Technology innovation awards focus on government initiatives

The ACT-IAC recently gave out technology innovation awards to government programs using IT to improve services and automate paper-based operations.

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The American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council (ACT-IAC) held its Excellence.gov Awards ceremony on March 13 in Washington, D.C., handing out technology innovation awards to government agencies for projects that improved services, enhanced operations and provided increased transparency. The ACT-IAC recognized 30 finalists and six winners for their projects.

"As we looked at all of the projects, there were several things that we found. One was [that] there were similar themes that I think are important for all of us to remember, going forward," said U.S. Department of Defense CIO Teresa M. Takai during her keynote address. "First of all, it's really about innovation and the innovation concept, but it's also about innovation that makes a difference."

It's really about innovation and the innovation concept, but it's also about innovation that makes a difference.

This year marked the 12th annual Excellence.gov Awards. A panel of senior government and industry IT executives reviewed more than 100 nominations before narrowing the field down to the winning projects.

The Integrated Logistics Management System (ILMS) of the U.S. Department of State was recognized for excellence in enterprise efficiencies, and deemed the overall winner. The ILMS moved the State Department from being a largely paper-based organization to one using an electronic supply chain to procure, store, ship, track and trace supplies and personal effects all over the world.

"State is a fairly paper-intensive organization, [with] embassies and consulates all over the world," said Amy E. Tener, senior director of health and public service at Accenture PLC, which worked with the State Department on developing the system. "If one were to be taken over or attacked, having a bunch of paper there isn't ideal. So, centralizing the data back here in D.C. was both more efficient and much more secure."

The award for excellence in intergovernmental collaboration was given to the Washington, D.C., Criminal Justice Coordinating Council's Case Initiation Project (CIP). That project automated the way criminal information is passed along, from the time an arrest is made through prosecutorial action to case filing.

The project was "a complete team effort," with eight partner agencies participating in its completion, said Mannone A. Butler, the council's executive director. "We had approximately 3,000 arrests annually and 2,200 case filings," she said. "Now we are able to move forward and automate this process. We are extremely pleased with being able to electronically exchange information."

The collaborative aspects of these intergovernmental projects are very rewarding, said Mary Dixon, director of the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC), which was recognized for excellence in the workforce for its centralized milConnect Web application. MilConnect gives military service members and families access to their profile information, health care enrollments, benefits and other military-related topics. The Veterans Administration worked closely with the DMDC to develop the application.

"It's been a real collaborative effort between the two agencies -- it really helps to take care of all the people who take care of us," Dixon said. "They can keep their information current, so we always have the correct information about them in our database."

The Excellence.gov Award winners show how service-enhancing innovation can arise from collaboration between government and the IT industry, event organizers said. It's important to recognize these organizations for their efforts to improve services and efficiency, they added.

"Throughout state governments and federal governments, there are very few opportunities to highlight those that are inspiring us to feature them and the reason why they are the change agents," said Don Johnson, advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and member of the Excellence.gov steering committee. "They are the future in terms of innovations happening across state governments, across county governments, as well as major federal governments."

Let us know what you think about the story; email Ben Cole, Associate Editor.

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