Survey: Hawaii residents strongly support state IT modernization


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Results are in and Hawaii residents have given a big thumbs up to the state’s information technology transformation.

In a statewide poll conducted by the OmniTrak Group, 75 percent of Hawaii residents said they support the idea of investing state funds to modernize business processes and technology within the state’s government.

“By streamlining processes and investing in the right technology, residents on every island can have equal access to state services and government will be more transparent and accountable,” said Michael Dahilig, member of the Transform Hawaii Government steering committee. “These findings show that citizens understand the need for investing to rebuild the foundation of state government.”

Led by Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Chief Information Officer Sonny Bhagowalia, Hawaii has taken an aggressive approach to fixing the state’s once-outdated information technology infrastructure.

Bhagowalia, a respected CIO in the federal government for a number of years, was lured to the islands nearly three years ago by Abercrombie to lead a massive consolidation project supported by more than $100 million in funding from the state legislature.

With that money, Bhagowalia has been busy turning Hawaii into a more modern IT environment, on par – or exceeding – other states around the nation.

Survey participants were first asked if they had heard of a “major state government project to upgrade and transform its technology and business processes to better serve residents.” Eighty-two percent of respondents indicated they were either unaware or didn’t know such a project is taking place.

Participants were read a short explanation of the state’s current reliance on outdated technology and of plans to bring government into the modern era. When asked if they would support investing state funds in such an initiative, 75 percent of respondents voiced support, 14 percent expressed opposition and 10 percent didn’t know or declined to answer.

“It is not surprising that nearly four out of five individuals polled did not know of the state’s efforts to improve the way it provides services,” said Bob Harrison, member of the Transform Hawaii Government steering committee. “That is why the Transform Hawaii Government coalition has come together – to inform people that this is actually happening, solicit their input on changes they’d like to see, and hold the state accountable for making progress.”

Those who voiced support for the investment cited the following reasons

• Government will improve (25 percent)
• Investment is important and long overdue (23 percent)
• Hawaii is out of date and needs to modernize (22 percent)
• This will benefit citizens and the state (16 percent)
• Potential cost savings (10 percent)

Not surprisingly, those who oppose the investment are concerned about the cost (16 percent of those who oppose the investment); do not feel it is needed or will result in any improvements to the state (15 percent of those in opposition); or feel there are other more important issues to address (12 percent of those opposed).

The OmniTrak poll was conducted Dec. 3-23, 2013 and involved landline and cell phone interviews among a random sample of 700 adult residents statewide, with results weighted to key demographic characteristics based on current 2010 Census data. The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

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Hawaii, States