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May 2012

Welcome to Oklahoma's eGovernment News Report. We hope you enjoy the monthly report providing you with up-to-date information on Oklahoma's eGovernment achievements.

New Website Serves as Single Source for State IT Information

OKLAHOMA CITY – May 8, 2012 – The State of Oklahoma’s information technology (IT) policies and resources, from web standards to the official IT Modernization Study, are now available on state Chief Information Officer Alex Pettit’s new website (http://www.cio.ok.gov).

In his cabinet-level position, Pettit manages the Information Services Division of the Office of State Finance and is Chief Information Officer for all state agencies.

Pettit manages statewide efforts to procure computer hardware and software and heads up the effort to define a consistent design across approximately 120 state agency websites. The CIO’s new website informs the public and state employees on these matters, and includes the state’s use of social media, as well as current IT solicitations. The site also provides state agency employees with a self-service help desk to resolve less complex technology issues quickly.

“As technology changes at an ever increasing pace, the state’s IT needs continue to evolve and expand,” said Secretary Pettit. “I am pleased that this new site can serve as a complete resource, providing assistance on a day-to-day basis for state agencies while giving the public an overview of the state’s technology laws and future roadmap.”

The new website was built using OK.gov’s GoGov! Web Management Suite, allowing for easy and quick web development and maintenance, while utilizing a standard state agency web template. The CIO website and services result from a partnership between the Office of State Finance and OK.gov. More information about the new site can be found at http://www.cio.ok.gov.

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How States Are Embracing Website Analytics

If 2011 was the year of search-centric websites in state government, then 2012 might be shaping up as the year of website analytics.  

The past few weeks a number of states have launched new versions of their official website, ahead of the annual Best of the Web contest that recognizes excellence among the Web portals of U.S. cities, counties and states. (The contest is run by the Center for Digital Government, which is operated by Government Technology’s parent company, e.Republic.)  

One readily apparent trend this year is that many of the leading governments are pushing out interesting numbers and statistics on their main page — particularly back-end website analytics.  

California’s newly updated CA.gov, for example, has added a new data dashboard that shows the number of visitors to CA.gov sites at the given moment. On a weekday afternoon, that can be as many as 35,000 to 40,000 users. The dashboard also reveals that there are 2.4 million visits monthly from mobile devices to CA.gov, and that 12 percent of all website visits come from a mobile device.  

In fact, California has posted the Google Analytics stats of CA.gov here and done some simple analysis of its 71 million monthly page views. Unsurprisingly, given California’s 11 percent unemployment rate, the most website visits (5 percent) and search queries are going to the state’s Employment Development Department.  

California isn’t the only place where this focus on numbers is happening. The trend may have started last year in Arkansas, where officials launched an “eGov this Week” ticker that shows the number of various e-government transactions — from concealed weapons permits to vanity license plates. Oklahoma, meanwhile, is now doing the same thing with a new “OK Stats” widget that show the number of website visitors from the previous day as well as more granular data — such as the fact that someone recently purchased a camera dock and photo printer from the state’s surplus auction website, or that the last word searched on OK.gov was “capitol.”  

Why are states publishing such detailed information? It’s likely another effort to promote transparency and increase citizen engagement, explained Joseph Morris, the Center for Digital Government’s lead analyst.  

“States are looking to better serve the needs of their citizens by delivering information in a variety of formats including real-time data feeds, local-based services and through social media,” Morris added.  

Many states certainly are using Web metrics to justify choices and pick new e-government projects. The new Utah.gov unveiled on May 1, for example, is using its website analytics to make a growing number of design decisions. Utah CTO Dave Fletcher blogged that that state officials continue to learn from users' activity “and a primary goal has always been to increase the total number of unique visitors to the site.” The aim is to ensure the state website’s content has been seen as many of Utah’s businesses and citizens as possible, he said. “Since 2007, this number has increased by an average of over half a million unique visitors every month.”  

Last year, Utah launched a radically different state portal that made the search bar the central piece of the website’s layout and functionality, delivering results based on the user’s geolocation data. State officials made the switch after finding search was by far the most utilized feature by website visitors, used more than two times as often as anything else. In the 2012 version of Utah.gov, search appears to be even more prominent than it was a year ago. California is now taking a similar search-friendly approach.

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Texans Should Never Have More Convenience Than Oklahomans 

Last Monday, the web developers from the ok.gov organization released a new update to the state’s official website located at ok.gov. Each day hundreds of Oklahomans use this site to interact with state government agencies. The new update reflects the fact that those accessing the site do so from a variety of platforms. The site is optimized for performance on the visitor's device. Whether the visitor is using a phone, tablet or PC, the site responds to the capabilities of the user’s hardware.

The site also prominently features several of the transparency initiatives about which I have written in previous articles. This is especially important because a transparency tool does little good if the taxpayers do not know where to find it. When state government prominently features these tools, it is demonstrating true accountability to the taxpayers who are paying for the government. For the last few years, the development and creation of these transparency initiatives have been a priority of the House government modernization effort. It is rewarding to see such an emphasis being placed on providing citizens access to these initiatives.

For example, one of the rotating leads featured on the ok.gov site provides a link to Oklahoma’s Open Book spending portal where taxpayers may search through individual expenditures of state government. The ability to view individual expenditures is absolutely the right of every citizen. Over the past few years, as technology has made this possible, it has been our goal as legislators to instill this important principle into Oklahoma statute.

Another feature of the site provides access to the data.ok.gov initiatives. The data.ok.gov portal is built on another important principle that state government should not filter the transparency data that is provided to the public, nor should the public be forced to use government created user interfaces to access the data. As long as government controls these interfaces, it can always manipulate the appearance of data. Through the data.ok.gov portal, citizens can obtain raw data feeds and sort and analyze as they see fit without being constrained by the limitations imposed by state government.

I am especially encouraged with the state website’s highlighted focus on the cars.ok.gov component of the state web portal. This is the very well developed and popular web application that allows Oklahomans to renew their vehicle tags online. We initially mandated this feature after making the observation that the state of Texas web portal highlighted this ability. It was not right for Texans to have more convenience than Oklahomans, and during the 2009 session we made made it a priority to pass a law to replicate this feature on our state’s website.

The creation of a responsive web portal and integration with the transparency tools represents the ongoing commitment of state policy leaders and the dedicated state web development team at ok.gov to provide transperancy, openess and convinence to Oklahoma taxpayers.

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What's Inside


arrow grey OK.gov, Oklahoma's Official Website Redesign

arrow grey Oklahoma State Fire Marshal Website

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  How Do I Find Classes on Boat Safety?

 arrow grey Visit the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Boater Safety Search Map 

How Do I Find Low-Cost Ways to Liven Up My Summer in Oklahoma?

 arrow grey Visit the Oklahoma Tourism's Hot Deals Site 


Wednesday, July 4
(Independence Day)

Monday, September 3
(Labor Day)

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June 8 - 10, 2012
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Beau Jennings & The Tigers
June 17, 2012
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Possessed by James
June 23, 2012
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OK.gov is the official website of the state of Oklahoma and a collaborative effort between the Oklahoma Office of State Finance (OSF) and Oklahoma Interactive, LLC to help Oklahoma government entities Web-enable their information services. OSF is responsible for OK.gov. Oklahoma Interactive operates, maintains, and markets OK.gov and is part of eGovernment firm NIC’s (NASDAQ: EGOV) family of companies.

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