Office of Digital Innovation: Let’s Improve How the State Buys Digital Services

Published On: October 21, 2021

In the statute that established California’s Office of Digital Innovation (ODI), one of the primary goals stated was to “deliver better government services to the people of California through technology and design.”

A recent blog post by Anne Neville-Bonilla and Angie Quirarte titled “Procurement as a lever for better government services” explains how ODI is achieving that mission through procurement, the process of soliciting digital services from the state’s vendor partners. 

One might think that digital innovation is a mission driven primarily by data analysis, but according to the blog post, ODI conducts rigorous qualitative research to supplement their quantitative efforts. 

“Our team has interviewed dozens of buyers in state departments, and small businesses contracting with the state or wish to do so,” the post reads. “We’ve engaged in stakeholder discussions with groups like the Minority-Owned Small Business Procurement Task Force, incorporating a diverse range of experiences and backgrounds in our research.”

Additionally, ODI is prioritizing digital payment support, as highlighted in the Governor’s 2021-2022 budget proposal. 

“GovOps, CDT, ODI, and DGS will begin the next steps in modernizing and improving the way in which individuals engage with state government. Significant projects include . . . Accepting credit card payments at all public-facing state departments,” the proposed budget reads. 

According to the blog post, ODI is working with the California Integrated Travel Project at the Department of Transportation to “[develop] ideas to make it easier for state departments to accept digital payments.”

Finally, ODI is always seeking to improve the procurement process, working on “identifying how we can better buy services within our own department.” This includes seeking out feedback from vendors and partnering with DGS, CDT, and GovOps in hopes of improving the process. 

About the Author: Will Keys

Will Keys writes about technology issues for the GovReport. He is a graduate of the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. He can be reached at will at govreport.org