Reinvention at work: Unified approach to online platforms helps avoid more than $1 million in cost

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Standardized website platform, digital asset management system will improve citizen experience, help promote North Dakota

BISMARCK, N.D. (NOV. 6, 2019) – Gov. Doug Burgum today unveiled two reinvention success stories that highlight the administration’s shared values of Working as One and Citizen Focused: the continued expansion of a standardized state website platform and the planned deployment of a statewide photo and video digital asset management system.

“North Dakota citizens deserve a consistent, user-friendly experience when interacting online with state government, and these improvements deliver on those expectations while also saving taxpayer dollars,” Burgum said. “We’re deeply grateful to our Team ND members for embracing the challenge to reinvent government and pursue new, more efficient ways of providing services to empower people, improve lives and inspire success.”

The website platform, a project launched in 2017 that is part of a broader Citizen Experience Strategy, involves an enterprise approach to managing state websites by providing a standard, consistent backend technology for staff and user interface for citizens. Currently, 45 sites are on the platform with more expected in 2020. The program has resulted in more than $1 million in cost avoidance to date and includes substantial savings in staff hours spent procuring, maintaining and securing individual sites. Additional benefits include:

  • A consistent look and feel that elevates the state’s “Be Legendary” brand and holistic efforts to present North Dakota’s unique assets and attributes to help attract and retain new visitors, workers and businesses.
  • The knowledge sharing and smaller learning curve associated with a standard platform, fostering a level of collaboration and partnership that creates efficiencies across agencies.
  • Standard security features including routine patches that elevate the agencies’ security posture, a priority for the state.

Citizen Experience Program Manager Cliff Heyne said, “This platform makes the state a leader when it comes to websites and is a key part of our broader strategy to provide a consistent, high quality experience across the state’s online presence.”

The effort continues to grow as agencies see the value in a standard approach to web development, maintenance, security and the user interface. Additionally, smaller agencies are benefiting from a robust platform they could not afford had they paid for development individually. The platform allows agencies to follow a simple roadmap for refreshing sites, whether they are two years old or more than a decade old, and all agencies benefit from a streamlined, consistent approach.

The second program reflects a similar unified approach to a statewide digital asset management system. Prior to the new system, individual agencies were responsible for procurement and management of systems that house North Dakota-centric photo, video and audio assets used for marketing, website development and related communications purposes.

The new system, www.medialibrary.nd.gov, consolidates disparate files that were largely siloed and only available to staff in individual agencies. Now those assets can be easily shared across Team ND and with the public – helping promote our state, culture and economy and elevate the Be Legendary brand with a strong, consistent state image. The public will now have access to thousands of North Dakota images, royalty-free, to use however they wish. This tool can also be leveraged by nonprofits.

“The cross-agency team members who worked together to initiate, develop and deploy this cloud-based tool are leading the state’s approach to a more unified and holistic digital presence,” said North Dakota Chief Reinvention Officer Kevin Parker. “Our team has a wealth of ideas for improving service delivery, and this specific example alone will save a projected $250,000 over the next five years.”

“Working as a unified team, state agencies are more equipped to deliver a consistent and concise message about our state," North Dakota Department of Commerce Commissioner Michelle Kommer said. “These efforts to streamline processes and systems will allow us to create a more welcoming and user-friendly experience for our residents and those interested in becoming residents.”

By evolving into a self-service platform, the more dynamic, user-friendly system will also create tremendous efficiencies internally by eliminating the need to manage internal or external image requests via email. State team members and the public can also upload their own images, providing an innovative crowdsourcing approach that enables stronger community engagement.

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