Oklahoma central services agency reviews Top Ten moments from 2021
By Christa Helfrey
The Office of Management and Enterprise Services made huge strides in how we deliver services to millions of Oklahomans over the past year. We have made it easier than ever to connect with state government online and in person through streamlined processes, modernized digital resources and reduced red tape to Get Stuff Done. Strategic partnerships lead to major improvements for citizens and state employees, alike, resulting in better experiences and tremendous impacts that are changing the landscape of government in the State of Oklahoma. Keep reading to learn about our Top Ten GSD highlights in 2021.
1. Hosted hundreds of businesses to boost public-private partnerships
OMES initiated and collaborated with all state agencies to host the inaugural State Suppliers Expo. This first-of-its-kind event was designed to bridge communication gaps between the public and private sectors and encourage businesses to take on some of the state’s biggest projects. It streamlined procurement processes and created more supplier options for state agencies seeking to advance services. More than 220 organizations attended the event, resulting in over 60 new state suppliers and countless relationships developed between agencies and service providers. This kind of innovation ensures Oklahoma government can leverage essential private-sector partnerships in providing crucial services for our citizens at the best value possible.
Learn more: Event recap: Inaugural State Suppliers Expo
2. Reached major milestones in the Capitol Restoration Project
After nearly seven years, restoration of the Oklahoma Capitol Building is nearing completion ahead of schedule and under budget. OMES Capital Assets Management and their partners achieved amazing milestones at the people’s house over the past year, including completion of the copper roof, new exterior lighting, restoration of the original stained-glass dome on display in the new Capitol Museum, development of a digital wayfinding system to guide visitors and installation of a new bronze state seal on the ground floor. Work on the House of Representatives and Senate chambers is wrapping up ahead of the legislative session, and the entire project will be complete this spring.
3. Developed the largest disaster recovery process in state history
OMES was nationally recognized for implementing a modern Disaster Recovery project, which transformed the State of Oklahoma’s core IT network, implemented TX1 – a redundant data center in Texas – and deployed a backup process with continuous live replication between to physical locations and cloud services. Partnering with tech giants, Dell Technologies, VMware and NTT DATA Services, OMES finished the entire project in 5 1/2 months. This initiative enhanced network security and reliability and was a crucial solution to ensuring state services will always be available for our citizens, even if the primary data center faces crippling natural or cyber disasters.
The state network was originally designed for employees working on state devices in state office buildings. With nearly 30,000 state employees working from home for the first time during the pandemic, OMES and our partners had to redesign and build the network from scratch to accommodate a remote workforce, transition Oklahoma’s comprehensive digital assets to TX1, and establish a sustainable backup process to protect the state’s most valuable data, including health records, tax information and other confidential materials.
“What we did in a few months usually takes two years,” said Christina Bivins, Dell account executive. “We could not have done that without OMES’ workforce. Oklahoma has become the gold standard for other states looking to improve their disaster recovery process due to COVID-19. Many states have reached out to Dell wanting to replicate the Oklahoma plan.”
Learn more: The power of Technology: OMES, Dell and others secure Oklahoma’s most critical data
4. Modernized state websites to improve experiences
Telework strained out-of-date technologies and processes within state government during the pandemic, challenging both citizens and state agencies at a critical time. With millions of people relying on mobile devices to access crucial state services, like unemployment and health information, OMES partnered with Adobe on a monthslong web modernization project improve user experience across 25 state agencies. Previously, major deficiencies within state websites made it difficult for Oklahomans to get the help they needed because sites varied across agencies; they were not easily updated or weren’t available via cellphone. The web modernization project resulted in a cohesive online platform that could deliver readily accessible and secure services during the pandemic and beyond.
“In the past, sites were not mobile-responsive,” said Amy Blackburn, former OMES director of web and citizen experience. “Now, we are working from a mobile-first mentality because that is where people are accessing information – on their mobile devices. They can do that very easily with state agencies and previously, it was just not even an option.”
Learn more: Oklahoma’s website modernization: State services at your fingertips
5. Empowered employees to harness statewide human resources
OMES is leading the way and collaborating with agency partners to complete the BrightPath project, transitioning the State of Oklahoma to the Workday platform for human capital management. Aimed at unifying and improving the digital human resources experience, the project is a major modernization for thousands of state employees. Workday will consolidate multiple current systems, like PeopleSoft and Learn, and place HR, learning, time-tracking, benefit and retirement information in one place. The BrightPath project began in fall 2020 and is slated to launch this spring.
Learn more at brightpath.ok.gov.
6. Moved state insurance services to the digital frontier
With thousands of public servants across the state now utilizing a telework model, OMES adapted to deliver seamless insurance services for both members and medical providers through a completely digital system. This included developing the first-ever virtual Option Period, the annual enrollment period when current and former employees can make plan elections for the upcoming year. Law enforcement, higher education and state employees can now manage insurance and other benefits for themselves and their families online as part of the state’s commitment to meet members’ needs wherever they are.
In addition to the first virtual Option Period, OMES Employees Group Insurance Division furthered their online presence for HealthChoice insurance plans with the launching of the new HealthChoice website.
Learn more at oklahoma.gov/healthchoice.
7. Leveraged employee feedback to recruit and retain top talent
OMES distributed the third-annual Oklahoma State Employee Engagement Survey, which provides state leadership with critical understanding of the State of Oklahoma government work culture and highlights areas for improvements to deliver our services to Oklahomans in the best possible way.
Over 15,300 state employees – approximately 51% – responded to the 2021 survey, which measures employee motivation, commitment and satisfaction. Results showed our supervisors are our top strength; they treat employees fairly, are willing to listen, and are reliable and accurate sources of information.
OMES ranked Top 2 among large Oklahoma state agencies in engagement, satisfaction and intent to stay, establishing our agency as a top workplace within the State of Oklahoma.
"Once again, OMES staff agree our agency is one of the best places to work within state government,” said OMES Deputy Director Dana Webb. “We continue to enhance our culture and employee engagement because we know that our people are our greatest assets. Over the last year, we were continually recognized for our contributions to partner agencies and state leadership. I know we can continue this momentum in 2022."
Read more: OKSEES report published, culture and engagement improving at OMES
View all results in the 2021 OKSEES Statewide Summary Report.
8. Advanced the state workforce through new learning initiatives
OMES revamped our Statewide Learning Services to level up employees’ professional development options. This initiative offers free and low-cost courses through live webinars, self-paced e-learning and in-person events to suit workforce needs. By providing multiple learning avenues, SLS seeks to meet state employees where they are. Those who opt for in-person training experiences will be able to visit the newly renovated Ron Wilson Training Academy, which features multiple classroom sizes, computer labs and recording studios.
In addition to our team of knowledgeable facilitators, SLS is partnering with LinkedIn Learning and Workday to provide thousands of state employees access to expert-level content and personalized learning pathways that leverage results from the annual Oklahoma State Employee Engagement Survey.
We want our people to have opportunities to grow as leaders, build relationships, cultivate trust and understand diverse perspectives. Investing in these programs helps us encourage stronger teamwork, passionate public servants and better services for all Oklahomans.
Read more: New leadership brings intention to Statewide Learning Services
9. Strengthened cybersecurity intelligence and information sharing
OMES partnered with InnoTech Oklahoma, the region’s largest business, IT and cybersecurity conference, to host the inaugural Oklahoma Information Sharing and Analysis Center Symposium in December 2021. With cyberattacks posing new and heightened threats around the globe, the event sought to create a network of trust with regional companies and cybersecurity professionals to increase security intelligence, mitigate threats and share information between organizations. This will help protect K-12 schools, businesses and even local and state governments.
“We need to work together because the bad guys are working together,” said Chance Grubb, OMES Cyber Command senior staff officer and OK-ISAC lead. “Cultivating cybersecurity awareness and starting that collaboration and conversation with other organizations across the state, it’s moving to that mentality that cybersecurity is a team effort.”
Learn more: Event recap: Inaugural OK-ISAC Symposium
10. Received awards for distinguished projects
Governor’s Continuous Improvement Award:
OMES won the Governor’s Continuous Improvement Award during the 2021 Governor’s “Leading with Hope” Summit for our work on Disaster Recovery, the largest data center project in state history. The DR project provided the state its first true disaster-backup capabilities, moved more than 7,000 servers and 9,000 databases, and was completed on time and under budget.
StateScoop 50 Awards:
OMES Information Services Director of Service Delivery Joe McIntosh won the 2021 State Up and Comer award from the StateScoop 50 Awards, an annual event that honors the nation’s top 50 state government leaders, whose experience, dedication and achievements positively impact their communities and lead to more efficient and effective state services. McIntosh won for his lead on projects such as a new state data platform that enables all agencies to protect and secure shared citizen information. OMES Executive Director Steven Harpe and Oklahoma Chief Information Officer Jerry Moore were also award finalists for the GoldenGov: State Executive of the Year and State Leadership categories, respectively.
FOI Oklahoma Sunshine Award:
OMES received the 2021 Sunshine Award from Freedom of Information Oklahoma for our work in eliminating a backlog of open records requests. Our teams tackled hundreds of requests, dating back several years, to deliver on a promise of transparency to Oklahomans.
Read more: OMES employee wins prestigious award by tackling agency backlog
Excellence in Financial Reporting:
OMES won the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for our annual comprehensive financial report for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2020. The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada presented the award to the State of Oklahoma as the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by government and its management.