Every biennium the technology professionals within North Dakota state government (including technology agencies that support the K-12 educational system), 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.
A single, interactive dashboard displays a “whole of government” view of this information for state agencies, K-12, and Higher Education. Additionally, the executive summary that follows summarizes the key strategic themes for those entities.
In the government sector, we face continual challenges and opportunities in how we leverage technology to serve citizens. As we ready ourselves for the next legislative session, we are faced with new and unique trials brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it has on our state. Even a difficult experience such as this, however, presents opportunities to change the world for the better. It is with this concept in mind that we head into the 2021-2023 biennium.
Many organizational and technological changes that were in process as the pandemic hit have helped us respond quickly and decisively to help protect lives while ensuring the secure delivery of government services. Governor Burgum's aspiration to empower people, improve lives, and inspire success, helps guide state IT as we strive to efficiently empower citizens with trusted information.
The innovation required during emergent response accelerated many existing initiatives and we hope to continue proceeding boldly with an improved government experience, the likes of which we never dreamed possible even a few years ago.
As we move into the next biennium, we will continue to pursue ways to automate more work, increase the security of our data and systems, streamline processes, and deliver world-class outcomes. We will continue to do this by harnessing technology in ways that enable a more transparent, data-driven approach to governance; by rolling out an improved customer success framework; by reinventing digital experiences; by empowering North Dakota to be a national leader in cybersecurity education; and by supporting a “connected anywhere” access to government services and tools for our citizens and staff.
In the modern world, technology is the backbone that supports much of what we do, whether it is improving Main Street, supporting public health, transforming education, improving tribal partnerships, or reinventing government. As North Dakota Information Technology (NDIT) "works as one" with K-12, higher education, legislative partners, and other stakeholders, we will relentlessly move closer to our goal of delivering the most efficient government services in America.
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 continuing to develop and enhance 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, along with individual colleges, collaborating to create new opportunities for technical and business professionals to teach crucial skills to our future workforce online. Additionally, across the state’s educational enterprise, entities are working together to engage in collaborative data-decision making, which includes utilizing the Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) and the Insights.nd.gov dashboard.
Of increasing importance, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, is the ability to provide all learners, regardless of location, access to high-tech, project-based, hands-on learning. Various initiatives across state educational agencies, NDIT, and Higher Education, are expanding and solidifying distance learning capabilities through the implementation of improved educational technologies.
The North Dakota University System (NDUS) has identified six key strategic themes that include enhancements and expansion in academic services, information security, system functionality, service management, and infrastructure. These strategic themes support our efforts to address rapid digitization, enhanced student experiences, flexibility in course delivery, and enhanced information security. There is an ongoing focus on serving the students, faculty, and staff by providing the best possible experience across the entire NDUS enterprise.
A key part of executing initiatives is leveraging appropriate opportunities for collaboration. The continued development of collaborative partnerships with NDUS institutions, NDIT, K-12 and other strategic partners is critical to addressing the needs of the NDUS.
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. 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 our citizens succeed.
Chief Information Officer,
State of ND
Vice Chancellor of IT,
ND University System
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.
Additionally, information about state government major IT projects (those that have budgets of $500,000 and over) that are to have funding requests presented during the 67th Legislative Assembly in 2021 have been ranked by the State IT Advisory Committee.
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.
“Initiative Intake” (formerly called "Project Exploration") is a process through which NDIT and agency staff preparing to conduct an IT project develop and/or review its business case and high level technical concepts so NDIT staff can understand:
The State Information Technology Advisory Committee (SITAC) has three primary responsibilities, as described in ND Century Code (Chapter 54-59):