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Minnesota Kids Safe Online Poster Content: Winners Announced

March 13, 2014
St. Paul, Minnesota (March 18, 2014) – MN.IT Services is proud to announce the winners of this year’s Minnesota Kids Safe Online Poster Contest. The contest encourages kids to creatively illustrate online and computer safety in an effort to raise awareness among children of all ages.

Last month, hundreds of Minnesota students submitted original artwork illustrating the safe use of the Internet, computers and mobile devices. The posters were judged on concept, creativity and originality.
Grades K-5 winners:

• Nathan C., 3rd Grade, Kaleidoscope Charter School, Otsego
• Erika S., 3rd Grade, Transfiguration Catholic School, Oakdale
• Carly S., 4th Grade, Lake Elmo Elementary, Lake Elmo
• Grace S., 4th grade, Transfiguration Catholic School, Oakdale
• Alexa A., 5th grade, Transfiguration Catholic School, Oakdale
• Olivia H., 5th Grade, Transfiguration Catholic School, Oakdale
• Carla G., 5th Grade, Transfiguration Catholic School, Oakdale

Grades 6-8 Winners
• Megan M., 6th Grade, Transfiguration Catholic School, Oakdale
• Alyssa M., 6th Grade, Transfiguration Catholic School, Oakdale
• Alecia P., 6th Grade, Transfiguration Catholic School, Oakdale
• Vanessa O., 7th Grade, Transfiguration Catholic School, Oakdale
• Jackson J., 8th Grade, Transfiguration Catholic School, Oakdale
• Alex M., 8th Grade, Transfiguration Catholic School, Oakdale
• Josh W., 8th Grade, Transfiguration Catholic School, Oakdale

“Choosing winners was difficult because all of the students did a good job of creatively explaining the importance of cyber security. Even more important, we know the students learned a lot about this important topic and ways to keep themselves safe online,” said Chris Buse, chief information security officer, MN.IT Services. 

These winners will represent Minnesota in the National Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) Cyber Security Awareness National Calendar Contest. Last year, Minnesota had two winners selected to be part of the MS-ISAC 2014 calendar.

Visit the MN.IT Services website to see the winning posters.  

Governor Dayton highlights cost-savings and improvements at MN.IT Services

December 04, 2013
A bipartisan effort to overhaul the state's information technology (IT) systems is paying off, according to new information released today by Governor Mark Dayton and MN.IT Services, the state’s IT agency. Since 2011, IT consolidation efforts within the Dayton Administration have saved Minnesotans an estimated $17.4 million by reducing waste, consolidating contracts, reforming administrative processes, and implementing new accountability measures. Governor Dayton praised the state’s information technology workforce for those savings, and other IT innovations and reforms at a celebration recognizing the work of MN.IT employees across the administration. 

“MN.IT's innovative work during the past two years has produced significant savings for Minnesota taxpayers,” said Governor Dayton. “Their reforms are also delivering faster and more efficient services to our citizens. I thank Commissioner Parnell for her strong leadership and MN.IT's hard-working employees for their accomplishments." 

In 2011, Governor Dayton signed bipartisan legislation to consolidate the state’s information technology systems, employees, and administration. As part of that ongoing consolidation, MN.IT Services established a statewide project management office to ensure greater accountability for the state’s major technology investments and contracts. In addition to increasing transparency, the reforms at MN.IT also are saving taxpayer dollars. The agency is now negotiating contracts on behalf of all state agencies – saving Minnesota more than $11 million on software and licensing contracts in 2012. These consolidation efforts are expected to save an additional $6.4 million by the end of 2013. 

“These improvements represent only the tip of the iceberg,” said Carolyn Parnell, Commissioner of MN.IT Services and the state’s Chief Information Officer. “As IT consolidation efforts continue in the months and years ahead, we will certainly reinvest savings to further improve the IT capability and services provided by the State of Minnesota.”

The consolidation of information technology resources also is improving collaboration between state agencies on complex projects. When state agencies collaborate more effectively, major state information technology projects are being completed more quickly and at a lower price. During the past year, MN.IT has been completing other projects that enhance data security, save money, increase efficiency, and ultimately provide better services to Minnesotans. Some of those projects include: 

Improving Data Security – The State of Minnesota used to operate 36 data centers statewide to house the state’s data and maintain essential IT operations. A major component of IT consolidation efforts has been to replace those 36 separate locations with two enterprise data centers that serve all of state government. That single 2-3 year effort will improve information security, reduce physical space maintained and operated by the state, and cut energy consumption and costs statewide.

Streamlining Prescriptions and Reducing Medication Errors – MN.IT worked with the Department of Human Services to streamline and improve an old and outdated system for filling prescriptions at state hospitals and medical facilities. Since making those improvements, transcription errors have decreased, and awareness of drug interactions and allergies has improved. Overall, patient safety has increased by 40 percent. The system improvements are also saving nurses valuable time. Nurses used to spend more than 3 hours per day filling prescriptions. With new improvements implemented by MN.IT and the Department of Human Services, nurses are spending only 15 minutes per day filling prescriptions – a savings of nearly 14 labor hours every workweek.

Supporting Minnesota Businesses. This year, MN.IT worked with the Department of Employment and Economic Development to create a “Made In Minnesota” database. The new website encourages Minnesota businesses to buy products and supplies from each other, rather than from out-of-state or foreign companies. The tool contains details about nearly 600 Minnesota manufacturers statewide.

The Dayton Administration is continuing its efforts to streamline the state’s IT systems, and deliver better, faster, more efficient services to Minnesotans. During the 2013 Legislative Session, Governor Dayton worked with the Legislature to make new information technology reforms and investments that will reduce waste and increase savings for Minnesota taxpayers. Some of those measures include: 

Department of Human Services – The new state budget invests in an initiative to replace a 20-year-old IT system at the Department of Human Services to increase efficiencies at the county level and identify and prevent fraud, waste and abuse.

Department of Natural Resources – The new state budget invests in an initiative to modernize data collection and performance reporting at the Department of Natural Resources to measure results, reduce costs, and improve public access to information.

Department of Public Safety – The new state budget invests in an initiative to replace outdated IT systems at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, providing more timely and accurate data to help law enforcement reduce the incidence of crime in Minnesota.

Department of Education – The new state budget continues the development of a statewide education data system to help educators and policymakers design and implement a better education system for Minnesota students.

State of Minnesota receives national IT honors for industry-leading client relations process

October 15, 2013

The State of Minnesota has been named a recipient of the National Association of State CIO’s (NASCIO) 2013 Recognition Award for Enterprise IT Management Initiatives.

The honor, awarded October 15th at the NASCIO Conference in Philadelphia, recognized Minnesota for the service level agreements (SLA) process it developed for management of state government IT. Minnesota’s SLA process is a comprehensive, sustainable, business-focused approach that helps customers understand exactly what to expect and how to work with their state IT partners.

The NASCIO award recognizes Minnesota as a leader, not only in the government sector, but in private industry as well.  

“When the legislature handed us the challenge of developing SLAs for our customers, we immediately turned to the IT industry to find best practices and templates we could model our process on,” said Carolyn Parnell, Minnesota’s State CIO and Commissioner of MN.IT Services, the state agency that delivers information technology to state government. “But after surveying the landscape, we couldn’t find any SLAs that defined IT services in a way business could easily understand. And the models we looked at weren’t comprehensive – they were more similar to Operational Level Agreements than SLAs.”

SLAs are the instrument by which MN.IT Services and agency customers agree on the service definitions, costs and metrics for all IT provided to clients. Within 10 months of Minnesota’s historic IT consolidation, MN.IT Services delivered 68 comprehensive SLAs to its clients. All SLAs are based on a common template, but reflect the unique as-is IT landscape of each customer’s business environment.

The first MN.IT SLAs required a lot of behind- the-scenes efforts to prepare the final product, including the identification and centralization of IT staff embedded within agency business, the development of a Service Reference Model with common service and function definitions, and the analysis of IT budgets for all agencies in the executive branch. Moving forward, the SLAs are reviewed quarterly with agency customers, and serve as the foundation for the dialog between IT and business.

“Receiving recognition from my peers makes me very proud,” said Commissioner Parnell, “because it shows that we have achieved something truly unique and important in the ever-changing, complex world of IT management.”

With SLAs in place, MN.IT has now begun a multi-year effort to redesign and improve the services that are outlined in the agreements, including the creation of the MN.IT Cloud for the delivery of infrastructure services. Officials expect the long-range plan to result in IT that operates with flexibility, innovation and efficiency and is more responsive and accountable to agency customers. Already, early indications show significant achievements resulting from Minnesota’s IT consolidation. You can read more about these successes on the MN.IT website

State of Minnesota’s Email Solution Wins National Recognition

October 23, 2012

The State of Minnesota has been named a recipient of National Association of State CIO’s (NASCIO) 2012 Recognition Award for Enterprise IT Management Initiatives.

The honor, awarded yesterday at the NASCIO 2012 Conference in San Diego, recognized Minnesota for the executive branch’s seamless migration to a single Enterprise Unified Communication and Collaboration (EUCC) cloud-based platform. The project unified all communication technology across state government to increase productivity, providing state workers new communications tools and the ability to collaborate easily and effectively across agency lines. The move to the cloud delivered enhanced constituent services without adding infrastructure or capital investments.

“This was a significant project that eliminated redundant systems, improved security and, in the simplest of business terms, made it possible for the Governor to finally send one email to all State of Minnesota employees,” said Carolyn Parnell, Minnesota’s State CIO and Commissioner of MN.IT Services, the state agency that delivers information technology to state government.

The consolidated cloud-based system has the capacity to serve Minnesota government beyond the executive branch. “We knew we were a success when St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman made joining the state’s email system a key goal in his 2012 state of the city address,” Commissioner Parnell explained.

Today, Minnesota has what is largely considered the most advanced communication and collaboration ecosystem in the public sector. The project brought all 70 state agencies into a single communications platform, including email, voice, video conferencing, instant messaging, desktop sharing, web collaboration, storage, and mobile phone options, in addition to other services. All this was accomplished while also keeping the system flexible enough to meet ongoing business needs, yet ensuring security levels befitting the work of law enforcement.

“Moving in a new direction takes courage, commitment and a willingness to challenge assumptions,” said Parnell. “Winning this award tells our Minnesota IT team that we are going in the right direction. It validates our path toward additional innovative projects as we optimize our recent statewide consolidation and lead Minnesota government toward solutions that benefit Minnesota citizens. We appreciate being recognized by our peers in other states, and we look forward to sharing our experiences on the road to new IT challenges.”

Work on the custom-designed project was done in partnership with Microsoft. The EUCC system is cloud-based and modeled on tools from Office 365.

State CIO honored for innovation and leadership through IT consolidation

November 07, 2012

Carolyn Parnell, Minnesota's State CIO and Commissioner of MN.IT Services – the state agency that delivers information technology to state government – has been named one of several recipients of the 2012 Tekne Award for leadership in Public Service. The award was presented to seven of Minnesota's public officials by the Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) in recognition of the honorees' efforts to consolidate IT services from more than 70 state agencies into a single organization, MN.IT Services (formerly the Office of Enterprise Technology).

"I'm honored to be named a recipient of this award," said Parnell. "This recognition validates that we're heading in the right direction – to provide innovative IT solutions that help build a better government for a better Minnesota."

Since the consolidation legislation passed in July 2011, MN.IT Services brought together roughly 2,100 IT employees from separate agencies into the new organization, and completed comprehensive service level agreements with each state agency, outlining the costs and level of service for all IT services, projects and applications – a level of IT management that is rare in both the private and public sectors.

Given annually, the Tekne Awards honor companies, innovations and individuals with technological breakthroughs that positively impact the lives and futures of people living in Minnesota and all over the world.

MN.IT Services – Information Technology for Minnesota Government

April 20, 2012

April 23, 2012 -- The Office of Enterprise Technology has announced a new brand for the organization: MN.IT Services. MNIT_logo.jpg

MN.IT Services applies to all executive branch information technology and everything that is done at both the MN.IT central and agency-based offices, and to the services that continue to be provided to other Minnesota government entities.

The information technology staff at 70 State of Minnesota agencies, boards and commissions were consolidated into a single IT organization through interagency agreements signed in October 2011.

The change occurs that the time that the new organization has developed and published operational strategies for the consolidated organization that will now function as a single entity that makes enterprise-wide decisions and manages resources collectively.

A new name acknowledges the change that is happening everywhere, and begins to build the brand and mindset among staff and customers that all of the State’s IT services are MN.IT Services. The new name provides additional clarity on roles and relationships among MN.IT offices and staff, and helps to describe the organization in a clear and consistent way.

Through a strategic planning process, the new organization has developed a new mission statement: “We provide government with high quality, secure and cost -effective information technology that meets the needs of government, fosters innovation, and improves outcomes for the people of Minnesota.”
 MN.IT Services has also released a new state Master Plan that describes the technology goals and priorities for executive branch over the next five years.