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Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015

State technology update

Friday, September 2, 2011

Dear Fellow Nebraskans:

One of my key priorities is to develop a more efficient government through greater use of technology. I want to highlight several successful technology projects that have helped Nebraskans access their state government in a more efficient manner. Our goal is to provide improved access, increased accountability, greater efficiency and lower costs.

In January of this year, we activated the final phase of Nebraska's statewide wireless public safety radio network. This monumental project involved installations covering the entire state and was completed in less than two years.

Another important project is Network Nebraska which continues to be a successful collaboration between State government, the University of Nebraska and several local partners. Network Nebraska is used to deliver cost affordable telecommunications access to governmental and educational entities across the State. One use of Network Nebraska is the distance education system that includes 199 school districts, 14 educational service units and 15 higher education institutions.

Another major technological project is the Nebraska Student Information System recently implemented for the state colleges and University of Nebraska. The system is used by all seven university and state college campuses with the opportunity to ensure personalization by campus, allowing each institution to "brand" their own system. When the projects were first proposed as two separate projects, the costs were estimated at over $42.5 million dollars. The joint project was completed at a cost of $20.4 million dollars, saving the taxpayers approximately $20 million dollars.

As we continue to look for additional efficiencies and economies in the services we deploy for state agencies, the state has signed a contract to move to cloud-based e-mail and calendars solution. We have begun to move over 15,000 employee mailboxes to a public cloud service, providing expanded services at a lower cost to agencies.

Cloud based technology allows the state to share servers and resources outside of state government for lower costs because we only pay for the services we use. By enabling information technology resources to be shared, multiple users exist on a common infrastructure, allowing costs to be more effectively managed.

Last year the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) added Driver License Renewal to their online services. Citizens can take advantage of renewing online every other renewal period, as well as using the service to obtain a duplicate of their license or State ID card. Since the April 2010 launch of the service, 56,310 online renewals have been processed. This June, we added a Quick Response (QR) code to the renewal postcards for smartphone holders. In July alone, there were 125 scans of the QR code. This service is yet another example of how citizens can use technology to save money and time.

Travelers have a service available which provides real-time road and weather conditions using more than 60 cameras and other tools to monitor highway conditions and communicate road closings to travelers. Whether accessed via hotline or website, the 511 system is a powerful tool that continues to prove to be very useful in the midst of road construction, severe weather conditions and road closure conditions. The 511 hotline alone averages approximately 2,000 calls a day.

The technology that allows Nebraskans to file taxes electronically has also helped increase the productivity and lower costs for the Department of Revenue. A decade ago, the department was hiring up to 130 temporary employees each spring to process paper tax returns. This year they hired no temporary workers because Nebraska has one of the highest e-filing rates in the nation, with more than 85 percent of all tax returns filed electronically this year.

As of May, electronic filing of court documents is available in every county and district court statewide. Nearly 20,000 electronic filings monthly are processed through Nebraska.gov resulting in a savings of over 1000 staff hours by the court system. Over 50% of new civil cases are now being filed electronically. More than 2000 attorneys are signed up to use the service.

Our focus is developing new technological opportunities for citizens to interact with government agencies that improve customer service, increase efficiency and reduce costs.

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Gov. Dave Heineman
State Issues