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.
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.
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.
April 23, 2012 -- The Office of Enterprise Technology has announced a new brand for the organization: MN.IT Services.
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.
St. Paul, MN August 29, 2011 - The city of Saint Paul will become the first Minnesota municipality to enter into a shared service agreement with the State of Minnesota’s Enterprise email service.
The partnership signifies a new priority by the governor and state leadership to improve government service by leveraging inter-governmental collaboration and shared resources.
In his budget address at the Amsterdam Bar and Hall on August 15, Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman noted that the email partnership is among the “key investments” the city is planning for 2012, and expects the move to help maintain the quality of life Saint Paul residents have come to know.
“Through a shared-services partnership with the State of Minnesota, in 2012 we will have 24/7 maintenance and support coverage, providing Saint Paul with a communications system we can rely on when we need it,” Coleman said, in reference to the December snowfall event he dubbed “Snowmageddon,” which caused the city’s email system to fail.
The State of Minnesota’s Enterprise email service is one of the many services delivered by the Office of Enterprise Technology (OET) that can be leveraged by other local units of government in Minnesota. The current service offering is a highly secure and reliable solution that leverages some of the latest and best technology available in the market. As a result, the city of Saint Paul can expect improved security, increased collaboration, and more efficient use of time and resources.
This move furthers the Administration’s efforts to reform government, making it work better for Minnesotans and saving taxpayer’s money.
State Chief Information Officer Carolyn Parnell outlined the importance of this move: “Government entities, both state and local, need to look beyond the traditional boundaries for opportunities to leverage economies of scale and efficiencies for their operations and, by extension, for Minnesotans. It is essential that we find ways to work together on behalf of our common constituents – the citizens of Minnesota.”
The Office of Enterprise Technology has successfully migrated 35 executive branch entities and 40,000 email inboxes to the centralized email service to date, an effort that has improved and standardized communications within the State and lays the groundwork for a more global IT consolidation of the executive branch now getting underway.
The city of Saint Paul will migrate its 3,300 employee inboxes to the State’s email service sometime after its fiscal year begins on January 1.
At 12:48 PM today, the State of Minnesota began experiencing an issue that impacted Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) telephone service for approximately 20,000 state agency customers. Specifically, this issue prevented state employees from making or receiving calls from their VOIP telephones to phones that were outside of the State of Minnesota's internal network. VOIP calls between state agencies were not impacted by the service outage.
The Office of Enterprise Technology immediately began working with the State’s vendor to diagnose and resolve the service outage. By rerouting outbound VOIP calls, OET technical staff was able to successfully restore outbound VOIP telephone service by 1:27 PM. The vendor has been working with OET staff to address the incoming call problem and, as of 3:30 p.m., all service has been restored.
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:
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