Digital Government Summit

Posted on Sep 9, 2016 in Main

Remarks of Governor David Ige as prepared

June 6, 2016 – Digital Government Summit at the Hilton Hawaiian Village

In less than a year, the Office of Enterprise Technology Services launched its Adobe eSign [electronic signature] project. I told the staff we need to move to paperless. As Todd Nacapuy said, we have processed 22,000–28,000 eSign documents. I expect that we will see more and more of the work that government does being electronic. I just want to thank all of you involved with this project that really brought it to this point.

We have taken bold steps, and Todd talked about a couple of the successes. I did want to personally thank those of you involved with that project. Health connector transition was one of the most challenging, especially since we were peripherally involved but had to make it work.

I just wanted to talk about a couple other things. Tax system modernization, and those of you on the tax team working on that project know we are ahead of schedule and under budget. What a terrific thing for government to be.

I just wanted to thank Maria Zielinski, Tax director, and those of you involved with that project. It truly is setting the standard as we move forward. I tell people if you think about the stories in the press–one year ago today, the focus was on the fact that people weren’t getting their returns, there was a backlog, we weren’t able to process. We implemented phase one of that project on December 15th of last year. Not a single story was written about tax returns being held or delayed or being slow. So for those of you on that project, I just wanted to congratulate you for a job well done, for really bringing that project in, ahead of schedule, and on budget.

More importantly, phase two is coming in August. So I just want to thank you. Collecting taxes is the most important thing we do because it does fund everything else, and I do believe that we shouldn’t be talking about tax increases until we can collect more efficiently the taxes already owed and should be paid to the State.

We are also moving forward with enterprise payroll, time and attendance. I’ve been in government service for 30 years and I cannot tell you my first recollection of the problems with the payroll system. It must have been at least 25 years ago, and we are finally getting to the point of getting serious. I just wanted to thank those of you involved with payroll, time and attendance. I know that it has been an extremely aggressive schedule. I know that we’re in the process of final evaluations, and we hope to announce that selection soon and execute the contract.

As I said, I have spent years and years hearing about the challenges of payroll, time and attendance. I cannot imagine a larger organization still doing it by paper and pencil. I just really want to say that I appreciate those of you involved with this project. I am really looking forward to moving forward and being successful with this.

Todd talked a little bit about moving and getting the backup data center at the University of Hawai‘i. I think that is so fundamentally important. When Todd first got in, we talked about things, and we talked about those things that we can do immediately. It seemed a waste of taxpayer funds for us to be funding or paying for a private data center when we have a brand new, state of the art building at the University of Hawai‘i.

I just wanted to thank my fellow nerdy geeks, David Lassner and Garret Yoshimi, for helping to facilitate that. We are in such a better place today by reaching out to the university, and being able to save money on behalf of the State, for the people of the State of Hawai‘i. We expect to save millions of dollars just by moving, instead of renting private space, to a facility that we already own at the university. I just want to thank all of you involved with that project. I know that was another “get it done now, sooner rather than later” project, but I truly appreciate all of you who were involved with that.

It has been a remarkable partnership working with Todd. We are committed to making “working in IT for the state government” the best IT job that anybody can get in the State of Hawai‘i. Todd and I went to a hackathon for the second time about two months ago and I told Todd, “you know what, we should have a hackathon for state government.” It’s in August so please challenge yourselves. I told Todd I was programming in high school back then, it’s what we need to do. We need to be able to develop our own apps within state government. We need to encourage and develop a platform so that IT professionals in the State of Hawai‘i have the opportunity to develop applications that serve our community. I think it’s so important for us moving forward.

I really do appreciate what you do, each and every one of you. I do know over the last several years we have spent hundreds of millions of dollars investing in hardware. I do know, as an IT professional, that the most important key to success is the human capital which is necessary to drive the enterprise forward. I just want to thank all of you for choosing to be public servants, to be part of this transformation as we move forward. This summit is an opportunity for you to network with your peers, to talk to vendors, to see, and be exposed to the next generation of technology. We hope you can help us help the State be more efficient and effective.

I just wanted to close with one more quote before I leave. Steve Ballmer, who is former CEO of Microsoft, is credited with saying, “The number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want, what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things that they didn’t think they could learn before.” And so in a sense it is all about potential. IT gives us the potential to be efficient, effective and open. It’s the people that deliver the goods.

So thank you very much for being here. I truly appreciate everything you do every day to serve the people in Hawai‘i. Mahalo.