Q: How much will this cost?

In order to realize the substantial benefits to public facing services, employee productivity, and the long-term health and security of the state government, investment in technology needs to be a priority. Hawai‘i has not seriously invested in technology for more than 30 years, putting the state considerably behind in its ability to provide online capabilities, ensure information security, and prepare for disaster recovery.

The transformation initiative will require a significant investment. The Office of Information Management and Technology is working closely with the Department of Budget and Finance to determine the budget.

Currently, the State of Hawai‘i spends approximately 1.4% of its budget on technology. Most other states that have undergone a similar transformation invested 2-3% of their budgets, and they were not as far behind as Hawai‘i is now. The globally recognized leader in technology research and services, Gartner, Inc., recommends states spend between 3-5% of their budgets on technology to realize their potential.

Q: How will it be funded?

The State’s Office of Information Management and Technology (OIMT) is working with the Department of Budget and Finance to determine the most appropriate funding mechanisms.

Q: What will the return be on this investment?

The immediate and lasting return on this investment will come in the form of improved and increased services to the public, increased employee productivity, and strengthened information security and disaster recovery capability.

The long-term cost of maintaining the current systems would be much greater than the cost of investing in new technology platforms that can adapt to future needs. New technology is easier and less expensive to maintain.

This investment will also generate cost savings over the long term by optimizing human resource allocation. As the new business processes and technology platforms are implemented over the coming decade, increased efficiency and productivity will allow fewer employees to provide better services. Employees will not be laid off, but as they retire, their positions may be eliminated or redefined, creating significant future cost savings.

Q: What is the risk of doing nothing?

There is substantial risk in doing nothing. If the critical systems that are needed to conduct the business of government go down, services, programs and benefits cannot be provided and information can be irretrievably lost.

Additionally, the cost of maintaining the current systems grows every year. The hardware and software on which the State relies are so outdated that they are unique and very difficult to service. This has led to the development of many “one-off” solutions, which are extremely costly to manage.

The decades-old technology systems also do not provide the level of security necessary to prevent breaches and guarantee privacy. By investing in new technology, we are investing in information security and disaster recovery.

Moreover, the challenge of recruiting young people for careers in state government is compounded with the ubiquity of outdated technology and inefficient business processes. Recent university graduates entering public service have training and education using modern technology that is only minimally used in state government.

In the long term, it will be more expensive to maintain the current systems than to change to newer platforms that have a lower cost of ownership, increased security, a green footprint, information sharing capabilities, and more.

Q: Why do you think you can be successful at this strategy?

Hawai‘i is not the first state in the country to undertake such a project. Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Utah and other states have successfully undergone, or are in the process of undergoing, the same type of transformation. Hawai‘i is in close contact with them and is leveraging the best practices they have developed through their own experiences.

Moreover, there is strong support for this initiative from all levels of government, including the Governor, department directors, managers and front line employees. Many in the Hawai‘i Legislature have also expressed their support and willingness to help see the effort through.

Q: The Department of XYZ does not think this is a good strategy. Why are you right and they are not?

From an individual department perspective, it may be difficult to see how the business and IT transformation strategy will work. The transformation needed here is monumental and must be approached from a statewide perspective to achieve the desired benefits, including improved services to the public, increased employee productivity, and long-term cost savings.

Q: Why will this take so long?

All stakeholders in this process are committed to a deliberate, purposeful approach that will help to ensure the best possible outcome. The business and IT transformation will allow Hawai‘i to move from being 30 years behind, to realize the current and future benefits of modern technology and information management.

Significant progress has already been made. The state’s Office of Information Management and Technology completed the first-ever comprehensive assessment of the state’s IT assets, policies and procedures, which provides the basis for the priorities and projects identified in the transformation strategy.

Moreover, it is not only about technology. The business and IT transformation is about transforming how state government delivers programs and services to the public, businesses and employees. It includes reengineering outdated and inefficient business processes, identifying and procuring the technology to support those new business processes, and redeploying human capital to where it is needed.

Q: Why not just outsource this to private sector experts?

The state’s Office of Information Management and Technology is working closely with the private sector to develop solutions for meeting the state’s needs. However, there is a need to keep much of the IT operation under the purview of the state for information security and legal purposes. For example, federal laws require the state to maintain control of certain information on state-owned and controlled servers.