Podcast: Ron Hughes Talks with Bill Maile about EDDNext

Published On: June 27, 2024

Following a panel discussion hosted by TechCA on June 18, EDDNext Project Director Ron Hughes spoke with host Bill Maile for the GovReport podcast. Here are some highlights from the conversation. You can also see a slide deck from the presentation here

Project Scope and Timeline

The EDDNext project is a five-year initiative with a budget of $1.258 billion. Currently, 185 state employees are working on the project, with plans to scale down the workforce after its completion. EDD has completed all major procurements two years into the project except for the upcoming Integrated Claims Management System (ICMS).

It is not a single project but a collection of seven different projects aimed at comprehensive modernization. Among the recent procurements is AWS Connect for the contact center, which is expected to enhance customer service capabilities.

The project is designed with a strong focus on user-centered design. A customer experience group has been formed, and advocacy groups are involved in all major decisions to ensure that the solutions meet public needs. Social media is actively used to communicate with the public about ongoing improvements and to gather feedback.

Pandemic-Induced Challenges

EDD faced unprecedented challenges during the pandemic as claims surged from 58,000 to 1 million per week. This massive increase exposed the limitations of the department’s legacy technology. The legacy claims management system and communication tools were inadequate to handle the surge.  There was a 2,000% increase in calls in one week, which the department struggled to manage.

Integrated Claims Management System

A Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Integrated Claims Management System (ICMS) will be released on August 15. This comprehensive part of EDDNext aims to streamline and modernize the claims process. A systems integrator contract is expected to be awarded by June next year. The draft RFP, released earlier this year, resulted in 18 firms providing feedback that will be reflected in the final solicitation. 

Collaboration and Integration

The project is collaborating with other state departments, including the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). One notable area of cooperation is the potential integration of digital IDs to enhance identity verification processes. EDD currently interfaces with over 200 other departments and entities that interact with various systems.  EDDNext is also working with the Office of Data and Innovation (ODI) to enhance language access by offering services in multiple languages and simplifying public queries, streamlining processes, and responsibly integrating AI to improve service delivery and efficiency.

Some of the significant improvements include the introduction of a new claims intake portal and a new identity-proofing solution that will cover 90% of customers. These advancements aim to make the claims process faster, more efficient, and more user-friendly.

Integration of Generative AI

A key component of EDDNext is the integration of generative AI (Gen AI) solutions to further enhance service delivery and operational efficiency. Gen AI will be used to streamline IT operations, improve the service desk and security operations, and provide advanced data analytics for better decision-making. Importantly, the use of AI will not result in job losses. Instead, it will support employees by handling complex analyses and research, allowing staff to focus on more critical tasks and decision-making processes.

Engaging with the EDDNext Team

The department maintains an open-door policy for vendors and conducts monthly vendor days to facilitate market research and solution demonstrations. They are gathering innovative ideas and technologies that can enhance the project.

Listen to the podcast below:

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