How Oregon coped with a flood of jobless claims
At the start of the pandemic, the Oregon Department of Employment faced a crash in claims for UI and its legacy systems could not meet the request.
To resolve the issue, Oregon contracted with Google to set up a cloud-based portal that “allows agency staff to link requests to the agency’s central IT system, which manages payment for services”, as reported by Columbia Gorge News. In this process, IGNW, a CDW company, was instrumental in connecting these systems. It was able to link old PDF forms from the Oregon Department of Employment to Google Cloud, which quickly sped up the processing of applications. Before the change, UI claims would come in one by one via PDF and a staff member would read them.
This change has helped the state take claims processing from about 100,000 to 500,000 in a week and a half.
The Oregon example shows that many legacy applications that have been around for years and perform the same function can be automated. Modern apps can also take advantage of chatbots that can answer frequently asked questions and then connect to a human staff member for more complex queries.
Another aspect of the drive to modernize is that many state and local IT staff do not understand the power of the data they hold once it is placed in the cloud and analyzed with tools. AI-based analysis.
These analytical skills can be used to help agencies understand how to improve their services. For example, in the context of unemployment, analysis can help determine how many people have had their claims paid, how many people may have been mistakenly paid twice, how many people are left in the queue, etc.
MORE FROM STATETECH: How did the pandemic open the doors to cloud-based data collection and analysis?
Create the capacity to develop modern applications
One way for government IT managers to accelerate their adoption of modern government services is to change the way government applications are developed.
Such an effort is not easy, especially if government app developers are used to developing apps only in established languages like Python.
As the term software-defined data center has become ubiquitous, the virtualized infrastructure framework can indeed be used to develop modernized applications. Such efforts are necessary for the government to rapidly develop new services for citizens.
IT teams and government application developers can leverage tools like infrastructure as code to build on-demand cloud infrastructure using software. However, if government agencies do not have the in-house expertise to do so, they look to experienced partners, such as CDW and IGNW, for help.
Two tools can be very helpful in this regard. One is infrastructure as code tools from HashiCorp, which can be used to navigate multiple clouds and on-premises infrastructures from a code perspective. Another is a Headless Content Management System, which is a cloud-based, product-focused CMS.
Partners can use these tools to write scripts for agencies to modernize and automate application development. All of this can be used to accelerate the development and deployment of cloud-based applications.
While these tools have the capacity to build modern applications, IT teams need buy-in from leaders and elected officials to drive these initiatives forward. Citizens demand more responsive and easy-to-use government services, and agencies have the technological tools available to deliver them. However, agencies need to commit to making modern digital government a reality.
This article is part of StateTech ‘s Citizen Blog Series. Please join the discussion on Twitter using the # StateLocalIT hashtag.