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Strategy 3.1 – Expand and Enhance Access to Agency Services 

State agencies have accomplished many successful IT initiatives during this past biennium. Selected agency projects are highlighted below for the categories of Multi-Channel Access and Rural Broadband Expansion

Agency Spotlights: Multi-Channel Access

Agency

Initiative

Department of Information Resources

DIR developed a social media policy for its agency use with an aim of addressing all statutory requirements regarding official state data residing on a website. The areas covered are

  • Accessibility
  • Records Retention
  • Security
  • Privacy
  • Terms of Use
  • Public Information Requests
  • Monitoring and Moderation

Texas Department of State Health Services 

DSHS implemented a Web Content Management System (WCMS) in August 2010. The New WCMS includes Web 2.0 functionality and the ability to serve content to mobile devices (cell phones, etc.). The WCMS project will facilitate access to agency information by providing an accessibility-compliant single online interface to the three major categories of user needs:

  • Information/Communication: announcements, data/statistics, educational materials, licensing info, etc.
  • Tools: forms, manuals, directories, training, research support, etc.
  • Services: online ordering (publications, birth and death certificates), licenses, volunteer registration, etc.  

General Land Office 

GLO is working on a complete re-architecture of its internal and public websites. The upgrades will provide a superior user experience through

  • Improved user interfaces and easier navigation
  • Extensive use of multimedia content
  • Improved online tools and services
  • Enhanced search capabilities

The GLO is also in the process of implementing robust online portals targeted toward specific business functions, such as oil and gas production and surface leasing and permitting. These portals will be implemented with emerging technologies and will provide business services that promote citizen engagement and improve data quality and business efficiency for customers and GLO staff.

Office of the Attorney General 

OAG redesigned its website and made it easier to navigate and search agency information, including many multimedia options to follow agency news and decisions on major issues that affect Texans. The OAG is currently implementing technology initiatives to enhance self-service options through an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, website, and portals. OAG's goal is to improve the organization and layout of websites to provide easier access to customers, other state and federal agencies, advocacy groups, and the general public.  

Office of the Comptroller of Public Accounts 

CPA utilizes GoToWebinar, a webconferencing service, within its Franchise Tax Policy section to deliver educational briefings to taxpayers and practitioners. The CPA

  • conducted four 3-hour webinars and twelve 1-hour webinars for 6,714 participants in fiscal 2008
  • conducted three webinars related to the 2009 tax year, with 1,835 people attending in fiscal 2009
  • conducted four 1-hour webinars reaching 2,413 participants in fiscal 2010

Secretary of State 

The SOS web development team focuses heavily on accessibility and usability of the agency website content. The agency Internet website was redesigned to create a better user experience for our customers. The agency has made tools available to the public to identify if a person is registered to vote as well as to find election polling places. The agency has recently redesigned the voter information website and is investigating adding mobile applications for several website functions. The agency has a Twitter presence as well as making RSS feeds and podcasts available. 

Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs 

In fiscal 2009, TDHCA redesigned its website by enhancing the Help for Texans feature which allows customers to easily search for information related to rent help, utility bill help, weatherization, homebuyer education, emergency and homeless services, home repair, and manufactured housing. New pages were designed to support developers and builders, and communities and nonprofits. 

Texas Education Agency

TEA joined with the Governor’s Office to launch Texas Education on iTunes U, which provides free multimedia content to educators, students, and parents in Texas and around the world. iTunes U will allow teachers to access professional development and support materials, while giving students access to information to help with understanding concepts or conducting additional research on a subject area. Additionally, iTunes U will serve as a venue for state agencies and nonprofit organizations to post their educational content.  

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

TPWD’s current and planned expansion of services relating to the Internet and e-Commerce would increase availability and accessibility of information, as well as expand and improve e-commerce applications.

The agency has launched a new site to improve information sharing for state parks. Texasstateparks.gov provides instructional videos, images of nature, and innovative applications to engage the citizens of Texas to enjoy our cultural and natural resources.

The Texas Wildlife Information Management Services (TWIMS) program is a suite of applications that provide secure, centralized systems that integrate data maintained by the Wildlife Division. These web-based applications provide several benefits to agency staff and constituents.

The Resource Information System (RIS) provides several applications that allow citizens to use web-based mapping tools to enter species sighting locations and observation details of those sightings. These initiatives encourage the public to interact with and provide data to TPWD.

The High School Water Education Program provides an educational program for Texas students through the web. This project will provide students and teachers with information and educational resources for Texas water resources and water conservation. It will provide resources to citizens anytime, anywhere.

Texas Workforce Commission

TWC deployed Texas Work Prep, a complete learning management system offering anytime-anywhere access to three online courses: Your Next Job, designed to assist laid off workers reinvigorate their job search skills; the Texas Job Hunters Guide, a complete resource to finding a new job; and Succeed At Work, which teaches skills and tips for being successful on the job.  

Texas Water Development Board 

TWDB will develop a web-based Public Comment Form for Intended Use Plans (IUP). This project includes the development of a web-based public comment form for Clean Water & Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF & DWSRF) Intended Use Plans. It creates a web-based form to solicit suggestions, revisions, corrections, deletions, additions, criticisms, and questions during the 30-day public comment period on draft IUPs of the CWSRF and DWSRF. This comment form will provide the public with an additional avenue to make comments on annual draft IUPs. Customers are increasingly interested in utilizing electronic communication instead of sending letters, making phone calls, or traveling to attend the public hearing. 

University of Houston 

Expand and enhance access to agency services: UH continues to expand the use of PeopleSoft Student Academic and Administration applications, enabling student on-line self-service to register and pay tuition, parking and other fees; apply for and receive financial aid; access course prerequisites and many other services.

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Agency Spotlights: Rural Broadband Expansion

Agency

Initiative

Department of Information Resources

In support of the Texas Broadband mapping project, DIR and other state agencies provide staff support and data to be applied to Texas’ in-kind match required by the State Broadband Data and Development program. DIR is providing Tex-AN data on state agency locations throughout the state with the type of connectivity provided, along with existing Geographic Information System (GIS) data.

Texas A&M University

The Texas Pipes Project, coordinated by Texas A&M University, will provide broadband access to the 11 A&M System universities, Texas A&M Health Science Center, and communities served by the A&M System. In addition to serving higher education, the project will partner with five Texas rural telephone and cable television systems, the City of Corpus Christi, and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). Through the Texas Pipes Project, the City of Corpus Christi will connect community centers, libraries, and public safety facilities. The enhanced network will allow A&M campus police departments to communicate with DPS through Internet-based radio gateways.

Texas Council of Governments

In coordination with the Texas Department of Agriculture Broadband Coordinator and the Texas Broadband Task Force, Connected Texas will work with Texas Council of Governments to establish 29 local technology planning teams to establish benchmarks, goals, and a strategic plan to identify and resolve impediments to broadband growth and adoption.

Texas Department of Agriculture

At the direction of the Governor, TDA coordinates broadband activities related to the Broadband Data Improvement Act of 2008 and Broadband Programs in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. To assist Texas with efforts to make broadband available throughout the state, TDA created the Texas Broadband Task Force; made up of private-sector stakeholders, representatives of the Governor’s office, Texas Legislature, Public Utility Commission, state agencies, and state and local associations.

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    © Department of Information Resources 2012