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State of Oklahoma: Using data to deliver services where communities need them most

About State of Oklahoma

The Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) provides the state of Oklahoma with a broad range of services that directly impact state citizens, including finance, human resources, property management, and business expertise. As the central provider of technology services, OMES maintains the statewide network of vital systems used for schools, hospitals, emergency services, and more.

Industries: Government & Public Sector
Location: United States

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To deliver targeted services to communities faster, the state of Oklahoma is creating a secure, well-defined governance model to develop a 360-degree view of assets, financials, and citizens.

Google Cloud results

  • Unified 23 petabytes of data across sources and agencies
  • Anticipated reduction in query times from months to minutes
  • Enhanced security, standardization, and privacy for all agency data
  • Potential to roll out targeted social programs faster and better in order to serve specific needs of the population
  • Will create personalized experiences that direct citizens to the right services

Turning insights into action for agencies and citizens

Delivering insights that state agencies can act on to better serve citizens

Leaders for the state of Oklahoma have a vision for making it easier for state agencies, affiliates, and municipalities to identify and implement services where and when they’re needed to help improve the quality of life for all state citizens.

Achieving this vision requires making more information available to more state agencies. Each agency has its own repository of data that represents valuable potential insights if other agencies can cross-reference it.

To help state leaders act on their vision for better citizen insights, Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) is creating a centralized data hub that can access and analyze data across agencies, with tight protocols around security, privacy, and transparency. With this centralized view, agencies have more information to work with so that they can more precisely—and more quickly—identify potential needs and services.

For example, the Oklahoma State Department of Education (SDE) could analyze multiple data sources to ensure students in need are receiving vital resources, such as funding for school lunches. If an unexpected event, such as a natural disaster, prevents students from being able to attend school, those who rely on funded lunches might not be getting the nourishment they need at home. Because the solution can provide more up-to-date data in an automated way, the Oklahoma SDE could more easily identify and locate these students to help their guardians receive lunch funding and keep their pantries full.

The state could also potentially analyze agency data to mobilize faster on critical—and sudden—public health needs, such as COVID-19 testing and contact tracing at scale.

“The sharing of information across agencies can allow a level of collaboration we’ve not experienced before…What I’d like to see is the agencies start to adopt new ways of thinking about how to interact with that information. Having data analysts with modern skills and modern capabilities can help them understand how to use that information the best way for that agency. And so I think all of those things can help drive us to be a top-10 state,” says Joe McIntosh.

“Google Cloud was a great strategic partner to us at a time when we needed to quickly turn around critical projects like contact tracing and COVID-19 testing. And for a whole host of the services that we spun out across the state, Google was right there. I think they have what we would consider to be world-class strategy and technology when it comes to data. We did evaluate a number of different vendors. We ultimately landed on Google Cloud because of those reasons.”

Joe McIntosh, Director of Service Delivery, OMES

A central, secure place for sharing information

OMES is working with Google Cloud to bring their 360-degree data vision to life. As a starting point, the team needs to free agency data from the individual systems where it’s housed, sometimes in the warehouses of third-party vendors. And since each data source is stored separately, a central place is needed where it can be processed, analyzed, and reported on.

The team developed a hub-and-spoke model that will pull in data from individual sources, or spokes, to be processed and analyzed in one central space, or hub. Agencies across the state can opt in to share their data in a secure, controlled way, while also speeding up their analysis capabilities. So far, six agencies have opted in to the program. And with the vast scalability of Google Cloud, the program has plenty of room to grow and accommodate all agencies that want to participate. As the central provider of IT services to state agencies, OMES will manage the hub on Google Cloud via a well-defined data governance model. Once the hub is established, agencies only need to sign up for Google Cloud to make their data available and access information from other agencies that have also opted in to the program.

"I think it’s important to note that we chose Google Cloud because it's one of the most secure platforms on the planet... We’re actually adding security."

Joe McIntosh, Director of Service Delivery, OMES

Unifying a fragmented information landscape

One particular challenge that the team is addressing is establishing a way to standardize a huge diversity of data types and formats to allow a fluid sharing environment.

Many agencies can’t easily access their own data, let alone make it available to other agencies. A single query can take months to resolve, which limits the ability of agencies to identify needed actions quickly.

To free up data from agencies that want to be part of the program, the team built a data warehouse on Google Cloud for each individual agency, which will allow them to continue ownership and oversight of their data and adhere to their particular required standards. This governance model will provide a more flexible way for agencies across the state government to collaborate.

“Our next big goal is to have the agencies be able to work together on personalization, so that each agency isn’t trying to provide the best services to citizens in a vacuum. Instead, we’ll have the agencies talk together to provide that personalization,” says Kyle Whipple.

“As a partner, Google is not just solving one problem. We have an entire data platform, an entire data strategy where we can onboard agency after agency quickly and efficiently. We are thinking of the challenge holistically with all of the agencies connected, not just solving an individual problem as it comes up with each of the agencies.”

Kyle Whipple, Director of Data Services, OMES

Transforming data without disrupting operations

The openness and flexibility of Google Cloud lets the team incorporate multiple levels of oversight and compliance to fulfill existing data-sharing agreements, while also cutting query times from months to minutes. And because Google Cloud is built to open standards, it can easily accommodate existing systems, letting agencies use the processes and tools they’re already familiar with.

Operational dashboards create an easy connection between the agency data warehouses and the main data hub. Once the data is ingested into the main hub, it can be aggregated with data from other agencies into one pool that can be analyzed and viewed in multiple ways to surface actionable insights.

“What I like about what we’ve done is we are enabling the agencies to leverage the infrastructure that’s already in place. We’re simply giving them the mechanism to share information more quickly, but they can use their data sharing agreements and other processes that are already in place the same way they have in the past,” says Joe McIntosh.

Security and compliance built-in

With data sitting in different places and adhering to individual standards, ensuring security across systems is a central priority for the state. Standardizing data governance into a single platform on Google Cloud simplifies management, while also boosting security. Now, state officials can manage all the data in the hub to the same standards and apply compliance where it’s needed, while also ensuring that agencies maintain ownership of their own data.

“I think it’s important to note that we chose Google Cloud because it’s one of the most secure platforms on the planet. And so, as you think historically about that, 23 terabytes of data were residing in places that are probably not going to be as secure as where we’re putting them to align with our data strategy. We’re actually adding security,” says Joe McIntosh.

Now that the project has begun, the OMES team sees tremendous opportunities to serve citizens in new and innovative ways—and ultimately improve their lives. Access to more and better managed data leads to better insights, so as more state agencies sign on to participate in the program, the quality of output will only increase. And with their data centrally managed with standardized protocols, agencies can save time and resources while gaining security and more effective analysis tools.

The project is only in its infancy, and the OMES team aims to double the number of participants within the next year, with plans to ramp up all 189 agencies within the next few years. It’s an ambitious goal, but one that ultimately strives to bring state services closer to recipients and improve the quality of life for Oklahomans.

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About State of Oklahoma

The Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) provides the state of Oklahoma with a broad range of services that directly impact state citizens, including finance, human resources, property management, and business expertise. As the central provider of technology services, OMES maintains the statewide network of vital systems used for schools, hospitals, emergency services, and more.

Industries: Government & Public Sector
Location: United States