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MN.IT @ DNR Receives Special Achievement Award for Exceptional Application of Geospatial Technology

July 12, 2013

MN.IT @ DNR’s GIS program was presented with a Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Award at the Esri International User Conference (Esri UC) in San Diego on July 10. This award acknowledges vision, leadership, hard work and innovative use of Esri's geographic information system (GIS) technology.

“This award recognizes an amazing body of work by many individuals to elevate the MN.IT @ DNR GIS program to world-class status,” said Robert Maki, Chief Information Officer for MN.IT @ DNR. “It is great to see the program recognized through this prestigious award. We seldom stop and take stock of our accomplishments. This is a great opportunity to do so.”

The Department of Natural Resources uses Esri ArcGIS technology as an essential tool in fulfilling its three-part mission of providing outdoor recreational opportunities, conserving natural resources and contributing to the economic vitality of the State of Minnesota. MN.IT @ DNR staff oversee all ArcGIS deployments within the department, providing comprehensive geospatial data management services, software development, user technical support and classroom training.

During the GIS program’s 20-year history, the DNR GIS user community has expanded from 20 specialists, to over 800 natural resource scientists and managers, plus millions of citizens making use of mapping functionality on the DNR website. Program staff members have always placed a high value on external collaboration, and championed “no-fee” distribution of public data and software resources within Minnesota and beyond.

Organizations from around the world honored at the Esri UC range across various industries, including agriculture, cartography, climate change, defense and intelligence, economic development, education, government, health and human services, telecommunications, and utilities.

"The SAG Awards identify the organizations and people that are using the power of geography to improve our world and drive change," says Esri president Jack Dangermond. "At Esri, we are always deeply inspired by the passion and innovation of our users. They deserve recognition for both solving their communities’ greatest challenges and for their invaluable contributions to the continued evolution of geographic science.”

For more information about the 2013 Special Achievement in GIS Award winners, including project information and photos, please visit esri.com/sag.

 

LiDAR, MN.IT @ DNR in the news

July 11, 2013

Northland's News Center featured a story about the work of the Natural Resources Research Institute in Duluth and MN.IT @ DNR to detect erosion from the 2012 floods. The story explains how the Light Detection and Range (LiDAR) technology can be used to pinpoint erosion that could become problematic in the future. Learn more by watching the video from the Northland's News Center.

 

MN.IT staff help launch new website for Minnesota’s veterans

July 10, 2013

MN.IT staff members from @ Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs and the Central office provided technical expertise in the creation of the MN Department of Veterans Affairs’ (MDVA) newly redesigned website. The site is part of the MDVA’s continuing efforts to provide the best service and care for the state’s 370,000 veterans.

MN.IT staff worked closely with the MDVA Communications Department, to translate the desires of Minnesota Veterans collected through focus groups, to an extremely user-friendly and easy-to-navigate site. The technical effort included providing a stable development environment, migration of data, design and implementation support. MN.IT also completed extensive testing ahead of the site’s launch.

Since the launch in June, the new site has received a significant increase in hits from as far away as Australia and accolades from Veterans, counties and Veteran groups.

Created specifically with Veterans and families in mind, the website is designed to be user friendly with improved navigation that will serve as a vehicle to help Minnesotans get timely information and news. It is also expected to help Minnesotans better differentiate MDVA from its close partner, the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.    

The site will promote and be accessible through the URL of www.MinnesotaVeteran.org, but will also be accessible through the official state website address http://mn.gov/mdva.

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.

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.

EUCC partner wins national award for business-government collaboration

August 08, 2012

St. Paul, MN August 8, 2012 - Microsoft, the State of Minnesota’s business partner on the Enterprise Unified Communications and Collaboration (EUCC) move to the cloud, has received the national Top Tech Integrators Exceptional Service Award for their collaborative work on the project. Microsoft was nominated by MN.IT Services, Minnesota's enterprise IT organization, and selected by e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government as one of the 11 best organizations in the country that tailor technology solutions for government.

The Exceptional Service Award recognizes an integrator’s role as a key change agent or catalyst for process or operational change within an agency or jurisdiction. Earlier this year, MN.IT Services and Microsoft joined forces to move 40,000 emailboxes into the Cloud, increasing benefits like collaboration, system security and mailbox capacity, while also realizing decreased costs.

“Our partnership with Microsoft resulted in ground-breaking work for state government,” said Ed Valencia, CTO for the State of Minnesota. “This project pushed the boundaries of innovation by focusing not just on innovative technology, but also through such a strongly collaborative business relationship. We’re very proud of the groundbreaking work our team completed with Microsoft as our partner.”

The EUCC transition was completed in a short time with very little disruption to users. The system is expandable and available to other jurisdictions as well – like boards, commissions, cities and counties. The City of St. Paul has recently migrated to the system, for example.

Winners were selected from nominations, submitted by public sector IT entities, of companies who partnered on projects addressing such areas as health and human services; finance and administration; transportation; and economic and business development.

The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. The Center is a division of e.Republic, a national publishing, event and research company focused on smart media for public sector innovation. 

For more information on the award and the other 2012 winners, go to the Center for Digital Government’s award site.

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.  

 

Minnesota recognized as national leader in delivery of electronic services

October 03, 2012

The State of Minnesota has been recognized as a national leader for its use of technology to better serve citizens, increase operational efficiencies, and promote increased collaboration between state and local government agencies, according to the results of the Digital States Survey, a comprehensive biannual review of the technology practices of state governments by the Center for Digital Government.

Minnesota’s grade for electronic service delivery moved up to a grade of A-, from a B+ in 2010, putting the State behind only Michigan and Utah, and on a short list of states that lead the country in using technology to “improve service delivery, increase capacity, change cost structures and reach policy goals.”

“When we talk about making government work better for the people of Minnesota, we mean it,” said Governor Mark Dayton. “This is another success in our continuing effort to build a better government for a better Minnesota. I congratulate our Chief Information Officer, Carolyn Parnell, and her team for this outstanding achievement.”

The Digital States Survey results come just one year after Minnesota initiated a comprehensive IT consolidation effort across the executive branch – centralizing all executive branch technology functions within a single statewide, IT agency, MN.IT Services. Under the state’s new model, MN.IT Services acts as the central IT service provider to all state agencies.

“We have found that we are stacking up well against similar efforts underway throughout the private sector,” said Parnell. “But this evaluation by the Center for Digital Government is particularly gratifying, as it recognizes Minnesota as leaders in the government space.”

Within a year of consolidation, MN.IT Services transferred roughly 1,500 IT employees from 70 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.

While the survey recognized the early success of Minnesota’s strategic transformation of IT over the last year, its focus was on how states use technology to better engage, inform and interact with citizens and make government more transparent. Minnesota’s survey submission highlighted several examples of this type of innovative use of technology:

Details about the 2012 Digital States Survey by The Center for Digital Government
  • Minnesota received the grade A- in the 2012 Digital States Survey. This is up from B+ in 2010. Under the Digital States criteria, a grade of A reflects a state that is “Trending sharply up. Demonstrated results across all categories. Modernization used to realize operational efficiencies and strategic priorities under nimble leaders. Evidence of meaningful collaboration. Performance measures and metrics widely adopted. Cuts tend to be made strategically.”
  • The Digital States Survey, which began 15 years ago, has helped benchmark state government use of digital technologies to improve service delivery, increase capacity, change cost structures and reach policy goals. The 2012 survey set a high bar for state performance as many governments continue to deal with budget cuts, a lagging economic recovery and increased demand for services.
  • A full list of state grades can be found at www.centerdigitalgov.com