AWS Public Sector Blog

Idaho Controller modernizes back-office operations using AWS

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When considering the migration of your legacy applications to a secure, multi-tenant cloud solution, consider the wise words of Albert Einstein, “We cannot solve problems with the kind of thinking we employed when we came up with them.” Translation: Solving the problems of yesterday will not prepare your organization to thrive in the face of future challenges. You must look beyond what legacy applications were designed to do decades ago to see the solutions of tomorrow.

Deputy Controller for the State of Idaho Josh Whitworth, who leads the state’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) modernization efforts, agrees. “When you spread technology over 90 different agencies with 90 different business needs, it creates a bunch of information silos that keep you from operating efficiently. You don’t get the information you need to make decisions, and your costs increase on the systems you’re supporting. We knew we couldn’t build the future on that model. We wanted to modernize in a way that would give us the ability to meet our current needs and respond to the future needs of the state.”

This blog post highlights how Idaho used Amazon Web Services (AWS) to modernize its ERP.

Digital transformation of back-office operations

Modernizing at any level of government requires vision and a long-term strategy. When seeking a cloud-based ERP solution, security is paramount. Transparency is critical because the solution you choose will serve as the single source of truth for dozens of other agencies. That’s a key reason Idaho named its ERP modernization effort Project LUMA, which transformed the state’s back-office infrastructure and related processes, laying the foundation for the state to securely and flexibly innovate to meet its business needs.

The four key modernization objectives for Project LUMA are:

  • Data security – Modernizing will provide the industry best standard security for all state financial and personally identifiable information (PII) data while eliminating outdated software and the risk of duplication of data.
  • Increase transparency – Modernizing will illuminate government operations and expenses by providing a single source of truth for citizens and government leaders.
  • Eliminate redundancy – Modernizing will reduce costs by eliminating redundant systems, duplicate entries, and unnecessary complexity.
  • Standardize – Modernizing will increase the ability to automate business processes and workflows and more uniformly train employees.

ERP on AWS is secure

With the continual rise in security and data breaches, on-premises legacy applications or migrating to a less secure cloud solution is an unnecessary risk. Be careful to understand the security available in a multi-tenant cloud.

“AWS is vigilant about security,” said Tami Fillyaw, AWS finance and administration leader for state and local government. Fillyaw adds that AWS is architected for government security requirements, including PCI-DSS, HIPAA/HITECH, FedRAMP, GDPR, FIPS 140-2, NIST 800-171, and IRS 1075. “Other benefits to the AWS Cloud include always current and compliant infrastructure, automatic backups and disaster recovery, and audit trails.”

“Always current means there is a continual focus on security, redundancy, resiliency, and modern capabilities,” said Bob St. Ledger, director of public sector strategy at Infor, the ERP vendor who provided the CloudSuite Public Sector platform for Project LUMA and co-development embedded capabilities with the state. “Don’t get trapped on a legacy platform that goes years without updates and exposes your organization to security issues.”

Improving project success

Ensuring project success takes a commitment from the top and an engaged, experienced team.

Key questions to consider include:

  1. Is your executive team committed to the modernization effort?
  2. Have you identified your stakeholders?
  3. Can those stakeholders dedicate team members to provide input and support for the project?

Although it may seem simple, ensuring your executives are behind your project and designated team members are actively participating in governance committees is critical.

“To ensure success in Idaho, we focused on building a foundation that allows for future growth and adaptability and aligned state leadership that changing our processes is the best way to ensure resiliency and adaptability required to meet the future needs of our organization, employees, and citizens,” said Whitworth. Including state leadership as part of the team from the up-front planning through implementation ensures alignment in making the change.

Whitworth said project success also depends on standardizing business practices to avoid costly customization. “Don’t just redo what has been done for decades,” he said. “Reevaluate and be bold in action to build what the future workforce demands.”

Discover how government agencies across the country use AWS to better serve constituents at the AWS Cloud for State and Local Governments hub.

Read more about AWS for state and local government:

Bob St. Ledger

Bob St. Ledger

Bob is senior strategy director for Infor Public Sector and focuses on designing and enabling secure, multi-tenant cloud-first solutions across the public sector. He has worked for a number of large and small business application and technology firms including Oracle, EDS, International Telesystems Corporation, EIS International, and Versatility. Over the course of 25 years in the technology industry, Bob has held a variety of roles in product management and development, solution marketing, and program management.

Joshua Whitworth

Joshua Whitworth

Joshua is the chief deputy controller for state of Idaho. He manages the controller office’s constitutional duties of statewide payroll and accounting, as well as its computer service center and other administrative functions. Joshua and his team currently lead the state controller’s efforts to modernize Idaho's three decades-old business information infrastructure into a modern consolidated cloud-based solution. They are also pursuing efforts to increase the transparency of Idaho's finances across all political subdivisions for its residents.

Tami Fillyaw

Tami Fillyaw

Tami is the finance and administration (F&A) leader at Amazon Web Services (AWS). She helps state and local government agencies leverage the cloud to improve business operations, financial performance, and customer interactions. Prior to AWS, Tami served 22 years in Florida government leading statewide policy initiatives and enterprise operations as the state’s deputy chief financial officer, deputy secretary of workforce operations, and chief of staff. During her time in public service, she founded Florida’s transparency portal for state expenditures and contracts, modernized the state’s $2.7 billion group health plan, and transformed human resources, retirement, and procurement functions using cloud-based tools.