The Golden GOVIT Awards recognize government agencies and other public sector institutions that have advanced government technology through collaboration, innovation and service and individual leadership. The Government IT Symposium provides a natural forum to feature and celebrate the products, services, systems and solutions that improve government IT services and benefit citizens. Winners will be announced at a special reception, free and open to the public, at the Science Museum of Minnesota on December 5th.
All registered 2017 Symposium attendees are eligible to vote for the winners through the conference app. Instructions are provided upon registration. Register here. (Already registered? Download the Agendapop app and enter the passcode sent to you in your registration confirmation email.)
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An individual who champions and implements innovation, inspires collaboration, is focused on improving service, and demonstrates a personal commitment to advancing the professional and career development of him/herself as well as others in their agency.
Lorraine is a champion who promotes and implements innovation at Carver County. She provides innovation leadership to the entire County and shared her knowledge and experiences with other counties as well. She works on and promotes both short term and long term strategies, and has modified her facilitation methods to be customized to Carver County to streamline countywide business processes.
Lorraine has led the team to create many efficient processes through organization of interaction. There are 245 unique County employees who participated in Kaizen Events. For the employee teams, there were 530 improvement suggestions that came out of the events, and 95% of them have been completed. For the management teams, there are 88 improvement suggestions and 85% of them are implemented. Lorraine conducted 33 events to help departments change how the County does business and enhance efficiency to provide services to the public. She demonstrated how the County can break down complex processes into simplified action plans in the Kaizen report.
Lorraine started the first BA/PM group meeting July 27, 2015. She works hard to promote this group, which has grown to 150 people with 15 counties so far. This is a quarterly meeting held at Carver County where Lorraine is the host, organizer, and facilitator. She puts a significant amount of extra effort into this event to maximize the experience, including details such as planning lunch and ensuring nametags are available. She inspires other BA/PM's to share responsibilities and to brainstorm new topics for future meetings. There are 26 successful BA/PM county networking meetings that have been conducted thus far. The topics covered many IT areas, including project/program/portfolio management, innovation, SharePoint for internal and external communication, CRM solutions, business application demonstrations, project management software reviews, Office 365 implementation plan, and lessons learned. Many people and counties have benefited from this collaborative effort and knowledge sharing.
I am nominating Lorraine in the individual leader category because she has built lasting relationships within and between departments to create new opportunities for people to work together. She is slowly changing Carver County's culture for innovation, and also provides a bridge to connect counties in sharing ideas and knowledge for IT innovation.
Millicent Kasal has a natural ability to connect with people. She has performed resource analysis and has tailored here communication style to match the receiving party, which allows here to build a strong bond with others.
Millicent is very influential in the way she communicates with staff, peers, leadership and business partners. She uses enthusiasm to draw people in and motivation to give them a reason to action. Millicent is also a very good listener who analyses the content and ask many questions to help her consume the information. She is friendly, confident, and open-minded and is respect of everyone she encounters. In addition, Millicent is very good at nonverbal cues such as body language, eye contact, gesture, tone that are all valuable skills which she uses to build relationships.
Millicent is using her communication skills to inspire, empower, and guide her staff to step outside their comfort zone and achieve greater things.
Millicent's top priority is developing here staff. How do I know? I asked. According to Millicent, she spends 25 percent of her time meeting deliverables and self-development and 75 percent of her time developing staff and creating tailored curriculums to meet individual staff goals. She has integrated staff training into our business strategies even if the training is outside our current position description. Coupled with the training, Millicent aligns projects to the various training programs so that we have the opportunity to implement our learning in real-world situations. In addition, Millicent has established a continuous 360 assessment and feedback loop monitor progress and make adjustments as needed.
Jessica participates in many Enterprise teams, as well as several MPCA management teams. She diligently communicates via several different methods in order to ensure her staff are not only informed, but understand the message, the strategic linkages, what it means for them, and how they can in turn, get involved themselves. She leads unit meetings with clear agendas and meeting minutes. She produces and presents presentations to units, project teams, management teams as well as Enterprise presentations. This work ensures the flow of information not only to her teams, but to all stakeholders that need to be communicated to, at the right times.
Jessica is the poster child for practicing what she preaches, and getting her teams involved. She and some of her staff have been on Enterprise teams to develop BA and QA standards, and present policies, documentation and proposals to upper leadership. Jessica is constantly practicing continuous improvement, both within her teams, as well as the project office as a whole. She has work with her staff to create templates for all project teams to use based off of input from her teams, and took the initiative to update her playbook with the new State brand. She participates in many events outside of work hours to promote the MNIT brand, and recruit potential employees. Event such as the State of MN Career Fair, PMI and IIBA events, IT symposium planning and speaking, among many other events. She encourages her staff to do the same, and membership/participation in professional organizations such as PMI and IIBA have increased under her leadership. Her staff have also volunteered to work at events such as the People of Color Career Fair. By this level of involvement, she is able to best represent the needs of her teams and promote their ideas.
Jessica goes above and beyond in her recognition efforts to ensure staff feel valued and appreciated on a day to day basis. She has a knack of finding sources of free training for her staff, which, according to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, states that people are most motivated by contributing and using their skills. She is currently actively participating in the Mentor/Mentee program by mentoring a BA from another agency. By facilitating this environment of learning, she is creating team dynamics that are safe to explore, learn and develop. Her initiative to recognize staff in multiple ways outside of formal recognition processes, speaks to her dedication to the philosophy of creating a positive team dynamic.
In 2016, Lisa Wu was charged to budget the software expenditure for Carver County. She sent out questionnaires to workers to assess software needs. 175 workers expressed need for "Adobe Acrobat DC Pro". This tool allows workers to improve service deliveries to people they interact daily, with the essential function when deal with documents for both internal staff and external customers. E.g. redact text, graphics for sensitive data; edit scans; send docs for comments; combine files; create, export and edit PDF; integrate with Office. 175 Workers in Court, Public Health, Human Services, IT and Taxpayer Services had expressed the need for such function to server their customers.
However, a big problem is the price to purchase this software at $367 per license at discounted government price, totaled to $64,225 of her budget for just one software item. Lisa negotiated with the authorized dealer to lower the price. After many rounds of negotiation, the re-seller agreed to cut the price to $29 per person per year if Carver can sign up for 1000 licenses. Great deal but with another problem - Carver County has less than 1000 workers, only need 175 licenses. Can Carver justify purchasing 1000 license and wasting 825 of them?
Most people would give up this opportunity, but not Lisa. She took that as her mission to make that work for Carver, at the same time benefit other counties.
She talked to IT directors and managers from other counties whom she knew personally. She tried to get them onboard with the idea for the win/win strategy to purchase the software together. She also presented the collaboration concept at the Minnesota Counties Computer Cooperative's ISSG committee meeting in June of 2016. She persuaded other counties to join in her effort. At the same time, she had to persuade Carver County's board willingly to risk purchase 1000 licenses but benefit 825 workers from other counties.
Beside the above persuasion and marketing effort, Lisa also did extra work at Carver, including: wrote Memorandum of Agreement; reviewed contracts with participated counties; got accurate license count; managed reimbursement from participants.
The effort paid off. This resulted in 1000 public workers get the software they needed at an affordable price, which enhance service deliveries to people in their communities. There is also other benefit from the IT perspective - standardize the version/edition of this software for ease of support.
Recently, one additional county joined in, Lisa negotiated further reduction in price, from $29 to $27.84 per license.
This goes beyond Lisa's role at Carver IT, she took on the tremendous effort to help other workers and people in Minnesota. I admire her courage and dedication to take on such challenge, resulted in positive impact to many people and communities. I truly think it is a role model for me; hence my humble submission to nominate Lisa Wu for the prestigious GOVIT award in Collaboration and Leadership categories.
A joint effort between two or more government agencies, two or more departments within a single agency, or between government agencies and private firms/non-profit organizations that use shared resources to create a new product or program; which resulted in improved service delivery to individuals, families and/or communities.
In 2016, the Minnesota State Retirement System moved its largest business application, Aurora, to the IBM cloud. This is one of the largest uses of the cloud for a production system within Minnesota government. Procured via an RFP, this technology transformation sought to accomplish the following goals:
The success of this project was key for MSRS because Aurora provides a business-critical function at MSRS including the following elements:
The cloud-based hosting solution of Aurora ensured a highly available system with redundant systems throughout the country for business continuity purposes and enhanced security of private data. In addition to the enhancements to the system outlined above, this project has substantially reduced MSRS' costs. The expected annual cost of the new hosting arrangement will be $1.1 million dollars less than the prior arrangement. This is a reduction of over 60% in costs or the equivalent of 5.7% of the entire MSRS administrative budget.
Most importantly, MSRS is able to better serve our customers and fulfill its mission. Having redundancy and a highly available system for our internal application and participant web access has resulted in a reduction of unexpected downtime by over 90%. This has significantly improved our customer service levels and staff productivity.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) created the HUD Resource Locator (HRL) - an innovative mobile app and website to further expand and enhance traditional HUD customer service. Using housing data from HUD and U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA-RD) , HRL offers an easy to use tool to quickly connect with building managers, public housing authority representatives, and property management companies to inquire about housing availability and other federally subsidized housing-related questions. The website located at https://resources.hud.gov and mobile app for iOS and Android devices is the first housing search app of its kind from the federal government.
HRL users can call, email, or visit the website of a specific resource directly from the application. Providing housing professionals and the general public with the most effective resources, contacts, and housing opportunities aid traditional outreach methods. In times of disaster, smartphones and mobile devices are more readily available than desktop computers, thus effectively providing information when it is most needed in the hands of those searching for or providing assistance. HRL also allows for enhanced resource utilization by providing potential customers to view the most up-to-date information. HRL decreases printing costs as resource information are historically printed as pamphlets and disseminated to potnetial customers. As these pamphlets are created and maintained manually, HRL reduces the amount of error rates in the information HUD makes accessible to the public.
HRL is one of several services provided by HUD's Enterprise Geographic Information System (eGIS). This tool uses GIS technology to pinpoint where resources are located and allow anyone with a smartphone or tablet to get relevant contact information. In an era where people are increasingly using smartphones to find information, HRL provides an easy tool for anyone to use to find housing resources. HUD eGIS receives quarterly data updates from USDA-RD featuring its Section 515 housing information. The USDA-RD Section 515 dataset contains contact information for management companies to inquire about vacancies. HRL has helped in lowering phone call and email volume to field and regional offices which frees up time for staff to perform other duties.
HRL was released on August 4, 2015. Over 500,000 user sessions have been initiated with over 60% of overall HRL traffic serviced through the mobile app.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services' Direct Care and Treatment (DCT) was created in 2012 as an umbrella organization of direct service programs serving thousands of Minnesotans (Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Services (MHSATS), Community Based Services (CBS), Forensic Services, and the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP)). In 2015 it was decided to centralize DCT policies and procedures into a uniform format and coordinated system. A team of DCT policy coordinators worked to develop a SharePoint-based policy intranet, format, and coordinated with subject matter experts to assimilate/update existing procedural material, develop/integrate new procedural material, and conduct ongoing review and update. This project began with rollout of the first few DCT policies on the DCT policy website on 3/3/15, and continues today. It has provided greater clarity to staff, clients, and the public, as well as ensuring that information remains current and is coordinated.
With very little notice, both teams prepared for this big change, and have had to quickly learn new material for all the additional agencies now being served.
A combined Request Fulfillment Service Desk team results in a higher quality of support and availability for the customers in the many different agencies we serve. The Enterprise Request Fulfillment Service Desk team now supports 13 different agencies across the state, and the shift has required a lot of support from all team members. I am amazed by the entire team's willingness to support and train each other across different services - often multitasking between walk-ins, phone calls, and working tickets - to make sure that our customers receive the absolute best support and service possible.
There is no question that moving houses is stressful, and is no different for moving work locations. Employees stationed out of DHS had to move to a new location, and many were separated from long-term co-workers, locations, and move into a completely new environment with a totally different culture. For Request Fulfillment staff already housed in the Centennial building, they had to make room, coordinate facilities services and adjust their working quarters to welcome the new staff. The most impressive part of all this, however, is that for our customers, the transition was completely seamless.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is prevalent throughout local, state and federal government, as well as all 500 fortune 500 companies. Unfortunately, our K12 education system is not producing many students with GIS skills, including spatial and critical thinking and problem solving. To work through this issue the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) signed a license agreement with Esri of Redlands, CA to provide FREE GIS software to all K12 schools, districts and clubs in 2013. This project started in 2014 to develop and bring GIS training opportunities to teachers. Initially MDE developed a partnership with the Minnesota Alliance of Geographic Education (MAGE) at Macalester College, as well as the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium and Minnesota Geospatial Information Office (MnGeo) to develop hands-on training workshops. By partnering with local, regional and state GIS professionals around Minnesota, it allowed training sites to be developed and put on all around the state. Between 2014 and 2017 over 60 workshops were put on and over 500 teachers attended. Many of these teachers attended more than one worksop. From this, GIS usage accounts jumped from less than 10 to over 230. Each account could add many teachers and students, free of charge. Besides training a geo-mentor program was also started to bring teachers and GIS professionals together to get questions answered, do in school development and class projects and general GIS help. Because the training was going so good the project started a Minnesota student GIS mapping competition by 2016. By collaborating with other state agencies, the GIS/LIS Consortium and GIS professionals are competition provided free t-shirts and google docs to get students and teachers started. The 2016 competition had over 220 students compete and ten winners received $100 each, again brought together through a collaboration process for funding. One teacher remarked, "It was the most fun kids had all year." Again, because this project had so much success, three other states copied Minnesota AND Esri started a National Competition in 2017. Over 25 states competed and the overall High school winner was from Duluth Denfeld High School (Minnesota rocks again!). Lastly, the project started a collaboration with GIS/LIS Consortium to hold a one day (all-day) hands on training the first day of their statewide conference in October. In 2015 and 2016 the conference was in Duluth and there were 126 teachers taking part. Due to the collaboration, funding again was found to pay for teachers substitutes, thus they only had to get there. Everything else was paid. This will be part of the statewide conference for many years to come, including the upcoming teacher training on October 4,2017 (http://bit.ly/2vEADYs). This is an ongoing project and has many collaborators. It has been a large task but Minnesota will reap the benefits for years to come as students enter college with increased spatial and critical thinking skills.
The process began by securing funding from the Friends of Hennepin County Library. Staff then identified a vendor solution -- Rabble, a company who has launched similar projects successfully with Seattle Public Library & Nashville Public Library, was chosen. Library staff then connected with community organizations to build knowledge of the project in the music community. Staff identified 4 prominent community members to serve as curators in reviewing music submissions. In July, the submission period for musicians opened. Curators are currently reviewing all submissions and will nominate 40 musicians to submit their full albums to be added to the collection. Musicians are compensated $200 per album. The full service will launch to library patrons winter 2017.
The significance of this project is that while Hennepin County Library has always offered local music for checkout, it has been particularly challenging to do so in the past few years as musicians choose to release music solely online. This new service connects community members to active Minnesota artists so that music lovers can explore new music and artists can gain exposure.
So far, the impact has been increased attention to the library and its services. Local press offered lots of free publicity during the open submission period with feature stories on KARE 11, Fox 9 and AM 950. The interest from the music community has been significant -- 325 musicians submitted their music for consideration, exceeding staff expectations. Patrons & musicians have shown great enthusiasm for this service via social media. A July 5 Facebook posting resulted in 520 "likes," 341 "shares," and 73 comments, including, "Lets [sic] light the city up with good music and vibes!!!!!" and lots of tags to local musicians.
It was very apparent with Shakopee's continuing strong residential and industrial growth, the city needed to invest in automation for permit and building plan review processing. The manual process to manage 100's of individual steps required for many permit approvals was becoming next to impossible for staff to maintain. A change to a plan by one staff member did not always works its way to the next approver. When looking for a solution internal accountability, automation, and accuracy were goals Shakopee staff set out to achieve internally. Externally, customers' expectations revolved around ease of use, time reduction, and overall process improvement from our city.
Shakopee's Application IT Specialist Marti Bartels, worked diligently with each city department to gather workflow requirements for the new application. Knowing an out of the box software package would only meet a limited number of the city's goals and requirements we worked diligently to make it do more. The city pushed the vendor hard, many times past their initial answer of NO, to have software features, workflow requirements, and software design modified to increase usability and efficiency for our staff.
In March of 2017, the City of Shakopee went live with its on-line portal allowing customers to electronically enter permit requests, building drawings, and process payments. No longer do customers need to print out the previously required 6 copies of plans, physically visit our city hall location for paper forms, or call to obtain the status of their permits. Each of these tasks are now available from any internet connection 24 hours a day.
Shakopee has many very large industrial buildings in various stages of construction and each set of plans can be up to 100 or more pages. On larger projects, we have already received feedback from our customers stating we have saved them easily $100's of dollars in printing and alleviated their frustration of not knowing what could be holding up their permits. Again, it's now all available any time of the day.
In the short amount of time since our March go-live, we have 721 projects completed or in review, reduced paper by 85%, and eliminated errors by approximately 70% by having only one active set of plans electronically in the system. Amazing results from where Shakopee started a little more than a year earlier. Shakopee IT, particularly Marti Bartels through a city-wide partnership, displayed what could be done through working together as a team. IT played a very significant role in the successful design, implementation, and go-live creating revolutionary change in how the city works.
Shakopee IT and its stakeholders continue to refine workflows, improve internal processes, and work with the vendor on new features to serve every customer faster and more efficiently. Looking back at the internal and external goals set out for this project we feel we met the challenge head-on and delivered a system that we can be proud of.
The primary concept of this effort was to create a bidirectional federation trust relationship between Hennepin County and 4th Judicial Court that leverages Lync, Exchange, and SharePoint resources in day-to-day court business. A trust federation is a legal and technical framework for two organizations to share data.
Both parties signed a trust agreement outlining the obligations of each party to secure, safeguard and control access to the other party's systems.
Microsoft's Active Directory Federation Services is a software component that uses a claims based access control authorization model to maintain application security and to implement federated identity.
Using Federated Services is a more secure and efficient system than email files. Information sharing is limited to routine non-private business information and other data that is approved by both organizations.
Completion of this effort has resulted in:
The UI2 is a web-mapping application, developed by the Hennepin County GIS Office, which displays the locations and details of infrastructure and utility projects within County. Participating agencies (including government and private sector) are able to load their project information and view the information of other agency's projects. Projects contain core attributes such as status (planning, design, construction, etc.) and the application contains the ability to filter by status, type, owner and data and provides other information such as key contacts, duration, project description, if a moratorium is present or planned. Additional features include automated notification when a new project is entered within 1000 feet of an existing project and the ability to track changes to projects and send out notices accordingly.
The project is exemplary for several reasons. First, it demonstrated an 'early and often' approach to engaging leadership. Buy in from top elected officials was a priority for the effort, and keeping their attention focused on the bottom line savings this project has the potential to yield, Hennepin County maintained consistent and enthusiastic support from its county commissioners.
As a planning tool, the UI2 application facilitates a front-line awareness of upcoming projects that require excavation so road replacement or other subsurface work can be better aligned to reduce conflict, reduce redundant effort and ultimately, to save taxpayer money. This project is emblematic of how technology can be a spring board for fosters connectivity and communication across agencies personnel, enhancing mutual awareness of their shared needs and enabled them to program work efforts to maximize their efforts while minimizing costs.
Hennepin County has been working with major utility providers (Center Point, Xcel Energy, etc.), several cities in Hennepin County, MnDOT and the Metropolitan Council for the development and deployment of the UI2 application. This project has now started conversations with other counties about the value of this approach and there is an opportunity to share with, and in the longer term to include, other counties to leverage the benefits of the application. The project was started as a concept in early 2016 and the first version was deployed in July 2017. It's launch and subsequent use by the participating members has led to discussions about expanding beyond Hennepin County into the entire metropolitan region.
For three years, our staff collected feedback from customers to improve the experience of applying for funding to develop affordable rental housing. To eliminate duplication of work, improve tracking systems, clarify roles and responsibilities, and increase overall efficiency, we developed a Multifamily Customer Portal using Salesforce. Developers used to apply for millions of dollars in financing by downloading materials on our website and submitting hard copies of their application - often totaling as many as 500 pages - in addition to submitting materials electronically through box.com. This was very resource intensive in both customer and staff time and wasted paper. It was not always clear or easy to determine which documents were needed for a proposal, because every proposal was different and the many funding sources they applied for had different requirements. The customer had no visibility into their application after submission and could not see all of their applications in one place. On the staff side, our previous database took approximately 45 minutes per application to manually import the data. Our average funding round receives 80-100 applications, so the staff time to upload this information was very inefficient and it took days to access application information after the due date. Our new Portal allows our customers to apply for funding for several projects in one place and custom-build their application checklist so they know exactly what to submit. We also had a completely paperless application round. The Portal allows staff easy access to project data and greater flexibility to build reports. In an already tight timeline to process applications, earlier access to report data after the due date allows staff to start on application review sooner. The Portal was launched for our 2017 RFP, and has received positive feedback from customers and staff. During this first funding round, 91 customers worked on 88 proposals in the Portal. In a typical annual competitive RFP cycle, we select 25-30 developments for funding with housing tax credits and/or deferred loans. The Portal is still under construction for a fall release, which will allow customers and staff to work through the next phase of the financing for selected applications to coordinate all the work needed to get to the closing table. Having a dedicated team working together was key in making this a success. At Minnesota Housing, the core team consists of three subject matter experts (SME) from our business team and three SMEs from our technology team working collaboratively to design and launch the Portal. The core team meets regularly to discuss business processes, determine how to customize Salesforce functionality to improve our day-to-day work, and to develop training resources for customers and staff. It was critical to have this team think creatively and to be open to making changes to business processes. It was also vitally important to have the support of leadership.
What makes BuffCAT exceptional is that it is a creative and valuable application of GIS technology targeting a specific enforcement of a new law. BuffCAT was custom developed to allow for this systematic and consistent approach to collecting data related to buffers utilizing GIS mapping and a mobile collector application for use in the field. BuffCAT is also critical to validating success and the progress within the 500,000 parcels which need state review. BuffCAT tracks this progress while reducing administrative time and costs.
The project had limited resources as BWSR has a very small number of IT staff. This meant we needed resources and skills available elsewhere to partner with at other agencies to deliver. Using project fundamentals of a project charter, executive sponsor team, project schedule, and regular status reporting kept the project on track and managed the impact of resource constraints. Because stakeholder buy-in was needed and there was also a limited budget and tight timeline, the team decided to make a prototype using technology well understood by IT that was also uniquely suited to the business needs, ArcGIS Online. The team validated that the required datasets were available and that one statewide map would meet the business need, then created a prototype in about two months for BWSR business and SWCD end users to interact with. By using a prototype, end users were able to visualize the user interface and workflows with real data and improved both collaboration and agility by ensuring stakeholders had a say in how things looked and functioned. The feedback from the prototype was used to make design decisions for the final statewide application.
Start to finish, the business need was met in approximately seven months, giving SWCDs a full year of use of BuffCAT in order to make the compliance assessments needed for public waters, and two years for public ditches. This was an impressive delivery time to take an idea from a concept to an in production application. It could not have been accomplished without the collaborative effort of BWSR staff, BWSR and DNR MNIT staff, and the staff at the SWCDs. True collaboration and sharing of resources and skills makes this effort special.
By the end of 2016, over 90,000 parcels of land have been reviewed by districts with BuffCAT. In one particular day, more than 6,000 parcels were reviewed and edited by SWCD staff around the state! Those two metrics alone signify the strength of the effort and the benefits of the new application. Progress continues and is measurable each day. BuffCAT data is used to generate a compliance map showing the percentage of buffer compliance by county. You can see this map here: https://mn.gov/portal/natural-resources/buffer-law/map/compliance-map.jsp. Being able to demonstrate progress with a visual is beneficial to the buffer law, the conservation districts, and the state agencies working to improve water quality.