TECH SPOTLIGHT: An Eye on IT
In the summer of 2014, the Louisiana Legislature officially created the Office of Technology Services in an effort to consolidate and streamline information technology services within state agencies, moving them from a federated model of IT service delivery and support to one of shared infrastructure services. Act 712 in 2014 officially tasked OTS with a mission of establishing competitive, cost-effective technology systems and services while acting as the sole centralized customer for the acquisition, billing and record-keeping of those services. Within the first year, the state was able to cut $75 million from its overall expenditures.
HCR 121 (2017 Regular Session): OTS Slashes $1 Billion Backlog
Three years later, the state House of Representatives created HCR 121 during the 2017 Regular Session, which allowed OTS to conduct a risk assessment of the state’s existing mission-critical IT systems in the executive branch. These findings helped OTS to pinpoint and assign status levels to more than $1 billion in outdated or inefficient IT systems. Ultimately, HCR 121 identified 150 legacy systems as operational risks due to aging, outdated technology and/or an inability to maintain continued support. Staff members got to work, making steady improvements. Currently, OTS is poised to have cut $700-plus million, or well over two thirds, from the backlog total.
Growth and Accomplishments
Simply put, OTS’ scope of services has expanded beyond the intentions stipulated during its consolidation in 2014, with its list of accomplishments growing exponentially every year. In 2020, after Hurricane Laura devastated Louisiana’s southwest coast, OTS assisted in creating the nation’s first virtual Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for displaced residents, and did so within just three weeks. Staff members have also played vital roles in modernizing state print and mail services; implementing statewide online bidding, web content filtering, Enterprise Secure Baseline migration and email migration; and becoming the first state to create and activate a digitized version of a legal state-issued driver’s license, called LA Wallet.
OTS continues to break ground with innovative ideas, meaningful and substantial projects and programs, and an exceptional track record. The agency serves numerous state agencies, offices and boards, via either full or partial services, and forges partnerships with public and private entities in order to maintain Louisiana’s position at the forefront of IT capabilities.
Featured in OTS' Tech Spotlight section are just a handful of the agency's endeavors. Stay tuned for even more Tech Spotlight features coming soon.
CAD/RMS for State Police
In August 2019, OTS officially kicked off a project designed to modernize a large amount of State Police processes concerning record-management system as well as computer-aided dispatch system integrations to assist in both critical and day-to-day dispatches involving law enforcement in the field and other functions that automate processes.
Using the capabilities of RMS and CAD, OTS and the Department of Public Safety Office of State Police aimed to establish a complete law enforcement system that will assist dispatchers in making real-time critical decisions for dispatching officers to incidents, emergencies, traffic stops and officer-needed assistance as well as assisting Law Enforcement in making real-time critical decisions during incidents, investigations, emergencies, traffic stops and other events.
Partnered with Mark43, OTS and LSP served to define and provide oversight on the desired outcomes for the system, while Mark43 was responsible for developing, building and implementing the system. Some of the new features include the ability to automate dispatching vehicles for officer safety and public support, as well as providing video capabilities necessary for investigation and emergency events. The venture eliminates antiquated, displaced systems and is nearing full implementation.
LaGOV Enterprise Resource Planning Expansion
The Office of Technology Services Applications and Data Management unit has been working on the ongoing LaGov Enterprise Resource Planning system – a fully integrated system that includes Financials, Logistics, Human Resources/Payroll and Business Intelligence. The system consolidates multiple legacy systems and many agency-specific systems, providing improved transparency and standardized processes.
As of FY 2020-21, all but four departments have been implemented on LaGov. Funding was established to help OTS move forward with expanding the LaGov system to include additional agencies as well as deploy a budgeting module that will represent a significant improvement in the way the state prepares and forecasts Louisiana’s budget. The Budget Development module will be implemented for 12 additional departments in the next budget cycle, or October 2021.
Expansions and Enhancements
- Current: Implementation Date is July 1, 2021 for FY 2021-22
- Division of Administration and related offices
- Department of Health
- Children and Family Services
- 12 departments in progress for the LaGov Budget Development System which will be implemented for the next budget cycle in October 2022
- Next Phase: Implementation date is July 1, 2022 for FY 2022-23
- Treasury Revenue, implementation of Revenue business process for all agencies
- Design and development of Capital Outlay Budgeting component
- Future Enhancements
- Learning Management System
- Performance and Goals
Thanks to OTS, multiple state agencies/entities and numerous vendors, Louisiana now boasts one of the most advanced and progressive Medicaid enrollment systems in the nation. LaMEDS, or the Louisiana Medicaid Eligibility Determination System, replaced the legacy mainframe system, now allowing applicants to key in their information and receive an automated determination of their Medicaid eligibility. LaMEDS was the first system developed on the unified, standards-based Enterprise Architecture platform established by OTS. LaMEDS consists of three portals:
- Self-Service Portal for citizens and business partners to apply for, renew and report changes to Medicaid coverage
- Eligibility Portal for workers to perform Medicaid eligibility and enrollment
- Provider Portal for submission of provider-related forms such as admissions, status changes, newborns and others
LaMEDS is vital to the Louisiana Department of Health to provide Medicaid eligibility status and confirmation to external entities as necessary, allowing enrollees to receive services in a timely manner and ensuring that providers of Medicaid services can bill and receive payment for services performed. Leveraging electronic data sources (e.g., Federal Tax Income Data, Louisiana Workforce Commission, and other State and Federal Interfaces), LaMEDS performs Real-Time eligibility which, when possible, returns an eligibility decision back to the applicant at the time of submission and periodically performs checks for maintaining ongoing eligibility.
The system went live in November 2018, and OTS Project and Portfolio Management staff members continue to add features, including an upcoming robotic process for paper applications.
Louisiana recently became one of the first states to lawfully authorize a digital driver’s license as a legitimate form of identification. As of Dec. 22, 2020, LA Wallet has been considered a legal equivalent to a physical license or identification. OTS played a role in the implementation of LA Wallet, which went live for Apple IoS and Android in the summer of 2018.
Per Louisiana law Act 625 (HB481) of the 2016 session, LA Wallet is now accepted by the Louisiana State Police, Louisiana Office of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATC) and other locations statewide. It is 100% legal for driving purposes as well as all for ATC-approved responsible vendors to accept LA Wallet for real-time age verification-required purchases and deliveries.
If you have questions regarding change of address, name change, citations, registration, handicap tags, or payments on installment plans, please contact the Office of Motor Vehicles directly. You can also find a list of open OMV locations here.
On Aug. 27, 2020, Southwest Louisiana endured Hurricane Laura, one of the strongest hurricanes on record to make landfall in the United States. In response to the need for affected residents to be able to apply for disaster-related Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, OTS helped to create a system that allows for remote identification validation via the LA Wallet app, the Office of Motor Vehicles or the Social Security Administration. The OTS Project and Portfolio Management team created the system, the first of its kind in the nation, in just three weeks, and it went live in September 2021.