Connecticut takes first steps in ‘all-digital government’ initiative
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced Tuesday a series of proposals aimed at reducing redundancies in the state’s procurement processes and making government services increasingly digitized. The initiatives come a few weeks after Lamont’s office issued a budget proposal vowing to make Connecticut the first “all-digital government.”
Several of the proposals Lamont offered Tuesday involve reducing the number of forms businesses seeking contracts with the state government have to complete to bid on projects, and moving more of the solicitation process online through an updated procurement portal. He also said his administration plans to make it easier for residents to conduct government transactions online rather than visiting agency offices or waiting for physical forms sent in the mail.
Not coincidentally, Lamont and Josh Geballe, the commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services, which includes the state IT office, made the announcement at a paper-shredding plant in East Windsor.
“It is too difficult to navigate through our agencies,” Lamont, a former cable-television executive who took office in January, said. “It slows down our employees and our businesses.”
Lamont’s proposed budget for the 2020-21 fiscal years calls for spending $6.3 million on digitization efforts, including moving transactions online and new IT purchases to replace outmoded systems. Going paperless is a particular concern, with the budget proposal claiming that less than 5 percent of the more than 2,000 types of forms the state government uses can be processed online.
Lamont and Geballe also raised two potentially significant changes to the IT procurement process. First, Connecticut will align its definitions of small businesses with the federal government’s to help small companies avoid a separate certification process to compete for state business. They also proposed consolidating enterprise software purchases, instead of leaving every agency to procure their own solutions, which Lamont’s office says results in higher IT costs and less frequent security upgrades.
In announcing their digitization agenda, Lamont and Geballe also endorsed a bill currently making its way through the Connecticut General Assembly that would reduce the number of forms businesses seeking state contracts need to fill out from an average of seven to just one. Lamont’s office estimates that would reduce the number of forms filed yearly by 90,000.
Lamont’s IT agenda so far, though, has not strayed too far from that of his Democratic predecessor, Dan Malloy. The governor reappointed Mark Raymond as the state’s chief information officer to oversee his vision of building a “one-stop-shop” for Connecticut residents and businesses to interact with the state government online, as Lamont described it during his State of the State address in January.