Every biennium the technology professionals within North Dakota state government, the state’s K-12 Educational Technology Council including EduTech and the Center for Distance Education, and the North Dakota University System (NDUS) jointly produce a Statewide Information Technology (IT) Plan. This plan is intended to provide a broad understanding of technology goals, objectives and initiatives for the coming biennium, as well as provide a snapshot of key activities that have been completed and that are ongoing.
Whereas previously the plan was published in a document format, with separate sections for State, K-12, and Higher Education, plan contents are now combined into a single, interactive dashboard which displays a “whole of government” view of the three entities. Additionally, the executive summary that follows summarizes the key strategic themes for the State, K-12, and NDUS.
As the new biennium approaches, we face continuous challenges and opportunities in how we leverage technology to serve citizens. From a single mother receiving assistance from state programs while she pursues education or training, to preparing students in rural and urban areas for 21st century jobs, technology has an impact on every North Dakotan. Working collaboratively with businesses and industry, the University System delivers a balance of theory and practical skills to enable students’ success in the workforce. With that, all technology goals support the improvement of the technology landscape across the state by improving efficiencies, business processes and citizen-centric approaches.
As a state, we are pursuing technology solutions that enable more efficient service delivery. Implementing enterprise solutions like the new state website platform, currently with 30 agencies participating, provides a more consistent experience for users and a streamlined, efficient and secure foundation, helping save time and taxpayer dollars. A citizen-centric approach to service delivery includes leveraging available data for a 360-degree view of citizens that will help provide the right services, at the right time. And business intelligence tools like the Main Street Community Dashboard enhance transparency and afford leaders at all levels greater insight for decision making.
In the education space, technology allows us exciting opportunities to prepare our students with foundational skill sets that are valuable for jobs in any industry. We are forging new partnerships to support our K-12 educators as well as our higher education offerings, helping position the state as a leader in computer science and cybersecurity (CCS).
For instance, EduTech, the North Dakota University System, the Department of Public Instruction, Career and Technology Education (CTE), and more than 40 partners are working together to help inspire the next generation of technology professionals. We are actively engaged with industry leaders to expand computer science programming, certifications, degrees, apprenticeships and credentialing, while providing educators with valuable training and classroom resources.
This includes the ND Center for Distance Education and individual colleges working together to create new opportunities for professionals from technical and business fields to teach online, helping to further align the state’s workforce needs with classroom instruction. A new version of Insights.nd.gov also highlights statewide education and workforce data to help parents, students, teachers and administrators understand labor forces and better connect educational opportunities to 21st century workforce needs.
Within the North Dakota University System, the Envision 2030 process identified digitization across all industries as one of three drivers of change that will affect how people live, learn, create knowledge, and do business. The State Board of Higher Education (SBHE) and the NDUS understand this new need and the campuses are teaming together to develop programs in robotics/UAS, digital analytics, and cybersecurity, to name but a few. The SBHE is also committed to pushing campuses to do more via distance education to reach the geographically displaced workforces. Enrollment in online and Interactive Video Network-delivered courses has increased steadily during the past three years, expanding student access to instructional opportunities through non-traditional delivery methods.
NDUS will continue to focus on and support the ongoing operational goals like infrastructure and business systems, while also establishing a strategic direction in IT security, mobility, cloud, and effective use of data.
Across all technology interactions, cybersecurity and the protection of our state’s and citizens’ data remains a critical priority. We continue to work closely with the Legislature to enhance our state’s cybersecurity posture. And by aligning the people, processes and technologies that span our IT enterprises we will be able to better respond and adapt to the evolving threat landscape.
Within the context of Governor Burgum’s five strategic initiatives, and with the strong leadership of the state’s educational leaders, North Dakota has a singular focus on how technology can help students -– and our state -– succeed.
Embracing the technological change that is disrupting virtually every industry provides an opportunity for us to ask ourselves “How might we … ?” and together make an even bigger impact on our state. We look forward to continued collaboration with legislative partners and other stakeholders as we work to Empower People, Improve Lives and Inspire Success.
While the state, K-12, and NDUS share common pursuits in leveraging technology to help better the lives of North Dakotans, each entity also maintains goals that target their distinctive technology domains.
IT goals, strategies, past accomplishments, and future objectives for nearly all Executive Branch agencies, the Judicial Branch, the Legislative Branch, the K-12 Educational System, and the ND University System, are all viewable from one Statewide IT Planning Dashboard.
The dashboard also contains information about major IT projects (those that have budgets of $500,000 and over) that are to have funding requests presented during the 66th Legislative Assembly in 2019. These projects have presented business cases to, and have been ranked by, the State IT Advisory Committee.
“Project Exploration” is a process through which NDIT and agency staff preparing to conduct an IT project review its business case and high level technical concepts so that NDIT can determine:
IT Planning is a process managed by NDIT through which state agencies establish objectives for technology activities that are in line with their strategic goals.
The State Information Technology Advisory Committee (SITAC) has three primary responsibilities, as described in ND Century Code (Chapter 54-59):
The North Dakota Educational Technology Council (ND ETC) is a state board responsible to develop technology systems and coordinate their use to enhance and support the educational opportunities for elementary and secondary education.
The IT Coordinators Council (ITCC) is a subset of all Agency IT Coordinators that advises NDIT on enterprise strategies, standards, and services.