Curtis Shelton | April 4, 2019
Oklahoma’s digital transformation
“Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” While that is still a fantasy, Oklahoma’s Secretary of Digital Transformation and Administration, David Ostrowe, is looking to move Oklahoma state government into the future.
Sec. Ostrowe has predicted he can find the state $1 billion by improving efficiencies and increasing transparency and accountability. A few of those ideas include digital drivers’ licenses and moving paper titles and tags for vehicles to an electronic system. The first of those electronic drivers’ licenses are expected to be made available by May of this year.
Sec. Ostrowe also plans to update how state agencies share information. By integrating agency databases, different parts of government will be able to communicate more efficiently with each other and with the public. His plan is to make it possible for Oklahomans to handle various tasks all online in minutes rather than through face-to-face appointments at different agency offices.
State financial information is also attracting the secretary’s attention. As I have written before, finding out just how much the state spends can be complicated, with a multitude of sources each showing different sets of data. Sec. Ostrowe’s plan is to create a checkbook register for the state where Oklahomans can track every dollar spent. It will also allow government and agency leaders to measure outcomes compared to investment.
OCPA has developed a set of data tools that serves that purpose. These data tools show total state government spending, education spending, and state retirement system data. Currently, they must be updated through open records requests that can take weeks or months. If Oklahoma government was to create its own centralized data portal, that would speed up the process and provide Oklahomans a more in-depth look at different agency operations.
In an age when people can buy a car from a vending machine or see how different couches look in their own living room through virtual reality, it’s high time state government entered the 21st century.
Policy Research Fellow
Curtis Shelton currently serves as a policy research fellow for OCPA with a focus on fiscal policy. Curtis graduated Oklahoma State University in 2016 with a Bachelors of Arts in Finance. Previously, he served as a summer intern at OCPA and spent time as a staff accountant for Sutherland Global Services.