Kansas State Leaders Meet Constituent Needs With Mobile App for State Services

The State of Kansas is working to meet residents where they are by delivering services through a single mobile app. Leveraging the power of the cloud, they are able to provide services from multiple departments and enhance the citizen experience.

While taking a long-term view of the state’s tech needs to deliver that kind of service, Kansas Chief Information Technology Officer (CITO) Lee Allen said that feedback made it clear what residents wanted.

“One of the common themes that kept coming up … was the demand from our agency business partners around mobility and applications,” he said at the AWS Public Sector Summit on June 11.

Allen knew that if his department didn’t address the need for a mobile solution, agencies would take their good intentions and pursue disparate, incompatible solutions – only complicating the citizen experience further.

“What we learned working in state government, is when you have that type of demand, if you don’t step up and do something to meet it, the agencies will go find a way to have it met without you,” Allen said. “We want citizens to go to one place to get their mobile application solutions with a common fit and finish and consistency across that,” he added.

Kansas found its solution in a small, new, innovative company – PayIt. But what PayIt lacked in size and history, it made up for with the scalability and capabilities of AWS GovCloud.

“The digital government platform we’ve developed in PayIt … has a common digital identity and digital wallet that allows you to go across all of the services. None of that information is stored on the device – we worked with AWS GovCloud so all of this information sits there. All the identity, payment methods, transactions, and demographics are secure in AWS GovCloud,” said Mike Wons, chief client officer at PayIt.

The scalability of cloud was crucial to Allen and his team. With aged legacy systems and little budget to bring a new application on-premises, a cloud solution was exactly what Kansas was looking for.

“For our solution, we determined that without any existing capabilities for this, we needed to go out and find a vendor who could meet our expectations and bring a vision and strategy on what could be done for mobility. We selected PayIt … and they brought to us a vision for delivering mobile solutions hosted on AWS that would meet our needs and grow with us,” Allen noted.

The PayIt solution also allowed Kansas to put their brand on the solution, leading to the iKan platform. After deciding on a mobile application that can deliver a wide range of services, Allen’s team found some early adopters within partner agencies to expand their services and improve delivery – including the classic headache of the Kansas Division of Vehicles.

“One of biggest things we’ve done is, in October 2018 we launched the first truly mobile application for a driver’s license renewal,” Allen said. “That solution is a chatbot-based solution and very easy for the customer to use … and if they’re able to meet all the qualifications and answer all the questions, they get their driver’s license in the mailbox in two weeks, and they’re good for another six years. That has been a huge win,” he added.

With the scalability of GovCloud, the iKan platform has boomed, handling 660,000 mobile transactions over one year.

“We estimate that we have right at a third of all the available population currently enrolled, so that’s a pretty good penetration and exposure to our citizens,” said Allen.

And the platform didn’t just help Kansas residents with the DMV – it brought a variety of compatible services to citizens, prompting even more usage.

“We linked the ability to buy a park pass as they renewed a vehicle registration, and it drove an additional 35,000 passes. That’s $500,000 in additional revenue created from that alone,” he said.

The benefits don’t stop at the citizen, however. By hosting the services in AWS GovCloud, the iKan platform creates one record for each user across multiple services at multiple departments.

“The services you layer on top are the honey that brings the customers in, but it provides this single identity for the residents of Kansas, which is something that state government struggles to do across the board,” Allen said. “It provides us with a platform for identity management, and we can start to leverage that across other applications and other use cases across state government,” he added.

Wons emphasized that PayIt’s choice of AWS GovCloud was the right decision to ensure security. With AWS GovCloud as the base of the company’s solutions, PayIt can assure customers that their data will remain protected.

“When we can tell them their information is stored in AWS GovCloud and it has the highest level of security you can have, it’s very important to people – and you hear governors talking about it,” said Wons.

The modernization effort helped shift the mindset of the department as a whole, building trust in cloud solutions and opening the door for future projects.

“I talked to my staff, the governor’s office, and the legislature about approaching all of these solutions now in a vendor-first, cloud-first, mobile-first approach,” said Lee.

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