Digital States Survey: what keeps Utah at the top of its class?

<p style=”line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 11pt;” dir=”ltr”><span style=”font-size: 12px; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;”>The 2014 Digital States Survey run by the Center for Digital Government awarded Utah an A grade for state uses of IT this month, cementing its reputation as a forward-thinking technological hub. The state has maintained an A grade on the survey since 2012.</span></p><p style=”line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 11pt;” dir=”ltr”><span style=”font-size: 12px; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;”>Utah joins only two other states, Michigan and Missouri, in receiving A ratings. According to Govtech.com, an A grade signifies that “These states are trending sharply up. They show results across all survey categories. Modernization is used to realize operational efficiencies and strategic priorities. There is evidence of meaningful collaboration, and performance measures and metrics are widely adopted.”</span></p><p style=”line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 11pt;” dir=”ltr”><span style=”font-size: 12px; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;”>Utah has been at the</span> <a style=”text-decoration: none;” href=”http://gcn.com/articles/2014/09/11/utah-fletcher-qa.aspx”><span style=”font-size: 12px; font-family: Verdana; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;”>forefront of state information technology</span></a> <span style=”font-size: 12px; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;”>for years. In the 1990s, it became the first state to build a public key infrastructure, and it was one of the first states to promote a shared IT system, data center and server visualization for state computing equipment.</span></p><p style=”line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 11pt;” dir=”ltr”><span style=”font-size: 12px; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;”>Utah was also the fist state to go mobile, creating an app for iPhones and even the OnTime transit tracking app for Google Glass. Using OnTime, Google Glass wearers are able to receive bus or train notifications, track transit vehicle locations, and view route data. Utah’s chief technology officer David Fletcher told Govtech.com that “We have a large development community in Utah. You can see people wearing Google Glass around here.”</span></p><p style=”line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 11pt;” dir=”ltr”><span style=”font-size: 12px; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;”>He added, in another interview with the site, that the unexpectedly high adoption rates were not the point.”The goal was to learn more about how to better incorporate wearable technology into our application development thought process. We can learn about the interface and the unique capabilities before it becomes mainstream.”</span></p><p style=”line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 11pt;” dir=”ltr”><span style=”font-size: 12px; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;”>Utah promotes online services heavily to save costs, as the number of state employees falls and demand for services rises. Online transactions are cheaper, Fletcher says. The Center for Digital Government ranked Utah’s online portal was second best in the country in 2013.</span></p><p style=”line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 11pt;” dir=”ltr”><span style=”font-size: 12px; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;”>According to Fletcher, Utah began employing virtual desktop solutions when employees first started to use tablets. It helped employees stay looped into work at times when they couldn’t be in the office.</span></p><p style=”line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 11pt;” dir=”ltr”><span style=”font-size: 12px; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;”>Utah began investing in cloud computing in 2009, and has only expanded those services over time to accommodate an increasingly mobile population. It may not be long before Utah implements even more modern advancements, like</span> <a style=”text-decoration: none;” href=”http://2000pbc.com/the-benefits-of-virtual-office-space/”><span style=”font-size: 12px; font-family: Verdana; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;”>virtual offices</span></a><span style=”font-size: 12px; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;”>, which include live communications and a virtual receptionist without a physical office space.</span></p>

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