Nebraska went live with the system last October, on schedule and a little bit under budget, an outcome that Johnson characterizes as “a remarkable achievement for a project of this magnitude.”
Except for a few hiccups that resulted from integration issues with peripherals and other state systems, it has been a huge success.
“The feedback and the results so far have been extremely positive,” Johnson says, noting that the DMV has already added three new online services, including giving customers the ability to track the production status of specialty plate orders. “I feel like the opportunity to better serve our customers and provide online services is really endless at this point. Now, if someone has an idea, we just say, ‘Let’s try it.’”
READ MORE: Find out how software-defined everything benefits state government.
Idaho Residents Already See Benefits of Modernization
Idaho undertook its own DMV modernization effort but decided to tackle all major DMV components, including systems for driver’s licenses, vehicle registration and motor carrier permits. What’s more, the state set a goal to get everything off its nearly 40-year-old mainframe by 2020.
“It was ambitious,” admits Alberto Gonzalez, administrator for the state’s DMV. “But we had already identified that part of the prior failures of modernization projects had to do with organizational structure, not technology. So, we dedicated time in 2015 to reorganizing the DMV, including the management and the leadership structures, the way the teams report, centralizing some of the work. With that done, we felt like we were going to build a new system that was in line with what the future organizational structure needed to be and that would increase our chances for success.”
The modernization team also recognized that there wasn’t a one-size-fits-all technology panacea. As a result, some applications — notably driver’s licenses and vehicle registration and titling — were designed to be hosted on an in-house system based on a customer relationship management solution instead of being outsourced.
“We decided early on to use a CRM system as the foundation because it provided a lot of basic functions that we wouldn’t have to code, like security, customer and workflow features,” Gonzalez explains, noting that because Idaho is a Microsoft shop, the state opted for Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
The Idaho DMV has phased in its new, modernized systems a little at a time since 2018, and the department will go live with its last major component, motor vehicle registration and titling, in June.
However, the DMV and its customers already are realizing major benefits, including fully automated online transactions, faster turnaround times, increased accuracy and greater security of credentials, Gonzalez says.
In addition, the DMV’s new ability to automate business validation rules and standardize decision-making has led to fewer complaints, hearings and appeals related to credential issuance.
“All in all, people are pretty pleased that they’re getting their calls answered in less than a minute and even getting transactions done faster when they do have to visit a county office,” Gonzalez says. “And for Idaho, which is now the fastest-growing state in the country, we’re able to effectively manage that demand without having to add staff, and yet we’re able to meet the needs of our customers better than ever.
MORE FROM STATETECH: Discover when to ditch a mainframe and when to keep one.