Rauner cites digital technology advances as he opens NGA Smarter States conference
CHICAGO, IL-(Effingham Radio)-Illinois is using advanced digital technologies to give taxpayers better service at lower costs. The result is a “smarter state,” one with more efficient government operations, lower ongoing costs, and savings of millions of taxpayer dollars.
Gov. Bruce Rauner struck this “more for less” theme here today at the opening of the National Governors Association’s (NGA) Smarter States, Smarter Communities Learning Lab. The Lab is a three-day conference for state officials from all over the country to learn how to deploy smart technologies and advanced data analytics to improve state government operations.
“Illinois is at the forefront of the smart state movement,” Rauner said. “We see technology advances as opportunities to foster economic development and support our job creators by delivering service that is efficient, timely, and accessible by modern digital standards. The NGA’s Learning Lab gives us a chance to share our experiences with other states and find out what we can learn from each other. It’s a great program.”
The Smarter States, Smarter Communities Learning Lab is hosted by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, a bipartisan organization that works with the nation’s governors on pressing policy issues. The Learning Lab will take place from October 17-19 at the Ambassador Hotel in Chicago.
“NGA is pleased to recognize Illinois as the first “smart state” that is working to share their lessons learned with others through the NGA Smarter States, Smarter Communities initiative,” said Sue Gander, Director, Environment, Energy & Transportation Division, NGA Center for Best Practices. “Governors have a great opportunity to enhance the quality of life for their citizens and improve economic development by harnessing the power of advanced communications networks, data analytics, smart transportation and energy technologies. This first cohort of five states will help demonstrate how to advance a “smart for all” vision.”
Promoting innovation within government has been a priority for Rauner since the beginning of his administration. In 2016, an executive order established the Department of Innovation and Technology, which consolidated Illinois’ I.T. functions into one agency. Since then, the cybersecurity operations center has strengthened protections for confidential records and has trained more than 46,000 state employees in cybersecurity.
Rauner also has promoted increasing online access to government information and services. The administration’s “Going Mobile” strategy has increased mobile service deliveries from 3 percent to 45 percent in the last year and has produced more than 40 mobile apps to streamline access to information. Ninety percent of state licenses are now available online, lowering application times by 22 percent and reducing costs of paper and postage by $600,000 a year. Additionally, 96 percent of the state’s school districts now have access to high-speed internet, up from 71 percent in 2015.
Modernized state technology is reducing cyber risk and saving money. Eighty-one percent of state agencies have migrated to the Illinois.gov platform, reducing the costs and security risks associated with maintaining multiple domains. Meanwhile, 420 different human resources, grant management, and financial reporting systems are being consolidated into one integrated platform. This enterprise resource plan will save taxpayers between $139 million and $300 million annually once it is fully implemented.
“The Department of Innovation and Technology has played an important role in making Illinois government more efficient and effective,” said Acting Secretary Kirk Lonbom. “The state’s collaboration with the NGA and other states from around the country will help us achieve our mission of cutting costs, improving service delivery, and providing value to Illinois taxpayers.”