Ohio CIO Ervan Rodgers addresses the NASCIO19 midyear conference.

May 08 2019
Data Center

NASCIO Midyear 2019: How Ohio Government and State Schools Work Together on IT Initiatives

State government and schools save money and resources through joint ventures like a data center and cooperative purchasing.

Speaking at a leadership conference Tuesday, Ohio CIO Ervan Rodgers detailed how his state advances IT innovation with its Innovate Ohio program and in cooperation with its public education system.

Innovate Ohio, an executive order from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, directs Ohio state agencies to digitally transform state services, Rodgers told the midyear conference of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, this year held outside Washington, D.C. 

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In doing so, the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, Rodgers' agency, will consider "the citizen’s journey," the CIO said. For example, an Ohio citizen may require three different logins to interact with the state and to pay taxes, pay fines and register for a driver’s license. The goal of Innovate Ohio is to bring those services together in one system where Ohioans can interact seamlessly with the state government for each of those functions and more.

The resulting SmartOhio Operating System will “require state departments to engage in data sharing to improve the efficiency of services across state government and give the capacity to provide for predictive analytics to solve problems before they occur,” according to the governor’s office.

In addition, Ohio DAS is migrating servers, with seven agencies remaining to be migrated. Rodgers touted the special care Ohio is taking to consider the requirements of law enforcement, which he came to understand well during his time in the Ohio Attorney General's Office.

Digital Transformation

State Government and Schools Benefit from Partnership

DeWine's 2018 executive order also strengthened the state's coordination with its public school system, said State Chief Transformation Officer Kristina Hagberg. 

The Ohio Academic Resource Network, or OARnet, provides the state and public universities and schools with roughly 2,000 miles of fiber optic network. OARnet also serves as the state government's internet service provider.

The State of Ohio Computer Center colocates government and public school computers in one data center. The Ohio State University saves money with the system, and it is open to other schools and local government, Hagberg said.

Through cooperative purchasing, government agencies and public schools can use a shared state purchasing contract with vendors like VMware. Occasionally, education institutions receive specialized discounts, such as with the state’s contract with Microsoft, Hagberg said. The state continues to explore how it can expand education pricing.

Meanwhile, under Innovate Ohio, the state is addressing a cyber talent gap by fostering interest in careers through the state education system, Rodgers added.

Read more articles from StateTech’s coverage of the NASCIO 2019 Midyear conference here.

Mickey McCarter

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