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Government Technology Featured Article

December 27, 2012

Hawaii Digital Government Summit Shows Advances In Hawaiian Tech

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

The Hilton Hawaiian Village recently played host to about 700 employees of the State of Hawaii, community leaders and assorted members of the public as Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Government Technology Executive Events and the Center for Digital Government put on a massive array of presentations showing off the advancements that are powering state government in business and information technology.

The Digital Government Summit involved over 20 different sessions on a huge variety of topics, and gave those 700 who attended a clear look at just what Hawaii was doing with information technology to change the way it operated. It's also part of a larger initiative, the IT Transformation Plan, that launched back in October with an eye toward making state officials more efficient and better able to carry out the business of government.

Not only did those 700 attendees learn what Hawaii had in mind in terms of its government, but they also got the chance to weigh in on some of those changes and make a bit of influence themselves. After all, government leaders and local executives only know so much about what's actually going on on the ground, so those 700 attendees got a chance to fill them in about local conditions and things that could stand addressing. This would allow the two groups to work together toward the development of solutions for those particularly local issues.

According to word from Deputy Chief Information Officer of Business Transformation Randy Baldemor, the project is more specifically designed to provide Hawaii's citizens with a variety of useful both immediately and in the longer term. Baldemor elaborated: "Citizens will have 24/7 online access to the services they need most and businesses will have better access to the services they need to run efficiently and grow our economy.". Considering that just the Summit alone covered topics like the Hawaii Broadband Initiative, the modernization of public schools, and enterprise resource planning topics, it's clear that the Summit--and Hawaii's technology plans--are wide-reaching to say the least.

It's certainly a major initiative planned for Hawaii, and one that was likely long overdue. The state hasn't launched a major investment in technology for over 30 years, and that means equipment and infrastructure alike are likely several generations old. This is going to require utter revamping and a complete sea change on the part of employees and stakeholders alike as Hawaii's government goes from a largely paper-based system to a more up-to-date version.

Admittedly, money is tight all over, especially these days. But still, it is the universal standard that all systems require upgrade at some point. This gives businesses essentially two options: one, upgrade regularly and in small intervals, spreading out the expense over several years, or two, do it all at once in one large chunk. Clearly Hawaii has gone with option two, which does have certain advantages but also comes with its share of drawbacks, including a major bill to pay and a level of difficulty in getting staff up to speed with the new systems.

Still, Hawaii has clearly made the decision to get to upgrading, and that's a decision that Hawaii's residents and state employees alike will ultimately welcome once the upgrades are complete and everyone's had a chance to get up to speed. There's no word as yet on when they'll actually finish the job, but still, every journey starts with just one step, a step that Hawaii has made.

Edited by Stefanie Mosca

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