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States garner top marks for using mobile to streamline services


Michigan, Missouri and Utah topped publisher e.Republic’s Digital States Survey in their use of digital technologies, including mobile, to serve residents and streamline operations.

Since the last biennial survey by e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government in 2012, grades improved in 21 states, declined in 12 and stayed even in 17. The improvement repays the governments’ investments in mobile and other digital technology during difficult financial times.

“Mobile services are a critical component of the state's overall effort to engage the pubic and Utah's mobile strategy is focused on improving services and engagement with the public,” said David Fletcher, the government of Utah’s chief technology officer. “Hundreds of thousands of Utah citizens each month use the mobile channel to interact with the state. 

“Our mobile strategy, social media strategy, and marketing campaigns are all inter-related and focused on extending our overall reach,” he said. “In 2014, we have averaged over 1.6 million unique visits a month with a state population of 1.6 million.” 

State priorities
The survey evaluated states based on actions supporting state priorities and policies to improve operations or services, financial savings and other metrics. 

Michigan, Missouri and Utah maintained A grades from 2012, while Connecticut, Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia had grades of A-minus. Connecticut, rising from a C to A-minus, and Idaho, from a D to a B, were the most improved states. 

With the rise of the World Wide Web in the 1990s, governments began leveraging the Internet’s power to bring a host of services to taxpayers. With the advent of social media, digital engagement included contests to help agencies design equipment via mobile and citizen chats with high-ranking officials such as President Obama, aimed at helping government to function more smoothly. 

E.Republic, the Folsom, CA-based publisher of Government Technology Magazine, will recognize the states at a Nashville awards ceremony Sept. 28. 

Utah, one of the three top states, has continued to emphasize improvements in core technologies that support the delivery of digital services. 

Utah government's Web site.

State Chief Information Officer Mark VanOrden has overseen an effort to get the most out of state tax dollars by supporting almost 1,100 online services, making it easier for Utah citizens and businesses to interact with government. 

Reliable delivery
Consolidation of state data centers, server virtualization, and enhanced information security have helped ensure the reliable delivery of digital services to Utah businesses and citizens. Many of these services are now available to mobile users as part of the state’s mobile strategy. 

“We use Twitter and Google+ extensively in our marketing due to its adaptability to mobile,” Mr. Fletcher said. “We provide text notifications that interact with Twitter updates. Our primary Google+ channel now has over 200,000 followers. 

“We provide a growing number of mobile services and push responsive design heavily,” he said. “Really, the mobile channel sells itself. It is the future and the present. 

“Our Tourism Office is particularly effective at marketing the state as a destination. Check out VisitUtah.com on your smartphone and you'll see how mobile friendly it is.” 

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York.

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Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.

Related content: Government, Utah, mobile, mobile marketing, mobile commerce, Dave Fletcher, e.Republic

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