Written by Keeley Quinlan
Last year, Oklahoma launched a digital government services sector called Service Oklahoma. The division’s mission is to prioritize accessibility and a customer-first approach through its online portal for drivers and car services.
Only eight months after its launch, the new division has already won a national award for developing and implementing a fully digital disability placard application. So how did Oklahoma launch a nationally recognized service portal?
Simplicity of digital services
Service Oklahoma (or SOK) was formed in May 2022 after Governor Kevin Stitt signed HB 3419 into law. This created a new division within Oklahoma Management and Enterprise Services. But SOK chief executive Jay Doyle said the process began about a year before the division and portal became a reality by law.
“Indeed, HB 3419 was the culmination of a year’s effort of citizens, stakeholders at all levels working together to say, ‘Government services need to be better shaped and delivered to citizens. ‘ Doyle told StateScoop.
The state then set to work internally building the SOK startup team. Eventually, it also inherited 85 personnel from the driver’s license service team within the Public Security Bureau. Doyle said digitally streamlining services statewide requires an “omnichannel” approach. This meant that in addition to launching the SOK online portal, the process had to be standardized with face-to-face service and on-call his customer support.
“Our approach has been iterative. I think that’s a good way to put it. I want to talk to them about how it will be easier for them to access the services they actually achieve or provide. can we streamline and then build a pilot that we can iterate over time?” added Doyle.
But the keys to achieving these service revolutions through digital and face-to-face means seemed to have one thing in common. It’s simplicity. And it was only possible through standardization.
“We use a low-code, no-code methodology and have a very standardized reference architecture that we can take time to see if it works for our customers. Then the second thing is, how can we iterate on it before we actually do serious development and actually tie it into the system of record?” said Doyle.
Disability certificate application form
Since its inception, SOK has served across several government services including Driver License Renewal, Change of Address, Interactive Personalized Real ID Document Checklist, Driver License Recovery, and Commercial Driver License Medical Certificate Renewal. Launched six products that use online forms to standardize information entry.
One of these new online services, a fully digitized parking placard application for the disabled, won SOK the 2022 Innovations in State Government award from the National Association of State Chief Administrators in September.
Previously, citizens had to fill out a paper form, mail it in, and wait 20 days or more to receive it, or drive to Tulsa or Oklahoma City to get the placard. SOK uses a “smart” form to allow residents with disabilities to submit their placard application in one of two ways. Directly from your home or through your clinic, your doctor can instantly sign you off and guide you through the process.
“We actually worked with the state medical board and worked with doctors across the state,” Doyle said.
This has reduced waiting times for placards by 80% and reduced the steps required by 60%. SOK is currently exploring ways to extend this standardized approach to other state agencies, so citizens are familiar with the process at all points of their interaction with government.
Digitization of the future
Accessibility is a top priority on SOK’s own public website. In addition to the layout, the website offers many avenues for citizens to leave feedback on the next steps they should take to modernize government services.
This feedback is very important, Doyle said, adding that public comments have already led to some changes. He pointed to interactions with citizens this week who were confused as to why their online driver’s license renewals were denied.
“Whatever it is, we need to do a better job of letting them know why it happened,” Doyle said. , how can we do better?”
Doyle says these issues are a good thing because SOK can fix them quickly and implement solutions across all their products.
“This is the beauty of our methodology using low-code, no-code. It is easy to make changes. It is very cost effective to make changes. No,” says Doyle. “So before we actually invest long-term money into a long-term product, we want to make sure we can really improve the product. We want to make as little technology as possible. .”