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ITD begins transition to new technology plan

An initiative that will transform ITD’s use and application of technology across the board reached a major milestone recently when Director Dave Ekern announced significant changes in Information Services.

Administrators recognized several years ago the critical need to better coordinate the department’s use of technology. As a result of several internal and independent studies, the department has developed an Information Strategy Plan (ISP) that will elevate technology planning to the level of planning highway construction.

The ISP identifies technology needs and funding requirements/sources and integrates them into a coordinated schedule comparable to the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).

Technology Transition
Planning Team

Sponsors: Larry Falkner, Sue Simmons
Leader: David Fletcher


  • Chris Atwood, Division of Motor Vehicles
  • Sharon Bates, Information Services
  • Liza Fox, Division of Planning
  • Mary Harker, Human Resources
  • Helen Jones, Information Services
  • Rick Jones, Information Services
  • Greg Laragan, Division of Highways
  • Shanah Percy, Human Resources
  • Mark Richardson, Information Services
  • Ken Stewart, Division of Administrative Services

One of the first steps in that transition will be restructuring the shape and responsibilities of Information Services (IS). A less centralized approach, will create new opportunities for IS employees, provide additional training and result in improved service to internal and external clients.

The emerging structure will enable ITD to keep pace with rapidly changing technology and customer expectations, something that is difficult to do within the constraints of the present organizational structure, Ekern explained.

He described the framework for that evolving structure on Feb. 19 to an audience largely consisting of IS personnel at ITD Headquarters in Boise. District engineers were briefed the day before, and board members were apprised of the progress on Feb. 25.

Ekern traced the historical application of technology at ITD during his 90-minute presentation and talked about factors that influenced the decision to reshape it. (To review the director’s PowerPoint presentation go to the following server, directory and file: \\hqisfs01\is\Transformation\is_transform2-18.ppt )

The first tangible step came this week with the formation of a technology transition planning team that will plan the new shape of Information Services. The 10-member team, along with sponsors Sue Simmons and Larry Falkner, will meet for the first time Tuesday to begin developing an implementation strategy. The goal is to begin the transition process on July 1, Simmons said.

David Fletcher, who conducted an Enterprise Data Model study and the Information Strategy Plan several years ago, will lead the team.

Five “driving forces” prompted ITD to look at sweeping changes in its use of technology – the need to:

  • Simplify the delivery of services and information from a customer perspective
  • Manage technology from a statewide and integrated perspective
  • Promote collaborative relationships within ITD, and among state agencies and with local government
  • Establish ongoing relationships with the private sector, and
  • Use “state of the art” procurement practices

Existing policies and procedures do not allow the department the flexibility to adapt to rapidly changing technology, Ekern said. A significant gap exists between the needs of the department, customer expectations and the traditional model.

The new organization will be based on a “distributed delivery through six major systems,” explains Simmons, “with a focus on off-the-shelf software and the outsourcing of development as much as practical.

“Each major system will have a business area that will be responsible for the delivery of the applications necessary to perform the business function. This will involve planning, budgeting and acquiring the applications necessary – all of which will be within the enterprise architecture established at the central information services architecture group.”

The six major business systems will be:

  1. Engineering, under the direction of the highways section,
  2. Administrative and agency support, under Administrative Services,
  3. Planning, under the Divisionn of Planning,
  4. Financial, under Administrative Services,
  5. Operations and Emergency Response, under Highways, and
  6. Government Services, for which both the Division of Motor Vehicles and Administrative Services will have areas of responsibility

Those six business systems were condensed from 24 diverse, and sometimes independent, technology functions that now exist in the department.

A management group will be responsible for monitoring all ITD technology policies and directions. The new structure will include the Information Strategy Plan/Technology Improvement Program, similar in structure to STIP, and will include a systematic approach to funding through the department’s budget council.

In a significant departure from present practices, ITD will look toward commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software and systems, rather than developing its own programs internally. Some IS staff will transition from today’s centralized model to work directly within business systems, such as the Division of Motor Vehicles.

Some of the IS functions will be preserved in three new service groups: Architecture, Technical Services and Network Operations, which will be under the direction of a chief technology officer (CTO), Administrative Services and the Information Management Access Team (IMAT).

“Obviously this is a change in how we operate today,” Simmons said. “There will be several new positions created in the architecture group that will be filled from within. We will hire consultants to train staff and assist in updating and maintaining existing Enterprise Architecture and to establish a process to ensure ongoing support.”

Development and implementation of the department’s new Information Strategy Plan could take several years.