS and the department program leads together to employ and enforce the process.”
Among the benefits: OTS was able to eliminate 69 positions the first year without layoffs; consolidated leadership under a single Office of the CIO; consolidation of all IT equipment into two data centers and transitioning to a shared-services model; restructuring warranty agreements and licensing; and bringing about $75 million.
We’re pleased to include Howze as one of our 10 Navigator Award finalists in the Data and IT Innovators category.
Coming Together to Build a Regional Technology Backbone
The four founding members of the Community Connectivity Consortium—the cities of Bellevue and Kirkland along with the University of Washington and the Lake Washington School District—came together in 2002 with a goal in mind—to create a regional technology backbone.
That backbone is now a reality.
Thanks to years of collaboration and innovative thinking, the Lake Washington region, which includes Seattle and many of its suburbs, now has a fully contiguous, high speed, fiber optic network that all surrounding cities, counties, school districts and hospitals can participate in.
The ring went live in February 2017 and, what began as a partnership between four entities has expanded dramatically.
The consortium has grown to add Bellevue College, Bellevue School District, Federal Way Public Schools, Renton School District, Northshore School District, South Correctional Entity (SCORE), NORCOM, Valley Communications Center, Valley Medical Center,Evergreen Hospital, King County, and the cities of Algona, Auburn, Federal Way, Kent, Milton, Newcastle, Pacific, Redmond, Renton, Seattle and Tukwila.
Route Fifty happy to recognize this good work as a Navigator Award team finalist in the IT Innovators category.
When Technology And Accessibility Come Together, Everyone Wins
The partnership between the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and ride-booking companies Uber and Lyft, which is available to all customers with disabilities who qualify for paratransit services, is the first of its kind in the United States.
Customers sign up directly for the service with Uber or Lyft and are provided a set number of trips every month proportional to the number of trips trips taken on the traditional RIDE service. For every trip, customers pay the first $2, the MBTA pays up to the next $13. Customers are then responsible for any additional costs. Customers are able to book directly via smartphone apps or via Lyft’s call-in service and Uber’s provided smartphones.
In terms of savings, the partnership has been a win-win for both the consumers and the MBTA. On average, consumers with disabilities now pay $4.38 as opposed to the $5.25 they otherwise would have paid. And, the pilot version of the program alone managed save the agency $40,000. In February, that pilot program celebrated its 10,000th ride and the program has only grown from there.
All that has allowed customers to take 28 percent more trips with a 6 percent reduction in cost. In fact, according to the MBTA, the average cost per individual trip is down by as much as 20 percent.
Route Fifty is pleased to recognize this MBTA project that marries innovation with accessibility as one of our 50 Navigator Award finalists.
Ushering in Evidence-Based Policing to Reduce Violent, Firearm-Related Crimes
Police chiefs aren’t always thought of as IT innovators, but Eric Jones of Stockton, California pushed his city to become an early adopter of evidence-based policing in reducing violent, firearm-related crime.
Jones became an officer on Stockton’s police force in 1993 and in 2012 was appointed the 49th chief of police,
New to the position, Jones developed “Principled Policing” with the California Department of Justice for statewide training, resulting in Stockton being named one of six National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice sites.
“Part of the evidence-based approach is, if we’re not getting the reductions we want, we can pivot,” Jones told Route Fifty in March. “Internally the officers really like it; they want to see this. This type of tech is starting to get recruits, who want to come to a department like this.”
Using advanced analytics technology Jones’ department evaluates its strategies and actions and makes changes based on date. Ranked the second-most violent city in California and 10th-most nationwide in 2011, starting in March 2016 Stockton saw a 40 to 60 percent month-to-month decrease in firearm-related crimes and 20 to 30 percent decrease in property crime.
Rather than deploying limited officers and other resources based on experience and instinct alone, the city’s Project Forebode relies on LexisNexis Risk Solutions’ Accurint Crime Analysis to map crime activity and patterns. If crime decreases aren’t being seen, the zones of analysis are easily altered.
The platform dashboard allows for easy crime data sharing among officers, data extracted and cleaned from multiple, once-siloed sources and compared to historical day of week and time of day crime figures.
There’s a reason Jones now chairs the California Police Chiefs Association’s evidence-based policing “think tank.”
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Casually Reinventing Government Customer Experience With AI and Data
The nation’s second-largest city quietly rolled out its virtual digital assistant earlier this year, having taken the Los Angeles Information Technology Agency only a couple days to develop.
The City Hall internet personality, or Chip for short, was configured with answers to 200 business assistance questions to help vendors identify opportunities among local projects and services out for bid.
Based upon Microsoft’s Azure cloud-hosted Cortana, the AI is able to gauge the probability it answers a person’s question correctly, based on subsequent questions asked, and is already being applied to other use cases like the city’s Emergency Operations Center incident system, as is Amazon Alexa.
“We think it’s really important to refine some of these capabilities,” Los Angeles Chief Information Officer Ted Ross told Route Fifty in May. “Lots of governments bang a very big drum and deliver not so big a product, but we make sure our work is great and then spread the word.”
Ross and his fellow ITA executives guide projects executed by young talents aggressively onboarded after the recession left the agency out of date and understaffed: Fernand Garin, Chia-Chi “Mag” Hung, Dustin Rhodes, Jeremy Stout, and Wai Wong. Collectively the team has also implemented API management for controlled data sharing via the city’s open data portal, rapid app and web development for targeted information on emergencies like El Niño rainstorms, and modernized legacy apps and websites like L.A.’s employee directory system and intranet portal.
All the while ITA remains committed to beefing up its security, so its offerings remain in keeping with the expectations of the city’s nearly 4 million residents, 47 million visitors and 50,000 employees.
Real, iterative feedback is central to L.A. mission to become a smarter city.
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A County CIO Creating Platforms to Help Government Agencies Across His State
Oakland County, Michigan first embraced shared services in the late 1960s, so the concept of finding cost-savings and efficiencies across government and agency boundaries is not a new concept for the largely suburban jurisdiction just north of Detroit. When cloud technology entered the government IT landscape in the 2000s, it wasn’t surprising that Oakland County was among the first governments to embrace it.
Phil Bertolini, the county’s chief information officer and deputy executive, has been instrumental in driving innovation and IT modernization. Responsible for a $55 million IT budget and 428 full-time employees, Bertolini has long promoted his philosophy of “build it once, pay for it once, and everybody benefits.” That extends to two platforms Bertolini has helped develop, G2G Marketplace and G2G Cloud Solutions.
G2G Cloud Solutions provides services to any type of government agency—including more than 60 municipalities, court systems and counties across Michigan that use these services.
The collaborative purchasing website offers solutions from 18 approved vendors to all state and local government agencies in Michigan, providing an easy way to research, purchase and implement technology and professional services. Contracts on the site have already been vetted, competitively bid and negotiated with blanket purchase agreements. This simplifies the purchase and licensing processes for government organizations.
During the Obama administration, Bertolini was honored by the White House as a Champion for Change in 2012 and named CIO of the Year in 2013 by Crain’s Detroit Business. CIO magazine recently selected Bertolini as a 2017 CIO Hall of Fame inductee.
And we’re pleased to include Bertolini as one of our 10 Route Fifty Navigator Award finalists in the Data and IT Innovators category for his efforts.
A Team Enhancing Virginia’s Agility to Meet Agency Demands for New Tech and Services
Making sense of the evolving IT landscape can be a big challenge for state government agencies, especially where technology decisions might be made in silos. But an initiative launched by Virginia Information Technologies Agency last year has taken steps to centralize the ways the commonwealth’s executive-level agencies and departments can learn about technology and public sector innovation before purchasing decisions are made.
VITA’s Innovation Center of Excellence is part of larger effort by Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s administration to, as the governor has described it, “[e]xplore and pursue innovative strategies to increase government efficiency or to reduce government costs for needed services.”
Among the objectives of VITA ICE, according to a Route Fifty Navigator Award nomination submission: Spur technology innovation; evaluate agency business needs; translate technical innovation into best practices; create a centralized clearinghouse; advance the knowledge of technology trends; and serve as a catalyst for technology innovation development.
Since its launch last year, VITA ICE as delivered more than a dozen well-attended demonstration and presentation sessions with suppliers offering new technology applications and services. Two dozen more suppliers have stepped up for future events.
Through VITA ICE’s NextGen data analytics program, Virginia departments of Social Services, Juvenile Justice and Transportation have better summarized their agency data and gain insights for future decisions based on that data. More than 10 suppliers now offer agencies “ready-to-use contract vehicles for analytics solutions and professional services including business intelligence, predictive analytics, statistical analysis and simulation, data visualization, data governance data quality and big data.”
We’re pleased to include Virginia Chief Information Officer Nelson Moe and the team at VITA ICE as one of our 10 Navigator Award finalists in the Data and IT Innovators category.
Building a Strong Local Enterprise Data Center Partnership
Many cities around the U.S. have turned to their local institutions of higher education for strategic tech and data partnerships. That includes Rochester, New York, whose Department of Information Technology worked with the University of Rochester to co-located a disaster recovery and data resiliency environment for the city at the university’s primary enterprise data center.
The partnership is cost effective for both organizations. The city gets higher levels of data security for a much lower cost—more than $1 million over a three-year agreement—than contracting with commercial service providers. The city helps offset a portion of the university’s costs to manage and operate the enterprise data center.
Also, according to a Navigator Awards nomination submission: “[R]ecovery time estimates for core services and applications have been reduced from days to hours and for some services redundancy to the point of transparent failover to the University. The University has gained experience in hosting external organizations and will be able to extend this to other organizations and further offset operational costs.”
The win-win solution was led by Eric W. Logan, an IT infrastructure manager with the city and John Fitzpatrick, the director of the university’s enterprise data center. Other team members from the university included Gary Runion, a data center manager; John Johnson, Dave Kucmerowski, Mike DeMuth, Riland Dibble, data center operations specialists; Adam Keller, facilities supervisor; and Mike Fitch, assistant director. The city’s team included Sharon Nau, a server team and data center manager; Ryan Strecker, Tracy Tang, and Alex Koroleski, senior systems engineers; and Steve Mickle, a network team manager and senior network engineer.
We’re pleased to include the cross-functional team as one of our 10 Navigator Award finalists in the Data and IT Innovators category.
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A Program to Train the IT Leaders of Tomorrow
Offering internships to high school and college students is a pretty simple idea. In Palm Beach County, Florida, home to the nation’s 11th largest public school district, has capitalized on that idea the past six years, offering five- and six-week paid IT-focused internships in web design, programming, database maintenance and related areas.
The program is run through the county school district’s IT Enterprise Applications Department, where a project manager pairs interns with mentors from multiple departments. Students are paid $10.50 an hour.
According to a Navigator Award nomination submission, the program “introduces students to IT occupations and develops latent talent. Students gain hands-on experience with state-of-the-art systems and computer applications. Their one-on-one mentoring advances their skills” and “provides valuable real-life job-hunting experiences for hundreds of aspiring students,” including those applying for college. One previous intern credited the program with a Harvard acceptance letter while another secured a $20,000 scholarship thanks to the design work performed during the internship.
The impacts of those internships will be felt for years to come in the broader community as former interns build careers in tech.
We’re pleased to include the team led by Deepak Agarwal, the chief information officer for Palm Beach County School District’s IT Division as one of our 10 Navigator Award finalists in the Data and IT Innovators category.