Wednesday, December 22, 2010

DTS Monitoring Service Ensures Reliability

The Utah Department of Technology Services has implemented a new monitoring services that helps DTS proactively respond to system slowdowns or outages.  The service makes extensive use of open source and cloud tools that are capable of monitoring state information systems on a very granular level while also providing high level views that make it possible to spot potential problems very quickly.  DTS has developed service level agreements with every state agency so it is critical to have automated tools such as the new monitoring dashboard to ensure that all of these service levels are met.  The SLAs are built into the dashboard in a way that triggers alerts when service levels are in danger.  The DTS monitoring dashboard is live at

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Utah Agencies Find Ways to Leverage Social Media

Increasingly, state agencies are using social media to interact with Utah citizens and businesses in ways that enhance their mission.  One of the best examples has been the use of Twitter to provide immediate communications during emergencies.  On December 21, 2010, as floods threatened homes and property in Rockville and other southern Utah communities, emergency responders used Twitter to let people know of evacuation orders, endangered areas, even how to evacuate pets and other animals.  The Washington County Sheriff, St. George Police, Utah Division of Homeland Security and others were able to get the word out quickly.  Twitter also provides ways to access updates using SMS on any cell phone, further adding to its utility during emergency situations.  Users can also use other tools like the example of Flipboard on the iPad (example shown above) to aggregate content from Twitter lists based on need and interest.

Agencies are also using other social media tools, including Slideshare, Facebook, and Issue for online publishing, community building, etc. as an increasingly larger share of Utah's population tune into these services on a daily basis for information.  Many Utah agencies have started using weblogs to communicate content that is not easily conveyed in the short 140-character messages allowed on Twitter.

Multimedia content is added to the mix through sites like YouTube.  The State's YouTube site features hundreds of useful videos organized into over 15 separate channels.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Public Meeting Website Features Enhanced Browse, Share Capabilities

Utah's Public Meeting Notice website was recently updated with a new look and functionality.  The website, which was originally released in 2008 and has won a variety of national awards now prominently features the ability to create your own public meeting widget.  With hundreds of state and local agencies using the website, these entities can now feature their own meetings on any website with simple embed code that is provided by the widget.  The site, which is developed and supported through a partnership between the Utah State Archives, the Department of Technology Services and Utah Interactive, also now uses advanced browse functionality which helps the user easily locate meetings by any specific agency at the city, county, or state level.

Utah Releases RFP for Hosted Email Services

The State of Utah has released its RFP for hosted email services.  Following an extensive business analysis, the state determined that it would look at opportunities to update its email and collaboration platform.  For the past 20 years, Utah employees have utilized GroupWise email hosted and managed locally by the state. The RFP requests bids from vendors that will provide additional functionality and be hosted at a vendor-operated facility.  The RFP development process was overseen by a team of members selected by the cabinet.  Details on the bid can be found on the Department of Purchasing website.  Bids are due to the State on January 18, 2011.