Nebraska CIO Ed Toner listens as Deven Mehta addresses NASCIO 2018.

Oct 23 2018

NASCIO 2018: Centralized Networks Produce Results in Nebraska and Ohio

At NASCIO 2018, state leaders share how centralized platforms have saved money and created opportunities for state and local agencies.

Until recently, the city of Lincoln, Neb., maintained a paper application for building permits. Contractors, after a quick and easy online process for state-level applications, would run into a roadblock with the city, not knowing a paper form was required.

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The resulting confusion among building contractors inspired the city to turn to the state and ask, “What’s wrong here?” recalled Nebraska CIO Ed Toner in a presentation at NASCIO 2018 in San Diego on Monday. “What’s different? Well, we are online, and you are paper based,” he replied.

Toner suggested the city “hop onto” the state system, empowering contractors to get all required permits at the same time. Nebraska charges Lincoln a transaction fee for each permit, and all sides benefit from a fast and affordable process.

Lincoln also combined its mainframe with the state, resulting in even greater efficiencies and savings, Toner said.

Nebraska Gains Big Efficiencies by Taking Over County IT Support

There are 93 counties in Nebraska, and the state provides full IT support for 74 of them, Toner said. “We’re going to get them all sooner or later,” he added.

In one county, the central server was down for three days; finally, a call went out to the state for help. Within four hours, the state virtualized the county’s IT operations, and it was back up and running. The county converted to a state-run virtualized network and pays just 10 percent of what it once did in IT costs.

Now, as their AS/400 IBM systems reach end of life throughout the state, the remaining counties switch over to state-supported virtualization.

Nebraska colocates its state data center with that of Douglas County, the state’s largest county. IT officials count the server racks in the data center and divide the costs associated with running it proportionately, providing a great value for the citizens of Nebraska.

“We provide the service to the counties, and they do the advertising for us,” Toner said.


Shared Services in Ohio Save Counties Millions

Similarly, Ohio agencies and counties have found significant savings in shared services, said Deven Mehta, deputy director of Ohio Enterprise Shared Services.

Ohio centralized state and county IT operations in the Ohio Computer Center, a data warehouse in the middle of the state. Ranked as one of the top 10 data centers in the country, the centralized warehouse saves Ohio counties millions of dollars; Cuyahoga County, for example, saved an estimated $12 million in upfront investment and saves another $1 million annually in operations costs.

Meanwhile, the Ohio One Network provides more than 2,250 miles of 100-gigabit-per-second connectivity. More than 30 local and state government agencies use the network, which links about 750 state and county buildings.

Ohio citizens benefit from this collaboration in health and human services. The state nurtured various initiatives as pilots, and then spread them statewide, supporting services such as a self-service benefits portal, an enterprise document management system and intelligent process automation, among others, Mehta said.

Read more articles and check out videos from StateTech’s coverage of NASCIO 2018 here.

Mickey McCarter

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